NEADS London State of the Schools Tour Stop, June 23rd, 2023
Join the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) on June 23rd from 12-4 pm ET in the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre at King's University College at Western University (266 Epworth Ave, London, ON N6A 2M3) and on Zoom for our London State of the Schools Tour stop!
As part of NEADS’ Virtual Access for All Project and Back to School National Advocacy Campaign, NEADS is partnering with Western University’s Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and local guest speakers for this hybrid event focusing on accessibility, accommodations, education, and employment for disabled post-secondary students. We will be joined by Dr. Heather Hill, professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, Dr. Jeffry Preston, Professor of Disability Studies King’s University College, and Danielle Cheyne, Accessibility Counsellor at Fanshawe College in our staff and faculty panel. The students and recent graduates panel will consist of Jonathan Alexander, Sarai Guerrero, Nathan Moore, Naomi Stager, and Finn Stanners.
Contact tracing, social distancing, and masking will be enforced for in-person participants. Closed captioning and ASL interpretation will be available through Zoom and in-person. Both in-person and online participants are encouraged to share their lived experience, questions, and concerns during the discussion period. Both in person and Zoom participants will have the opportunity to win 1 of 2 $25 Amazon gift cards. Pre-packaged lunch and snacks will be provided to in-person participants, and two certified orderlies will be present to help you with your needs. Free parking will be available.
All participants must register for this free event – please register here. Please indicate any accessibility requirements through the registration form, or email email@example.com
Meet Our Host Partner: Society of Graduate Students, Western University
The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) is the graduate student advocacy organization and student government at Western University. SOGS represents over 6,500 graduate students across more than 60 disciplines. Started in 1963, SOGS continues to evolve and grow to better support the needs of our diverse student community of learners. SOGS provides students with access to a health plan; bus pass; and, has a monthly council meeting where department representatives provide input into the running of SOGS. SOGS Council represents all faculties and departments at Western University. SOGS is accountable to its membership. Fun fact, SOGS was initially a social club that hosted a weekly pub night in the attic of Somerville House. Today, SOGS is much more than a social club, advocating on behalf of students for the best graduate experience possible. Learn more about SOGS at http://sogs.ca/who-we-are/
Ashton Forrest, Accessibility Commissioner
Ashton Forrest (she/her/them) is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Western University. Her areas of scholarly focus are justice and human rights as they pertain to moral, legal, and political philosophy. As a person with a debilitating chronic condition called scleroderma, she has spent over a decade advocating for and raising awareness about accessibility and disability issues on the local, provincial, and national stage. She has served on the City of London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, Cheshire London’s Cultural Competency Committee, and was the former Student Accessibility Consultant with the Academic Support and Engagement Office at Western. As a former member of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Committee for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) she worked with other accessibility experts and advocates to create an Accessible Education Standard for the AODA. She is currently the Society of Graduate Students’ (SOGS) Accessibility Commissioner and works with the Accessibility Commission to raise awareness about disability/accessibility issues and advocate for change within SOGS and the university. Ashton’s main goal is to ensure the voices of people with disabilities are reflected in policy, programming, and the built environment throughout society, especially in the healthcare and education sectors. She lives by the phrase “Nothing about us without us!” For her work and advocacy on accessibility and disability issues she was recognized on the 2023 Mayor’s New Year’s Honour List.
Meet Our Professor Panelists
Dr. Erika Katzman, Professor, Disability Studies at King’s University College
Erika Katzman (she/they), PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King’s University college at Western University where she teaches classes on disability theory, policy, health care and systems navigation. A neurodivergent occupational therapist and former personal care attendant, Dr. Katzman learned about disability through experience before formal education. Her research focuses on the everyday ‘work’ disabled people perform to survive life in inaccessible spaces and in pursuit of rights and justice. Dr. Katzman strives to create safe and equitable spaces in teaching, research and beyond by centring disabled knowledge.
Danielle Cheyne, Accessibility Counsellor at Fanshawe College
Danielle Cheyne is an Accessibility Counsellor at Fanshawe College, an ADHD coach and a former professor. She has a degree in Critical Disability Studies, a Masters of Education and a post-grad certificate as a Learning Disability and ADHD specialist with a focus on specific learning strategies. She has combined type ADHD and a teenage daughter with the same diagnosis. She is passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion in the education system and is a strong advocate for students with disabilities. Danielle has a special interest in neurodivergence and supports many people with ADHD to celebrate their brains and thrive within systems that are not set up for them.
