In 2002, AAPD launched the Summer Internship Program to develop the next generation of leaders with disabilities. For 20 years, we have placed college students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in paid summer internships with Congressional offices, federal agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations within the Washington, DC area. The AAPD Summer Internship Program advances participants’ career opportunities, deepens their leadership skills, and meaningfully connects them to the broader disability community.
Each AAPD Summer Intern:
- Is matched with a mentor who provides them with career guidance.
- Is provided with a living stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully accessible housing, provided by AAPD
- Develops advocacy skills through AAPD’s Disability Advocacy Certificate Program, where interns learn about key issues in the disability community and develop skills and knowledge to effectively advocate on the local, state, and national level.
- Receives opportunities to attend events and network with experienced professionals on Capitol Hill, as well as through conferences, community events, briefings, and more.
The 2022 Summer Interns will also be part of events with past intern classes and alumni as AAPD celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Summer Internship Program.
COVID-19 has shaped the last few years of our internship program in countless ways. For the Summer of 2022, AAPD has ensured that our Summer Interns are able to make choices related to managing their health and safety during the continued pandemic. Interns could choose between participating in-person in Washington, DC, being fully remote, or developing a flexible hybrid option to suit their needs. We also remain flexible for any in-person or hybrid intern to have the option to pivot to remote work as needed at any time during their internship.
AAPD has closely monitored the COVID-19 pandemic during our planning process and continues to monitor the pandemic and relevant local and federal guidance as well as expert-advised best practice. All Summer Internship participants, including AAPD staff and guest speakers, have agreed to a thorough safety protocol that includes requirements for vaccines, masks, regular testing, and testing before in-person gatherings, with tests provided by AAPD. Project N95’s Masks for Communities Coalition has generously donated N95 or equivalent masks for our AAPD interns, staff, and guest speakers this summer. Read our COVID safety guidelines for the 2022 Summer Internship Program here.
The 2022 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, Microsoft, The Coca-Cola Foundation, and United Airlines for supporting these talented up-and-coming leaders and professionals.
Meet the 2022 Class
Ace Frazier – National Black Justice Coalition
Adreenah “Dreezy” Wynn – Creative Reaction Lab
Adreenah “Dreezy” Wynn (she/her) will spend the Summer of 2022 interning at the Creative Reaction Lab. Dreezy is a queer, black, female, graphic designer, thriving with anxiety, depression, and a blood disorder called Sickle Cell Disease. Dreezy graduated from the University of Florida in 2017 with a dual degree in Graphic Design and Art+Technology as well as a minor in Sociology and Arts in Medicine Certificate. Dreezy is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Design and Visual Communications at UF. Dreezy considers herself a Social Designer, Digital Storyteller, and Art Activist.
Dreezy uses design as a catalyst to initiate real conversation, amongst real people, about real issues. Much of her work has a social justice theme. Her top medium would be video and digital media. You can check out more of her artwork at: www.adreenah.com. Dreezy has volunteered and facilitated art and story-telling workshops in UF Health Shands Hospital, juvenile detention centers, and within the community including schools. She’s spent these past few years community organizing, including participating in AAPD’s Fannie Lou Hamer Program which played a role in her on-going journey to make an impact in the Black Disabled Community.
Alexandra “Zandy” Wong – Office of Congresswoman Katie Porter
In her community, she advises state legislators on reforming sexual health education for disabled youth as a State Youth Advisor for Virginia’s Disability-Inclusive Sexual Health Network. Zandy also advises the Department of Labor and state policymakers on creating policies to help disabled youth transition into higher education and workplace environments as a member of the CAPE-Youth Working Group (Center for State Governments). Her work in both science and policy has been recognized by the NIH/NINDS, Cochlear Americas, and the American Association for People With Disabilities. Her story and advocacy efforts have also been featured in international news coverage from Teen Vogue and the Washington Post. In her free time, she enjoys running, composing piano music, and watching figure skating.
Aubrianna Wilson – Be A Hero Fund
Aubrianna’s passion for disability justice, inclusion, and accessibility leads her to actively work towards dismantling systems of power and privilege within Middlebury’s institution. She loves helping her peers learn (serving as a Chemistry Laboratory Teaching Assistant and a Calculus Grader) and have equitable access to education. She has supported student survivors at Middlebury as an advocate on the 24/7 crisis hotline and the Director of the Student Government Association’s Relationship and Sexual Respect Committee. As the student representative on the Advisory Group on Disability, Access, and Inclusion, an executive board member on the Concerned Students of Middlebury, and the sole senator for her junior class on the SGA, Aubrianna has been instrumental in uplifting underrepresented voices and implementing inclusive community practices through anti-ableism and anti-racism projects.
