AAPD Alumni Network

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About the Alumni Network

In May 2020, thanks to generous support from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, AAPD launched a new initiative called the Alumni Network. The Alumni Network is an effort to proactively sustain relationships with interns beyond the course of one summer and provide programmatic opportunities to early and mid-level career professionals with disabilities.

About the Ambassadors Council

The Alumni Network established an Ambassadors Council to lead and influence decision- making that directly impacts this mission. The council is composed of AAPD Summer Internship Program alumni. Members of the Ambassadors Council represent diversity across various ages (representing classes from 2004 to 2018), disabilities, race, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The 2020-2021 Council Members

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Name: Elijah Armstrong
Internship Class Year: 2018
Gender Pronouns: he, him, his

Background: Elijah was a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2020, was a Dean’s Education Fellow with Boston Public Schools, and is currently preparing applications to law school.

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Elijah wants to use his position on the board to foster community across multiple intern classes, as well as to foster solidarity among multiple marginalization’s within the disability community as a whole.

A brown man in a wheelchair going across a stage to receive his degree

Name: Hamza Jaka
Internship Class Year: 2011
Gender pronouns: he/him/his

Background: Contract Attorney at Gardiner Koch Weisberg and Wrona, and at Willenson Law.

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Hamza Jaka plans to support AAPD. He also is appreciative of the opportunity to connect with other alums of the program, and hopes to build space for multiply marginalized disabled folks in large organizations like AAPD.

A headshot of a woman smiling against a blue background.

Name: Crystal Jones
Internship Class Year: 2011
Gender Pronouns:  she/her

Background: Microsoft, Support Delivery Pm. Manages operations for the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk and use customer feedback to help influence product feature improvements.

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Crystal will continue her work on efforts to increase the pipeline of students with disabilities interested in pursuing careers in the technology sector. This includes supporting a pan disability summer camp for students with disabilities held at Microsoft in 2018 and 2019 that exposed students to careers at Microsoft and introduced accessible curricula on technology and AI without requiring any prior coding experience.  

Photo of a white woman with curly brown hair sitting in a power wheelchair. She is wearing glasses and a black dress with a red and green floral pattern. She has a peacock feather tattoo on the inside of her wrist.

Name: Emily Ladau
Internship Class Year: 2013
Gender Pronouns: she/her

Background: Editor in Chief, Rooted in Rights; Communications Consultant, Words I Wheel By Disability Communications

As an Ambassadors Council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Emily looks forward to supporting up and coming young AAPD Internship Program alumni as they navigate their career paths and continue to develop into empowered disability rights advocates.

A close up photo of a medium-dark skinned man with glasses, who is smiling.

Name: D’Arcee Neal
Internship Class Year: 2013
Gender pronouns: He/Him, They/Them

Background: English PhD student and lecturer at The Ohio State University on the intersection of rhetorical blackness, disability, and speculative popular culture

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, D’Arcee looks forward to working with the council in an effort to spearhead the issue of racial and disability intersections in ways that matter. Working with the council gives him the opportunity to hear from and collaborate with incredible leaders in the disability community and he looks forward to being able to share that expertise with others across the educational and digital spectrum. 

Olivia sits in a restaurant with her guide dog Tofu. Tofu is a golden lab and Olivia is a dark-haired woman. Olivia is smiling.

Name: Olivia Norman
Internship Class Year: 2004
Gender Pronouns: She/her/hers

Background:  Government contractor, Accessibility Compliance Tester for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Olivia is excited about the opportunity to reconnect with valuable alumni and looking forward to playing a part in how alumni connect and interact with one another through a variety of events and opportunities. 

Latina woman with black hair smiling in a white shirt and greenery in the background.

Name: María Antonella Pereira 
Internship Class Year: 2018
Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Background: Data Analysis Consultant, Gender and Diversity Division at the Inter-American Development Bank 

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, María Antonella looks forward to  creating spaces where multiply-marginalized disabled people of color can prosper personally and professionally. She is also enthusiastic about creating networking opportunities for current interns and alums, as this was a key part of her internship experience and something she truly enjoyed promoting during her time at AAPD as Assistant Program Manager for the 2019 Internship Program. With her fellow council members, she hopes to promote a sense of community for alumni beyond the internship program. 

A white woman with curly brown hair and a big smile sits in her wheelchair. In the background is a sign above an elevator, which says “Getting Access”

Name: Emily Seelenfreund
Internship Class Year: 2011
Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Background: Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates 

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Emily looks forward to getting to know other young disability rights leaders across the country and creating more opportunities for young people with disabilities.

A photo of the upper body of a man with short light brown hair wearing a light blue dress shirt accentuated by a dark blue plaid bowtie. Behind him in the background is an office with a bookshelf and diploma.

Name: Conrad Reynoldson
Internship Class Year: 2007
Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His

Background: Founder and Vice President of Washington Civil & Disability Advocate.

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Conrad looks forward to this opportunity to help give back to AAPD’s alumni community. Conrad is the attorney who founded and runs the nonprofit disability rights law firm of Washington Civil & Disability Advocate. He hopes that his experience as a successful disability rights attorney will provide valuable knowledge and networking opportunities for his fellow AAPD alumni.

Picture of East Asian man with short black hair wearing a white shirt and a black jacket

Name: Max Soh
Internship Class Year: 2017
Gender Pronouns: he/him/his

Background: Institute for the Study of Human Rights | M.A. Student | Human Rights Studies

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Max looks forward to bringing his experience of international disability rights advocacy to the council. Additionally, it is his aim to assist in developing platforms that elevate the stories, narratives, and profiles of alumni of the AAPD summer program – especially alumni from historically marginalized and under-represented communities.

A white male in his mid 20’s with short brown hair,  a goatee and a pair of hearing aids. He is wearing a pair of glasses, a charcoal colored suit with a white button up shirt and a dark blue bowtie with light blue and yellow stripes.

Name: Michael Springer
Internship Class Year: 2014
Gender pronoun: he/his/him.

Background: Fourth year Medical Student

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Michael aims to increase disability awareness in his medical school by sharing his disability story and providing an underrepresented perspective to his future physician classmates. Disability is often taught as purely a medical issue with little time taken to discuss the social aspect of an innate or acquired disability. Michael believes that teaching and addressing advocacy in medical school for disabled and other underserved communities can go a long way in breaking down ableism within the medical community.

Sheiba Tafazzoli is featured with an olive complexion, posing with her hands on her hips and sporting an open smile showing off her pearly whites!  She's dressed in a stylish business suit with a black, buttoned short-sleeve jacket.  She has long, dark hair that falls just below her shoulders.  She appears outside with metal fencing and trees in the background.

Name: Sheiba Tafazzoli
Internship Class Year: 2009
Gender Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Background: John Hopkins University/ Master of Science in Engineering in Systems Engineering

As an ambassadors council member of the AAPD Alumni Network, Sheiba looks forward to creating and connecting the Disability community with resources to assist them in their professional and personal endeavors no matter what stage of their career or life they are in.  She joined the council to empower her fellow network with counseling, advocacy, and resources to successfully exercise their rights.  Sheiba believes in the need for more disability inclusion and the provision of accommodations by all entities for their Disabled consumers, employees, and stakeholders.  She intends to accomplish this vision by building a guidance team to counsel incoming interns and the alumni network throughout their journeys.

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