Heather Hill, Associate Professor at Western University’s Faculty of Information & Media Studies
Heather Hill is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University. She is the current Graduate Chair of the Master of Library and Information Science program at FIMS. Her research area focuses on public libraries and accessibility and disability. She has looked at the accessibility of websites, talked to library staff about the accessibility of their libraries, looked at how disability is talked about on library websites, analyzed guiding policies on providing accessible services in libraries and she’s looked at the accessibility of library social media feeds. Her hobbies include chasing her husky mix dog in the backyard and providing a comfortable lap for her cat and she drinks way too much coffee.
Meet Our Student Panelists
Jonathan Alexander, Western University Computer Science Student
Jonathan Alexander (He/Him) is currently in his final year of a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Software Engineering. He is dedicated to expanding his knowledge in the field and actively engaging in projects that allow him to apply his technical skills. Alongside his academic pursuits, Jonathan finds fulfillment in hobbies such as programming, photography and gardening.
Sarai Guerrero, Fanshawe College Research and Evaluation Student
Sarai Guerrero (she/her) is currently set to start the Research and Evaluation Ontario College Graduate Certificate at Fanshawe College, and has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in chemistry. Through these degrees she learnt and was trained in both experimental and computational methods. She is actively involved as an Evaluation and Reports Committee volunteer at the Canadian Science Policy Centre, and as a researcher for Dragonfly Mental Health. In 2019, Sarai was one of two graduate students selected by the Chemical Institute of Canada out of a pool of candidates to attend CSPC 2019 as a news correspondent. In 2021, she was one of 100 selected by CWIC Network to attend and take part in a science communication workshop from Jan 16th to 17th. Her interests extend beyond policy and academics, as she finds joy in baking, sewing, and reading.
Nathan Moore PhD, Site Manager of Western’s Math-Physics Accelerator Help Centre
Nathan Moore (he/him) is an Autistic graduate of Western University with a PhD in philosophy of physics (August 2019). Nathan was unemployed after graduating until September 2021 when he found a part-time position as site manager of Western's Math-Physics Accelerator Help Centre. He is still, however, on social assistance (ODSP). Since discovering he was Autistic during his PhD, he has developed an interest in philosophy of disability and his first publication in this area, "But you don't look Autistic: Resisting neurotypical narratives," is forthcoming in The Bloomsbury Guide to Philosophy of Disability.
Naomi Stager, Western University Occupational Therapy Graduate Student
Naomi Stager (she/her) is in the final year of her professional graduate program pursuing her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy (MScOT). Naomi’s is excited about advancing accessibility, and her point of view is informed by 3 main hats in the disability domain. First, she has been thinking critically about disability for over a decade, presenting at her first accessibility conference in 2011. Second, before graduate school she worked for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Public Education and Outreach/Strategic Initiatives Unit. And third, now doing her MScOT she finds herself back in academia and viewing a different side of healthcare.
Finn Stanners, King’s College Disability Studies Student
Finn Stanners (they/them) is a non-binary chronically ill and disabled student currently in their third year of a Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies. After the past two years at King’s UWO, Finn is currently transferring to Toronto Metropolitan University to finish their degree, with a particular interest in madness, justice, grief, and interdependence. Outside of school, Finn is a research and archival assistant, a gardener, and lover of silly little zines.
More About NEADS
About NEADS’ Virtual Access for All Program
NEADS' Virtual Access for All Project provides educational support and awareness aimed at students with disabilities transitioning into post-secondary education. Accessibility and accommodations resources are provided through our quarterly State of the Schools publications, while our regular webinar series addresses topics such as self-advocacy, accessing accommodations at work and school, and transitioning into the workforce. Further, financial support is available through NEADS' Student Awards Program and Accessibility Resilience Program. Virtual Access for All is generously supported by Employment and Social Development Canada's Goal Getters Program, and has recently received an upward amendment in response to positive reception.