Aubrianna received the Williams-Hutchins Health Equity Award from the Centers for Disease Control for her exceptional work as an Undergraduate Public Health Scholar in the MCHC/RISE-UP program. Ultimately, Aubrianna intends to pursue an MD/PhD in Health Policy in order to center the needs of those most impacted in healthcare. As a physician-advocate, Aubrianna aims to dismantle harmful barriers to access and create bridges to trauma-informed and patient-centered care.
Brian Scholte – The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
While serving as the Director of Communications for NYU’s Student Veterans of America chapter, Brian piloted NYU’s inaugural Veteran Mentorship Program where he and other student veterans served as a bridge between incoming student veterans, military-connected dependents, and the NYU student body, faculty, and staff. Through three years of volunteering with America Reads-America Counts, Brian gained exposure to the educational system working as a teacher, tutor, and mental health advocate. He has also worked as an Academic and Career Counseling Intern at Fordham University. Brian finds meaning in helping bring people together to build more resilient lives, and plans to pursue a PhD in Counseling Psychology. His goal is to ensure that students and military-connected students achieve their greatest potential by eliminating all barriers to success.
Britney Taylor – T-Mobile
Brooke Evans – Federal housing and homelessness policy initiatives
Brooke A. Evans is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she earned her undergraduate degree as a homeless and unaccompanied youth from a first-generation, low-income, non-traditional, independent, disabled, and transfer student background. Brooke is a nationally known activist and advocate for basic needs security, socioeconomic well-being, and affordable and accessible higher education. She has experience in organizing, government, analysis, research, authorship, and public speaking. Brooke has contributed policy on select issues for Secretary Julián Castro’s 2020 presidential campaign, culminating in the first comprehensive presidential platform to make ending homelessness — including basic needs instability in higher education — a primary campaign commitment drafted hand-in-hand with Americans navigating homelessness, eviction, and housing instability. She is a particular proponent of bridging the divide between constituency and policy and affirms unequivocally that housing is a human right.
Emily “Em” Eagle – Federal Communications Commission
Fayza Jaleel – U.S. Department of Human and Health Services’ Administration on Community Living
Jacob “Jack” Reeves – Office of Congressman Steny Hoyer
Prior to beginning his government service, Jack served as president of the George Washington University Interfaith Council, interned at the International Relations Council in Kansas City, and worked in the education and interpretation department at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City’s internationally renowned art museum — in each role, convening communities around cultural themes in pursuit of social change. He co-founded and currently serves as vice president of Out in International Affairs, the Elliott School’s organization to connect and empower LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Committed to advancing human rights and human flourishing, Jack aspires to a career of government service.
Jazmin Barajas – U.S. Access Board
Justin Ramirez – Human Rights Campaign
Kay (Mikayla) Heston – District of Columbia Office of Disability Rights
Kay’s first experience with disability advocacy was in high school speech and debate. In 2014, Kay began doing Congressional Debates in their speech and debate program, where they wrote a bill about disabilities and LGBTQ+ hate crime prevention. Kay’s bill received fourth place at their first competition. After graduating high school, Kay began working on research in the OSU Children with Disabilities Lab, which focuses on independent and confident movement for children with disabilities. While there, they designed a playground for infants with disabilities which was influenced by the social model of disability. As a coping mechanism during the pandemic, Kay embraced their artistic abilities and began taking art classes at their local community college. Kay hopes to one day use their art skills to create a graphic novel in which they visually depict cerebral palsy and its effects on their body.
Ken Sugathan – National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
Kristen Lewellen – U.S. Department of Energy
Michael Besler – National Disability Rights Network
Paula Morales – National Disability Rights Network
Sandra Conley – The Kelsey
Sandra also has many personal experiences of being her own advocate in the face of interpersonal and structural racism, ableism, and other forms of oppression. These drive her personal desire to work on social justice issues. She has adamantly and effectively advocated for her needs and rights with federal and local governments, educational institutions (from when she was 11 years old through her secondary education experiences), and with medical professionals. Sandra’s career goal is to create an organization that will assist people with disabilities in becoming self-advocates and entrepreneurs. She is excited to bring her passion, life experiences, and compassion for others to her work at The Kelsey.
Sheila Xu – Smart Jobs, LLC
Sheila graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Humanities and Science, and is currently pursuing dual Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees at Harvard University and the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.
Shruti Rajkumar – National Public Radio
After observing the way that the media has historically reported on marginalized communities and reflecting on their own identities, Shruti developed a passion for social justice reporting with a focus on the intersection of race and disability, and enjoys exploring underrepresented stories and intersectionality. In the past, she has interned at AsAmNews, where she reported on the intersection of disability and Asian American identity. Though she aspires to pursue a career in journalism and shed light on intersectional marginalized voices, Shruti also hopes to continue working directly within her communities. Currently, they are spearheading the newly formed advocacy committee at The Asian Americans With Disabilities Initiative, as well as working with Massachusetts Jobs With Justice.