AAPD Announces the Summer Internship Program Class of 2021

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rachita Singh, rsingh@aapd.com

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce the Summer Internship Program Class of 2021.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the Summer Internship Program looks different from any other since its beginning 19 years ago. AAPD is proud to offer its first ever virtual Summer Internship Program. The 2021 cohort is a blended cohort of interns from 2020 and 2021. Since the internship aspect of the program could not be executed last year, AAPD is welcoming back many of the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program Class of 2020 as well as a new class of interns totalling 29 interns for the 2021 cohort. The 2021 cohort will participate in internship placements, Certificate Programs, mentorship, professional development, and other community activities online.

In partnership with American University, AAPD will be providing two 10-week credit-optional certificate programs: the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program for new interns and the Disability Policy Certificate Program for the returning cohort. The Disability Advocacy Certificate Program prepares participants to be knowledgeable and effective advocates in their home universities, communities, states, and on the national level. During this course, participants become familiar with the history of the disability rights movement and current issues in the disability movement through a variety of topics such as disability legislation, healthcare, employment, and more. The Disability Policy Certificate Program is a new program that will build on the returning interns’ advocacy skills by developing critical thinking skills to analyze specific policy pieces that affect the disability community. They will also learn tools to influence policy making to advance the disability rights movement, such as coalition building and action alerts.

For many of these interns, AAPD’s Summer Internship Program is their first exposure to the broader disability community. The program began with a week of Orientation to foster connection between the interns, introduce them to disability rights and disability justice, and conversations around what it means to be a person with a disability in the workplace. By the end of the program, interns will be equipped with experience, knowledge, resources, and strategies to be on a path toward meaningful and gainful employment.

Below are the 2021 summer interns and their internship placements. You can also visit here to view our internship profiles.

Karen Arcos
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Bruno Matthew Arnold
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

Kaitlyn Brennan
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair

Jonas Bryson
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development

Gusti Budiarta
World Institute on Disability

Sarit Cahana
Smithsonian Institution, Arts+ Industries Building

Daniel Charney
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

Rasheera Dopson
Senator John Ossoff (D-GA)

Jaelyn Evans
National Council on Disability

Courtney Felle
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living

Naomi Hess
Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Kristin Kumagawa
National Council on Disability

Nahyun Lee
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Jake Linn
Disability:IN

Fermina Lopez
Association of People Supporting Employment First

Elizabeth McCormick
Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Monica Mesecar
Anthem, Inc.

Kelly Moh
Center for American Progress

Elayne Otstot
Centene, Inc.

Louis Paniccioli
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Federal Operations

Vraj Patel
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environment, Health, Safety, and Security

Mariah Person
Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network

Catalina Romero
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Xuan Truong
National Disability Rights Network

Justin Tsang
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Multifamily Housing

Jesica Weaver
U.S. International Council on Disability

Deanna Yadollahi
Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability

Pearl Zhang
U.S. Access Board

Learn more about the 2021 AAPD Summer Interns here!

The 2021 AAPD Summer Internship Program would not be possible without the generous support of our partners. Thank you to the Aid Association for the Blind, District of Columbia, Arconic Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, and The Coca-Cola Foundation for supporting the interns!

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