About NEADS’ Back to School National Advocacy Campaign
As vaccine and mask mandates lift and online learning options are rolled back, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) has launched a national advocacy campaign to support disabled post-secondary students' rights to safe and accessible education.
Disabled students are asked to provide written submissions detailing their thoughts, feelings, and anxieties as they prepare for an unsafe and inaccessible Fall term, and submissions will be shared in a final report and social media campaign. Submissions are being accepted on an ongoing basis for the social media campaign, and a follow up report will be published upon the completion of the campaign.
Meet the NEADS Touring Team
Carly Fox, Communications & Partnerships Director
Carly Fox (she/her/elle) is a queer, neurodivergent, and disabled young woman based out of Algonquin Anishinabe Territory (Ottawa, ON). Fox is NEADS' Communications & Partnerships Director, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities' International Chair, a disability advocate, and recently attended the 15th Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a member of Canada's Delegation. As a disability advocate and blogger, Fox aims to raise awareness on different types of invisible disabilities and the interactions between them, and aims to use her privilege to dismantle systemic forms of oppression to create space for others to share their lived experiences. Fox is currently in her third year at the University of Ottawa, where she majors in International Development and Globalization and minors in Human Rights and Conflict Studies. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter (@ItsCarlyFox, @CarlyFox_DisabilityAdvocacy), or on her blog https://CarlyFoxDisabilityAdvocacy.ca
Katja Newman, NEADS Student Awards Programs Director
Katja Newman (she/her/elle) is the National Educational Association of Disabled Students’ Student Awards Scholarship program manager. A resident of Halifax Nova Scotia, Katja has a Master's degree in Grant Writing and Program Evaluation from Concordia University Chicago. Prior to her Master's, Katja received a Bachelor's of Social Work from Carleton University and a Child & Youth Work Diploma from Georgian College. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys hiking, tandem bike riding, baking, cooking and educating audiences on the accessibility and inclusion related highs and lows that come with living life as a blind post-secondary student who navigates the world with the help of a guide dog.
Elizabeth Mohler, Research Consultant
Elizabeth Mohler currently works for NEADS as a Research Consultant, where she leads the Virtual Access for All Project and writes its quarterly publication, State of the Schools. She also works for Left Turn Right Turn as an accessibility specialist; sits on the Canadian Institute for Health Research external advisory committee on systemic ableism and accessibility; and, is an experienced presenter, keynote speaker, lecturer, and published writer. Elizabeth is currently a doctoral candidate at Western University in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Program. Her work explores how discourses and practices within Direct Funding shape how disabled persons access services, and in what ways service users resist and negotiate these discourses. Follow Elizabeth’s work at: www.elizabethmohler.ca
Sarah Szumlanski, Researcher
Sarah Szumlanski (she/her/elle) is a Researcher for the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and primarily works on NEADS’ financial aid directory, disabilityawards.ca. She is currently finishing a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies at Carleton University, with a minor in Disability Studies. Identifying as a disabled and queer person, Sarah is passionate about topics of disability, accessibility, advocacy, and intersectionality, with a specific research interest in rare and invisible disabilities. In 2020, Sarah conducted a research study on the experiences of Canadian women diagnosed with rare, invisible, physical chronic illnesses, and the ways in which gender, age, (dis)ability, invisibility, and rareness impacted their experiences within the Canadian healthcare system. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her cat.
Chloée Godin-Jacques, Research Consultant
Chloée Catherine (she/they) is a white settler disabled queer person. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Education at Western University. Chloée is an activist and strives to generate awareness about accessibility, disability, and intersectionality and dismantle preconceived notions by sharing her own diverse lived experiences through the means of blog posts and social media posts. She is also a Lead Consultant at Chloée Catherine Consulting, where she supports businesses and other organizations to further foster inclusive spaces for disabled persons. Chloée’s personal and professional interests lie within the realms of accessibility, activism, community-building, disability, higher education, intersectionality, and sexuality. You can follow Chloée’s journey via @chloeecatherine (on Instagram) and chloeecatherine.com
Carly Fox (she/her/elle), firstname.lastname@example.org, NEADS Communications and Partnerships Director |Directrice des communications et des partenariats de NEADS
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