STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities: Speakers
Senior Manager of Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology at SAS
Ed Summers is a blind software engineer and an accessibility specialist. He has a BS in Computer Science and 20 years of professional experience as a software developer and a development manager. Ed’s personal mission is to enable people with disabilities to realize their full potential in the classroom and the 21st century knowledge economy. He fulfills that mission as a leader in the software industry and disability-related not-for-profit organizations.
Ed leads the accessibility team at SAS, the market leader in business analytics software and services that is used at over 50,000 sites in over 100 countries. The SAS accessibility team helps people of all abilities succeed using SAS software.
Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy
Kathleen Martinez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the third Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25, 2009. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Ms. Martinez advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities.
Blind since birth, Ms. Martinez comes to ODEP with a background as an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, diversity and gender issues.
She was appointed Executive Director of the World Institute on Disability (WID), based in Oakland, California, in 2005. Ms. Martinez directed Proyecto Visión, WID's National Technical Assistance Center to increase employment opportunities for Latinos with disabilities in the United States, and Access to Assets, an asset-building project to help reduce poverty among people with disabilities. At WID, she also led the team that produced the acclaimed international webzine DisabilityWorld in English and Spanish.
In 2007 she was appointed a member of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a Congressionally-created agency dedicated to research and projects in conflict management. In 2005 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed her as one of eight public members of the newly-established State Department advisory committee on disability and foreign policy.
In 2002 she was appointed by President Bush as one of 15 members of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency advising the President and Congress on disability policy.
PANEL MODERATOR: Scott Hatley
Incight - Co-Founder
Born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Scott exemplifies what it means to overcome severe challenges to accomplish great things. Scott’s commitment to making a difference has led to the creation of Incight, a nonprofit organization with the mission of Unlocking the Potential of People with Disabilities. Incight has raised over $3,500,000 in support of Incight from private, corporate and government donations. Incight was further recognized by the USBLN with the “Partner of the Year” award. Since graduating from the University of Portland with a Bachelors in Organizational Communications, Scott has been recognized by several organizations for his service to the disability community, including: the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Personal Achievement Award and 2004 national finalist), Exceptional Parent Magazine (2006 Distinguished Service Award), Oregon Parent Training and Information Center (2007 Youth Achievement Award) and Exceed Enterprises (2013 Londahl-Risley Award). Aside from these accolades, Scott serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, All Hands Raised, Exceed Enterprises and Incight. Previously, he served as a member of the State Rehabilitation Council, appointed by former State of Oregon Governor Theodore Kulongoski, and the Portland Disability Commission. Scott is also a member of the Shriners Hospital for Children Ethics Committee and Rotary Club of Portland.
PANELIST: Joshua A. Miele, PhD
Director, The Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center
Dr. Miele is a scientist with over 20 years of experience in developing innovative, information-accessibility solutions for blind people. He has a bachelors degree in physics and a PhD in psychoacoustics from the University of California at Berkeley. As Director of the Video Description Research and Development Center, as well as Associate Director of the Smith-Kettlewell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Blindness and Low Vision, he leads a team of engineers and scientists dedicated to addressing a wide variety of accessible information challenges in education, employment, and entertainment. Dr. Miele is currently the President of the board of the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and is formerly a board member of both the Bay area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC).
Dr. Miele has made important contributions in the following areas of accessible technology:
- Screen reader design and development – Dr. Miele was an interface designer on outspoken for Mac and Windows in the late 80s and early 90s, creating a model of software accessibility that is still followed today by many mainstream screen readers.
- Tactile street Maps – As a postdoc, Dr. Miele developed Tactile Maps Automated Production TMAP, the first and only automated web tool for embossing well-formatted tactile street maps of any location in the country. This unique system has produced thousands of tactile maps to give blind people real information about how to get where they want to go.
- Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX) – Dr. Miele is the inventor of the Descriptive Video Exchange, a revolutionary technology that allows video to be described for blind viewers without the need to modify or redistribute the original material. Audio and text descriptions are stored on a cloud-based server, and a variety of Internet and mobile technologies are used to play the descriptions along with the original material. This tool opens the door for vastly more professional and amateur video description to be authored and made available to anyone with an Internet connection.
- Audio/tactile graphics – Under a grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Miele pioneered the use of off-the-shelf smartpen technology as an inexpensive, reliable, portable technique for adding audio information to specific features of tactile graphics. This powerful system has led to a number of products, including tools for STEM education, transit maps, museum guides, and games.
- Data Sonification – As a graduate student, Dr. Miele developed and published a set of unique software tools for audio and tactile data representation for MATLAB, a powerful number-crunching environment used by many scientists and engineers. This toolkit is the only one of its kind, providing blind engineers and scientists with a way of representing their data in sound and Braille.
PANELIST: Sina Bahram
Accessibility Researcher and Consultant
Sina Bahram is an accessibility researcher and consultant pursuing his PhD in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. His field of research is Human Computer Interaction (HCI) with a focus on the use of multi-modal approaches to facilitate eyes-free exploration of highly graphical information. Combining artificial intelligence, intelligent user interfaces (IUI), and HCI, Sina devises innovative and user-centered solutions to difficult real-world problems. In 2012, Sina was recognized as one of President Barack Obama's Champions of Change for his work in enabling users with disabilities to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. You can read more about Sina and his interests on his website www.SinaBahram.com and blog blog.SinaBahram.com. He is @SinaBahram on Twitter.
PANELIST: Shaun Kane
Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland
Shaun Kane is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Shaun's primary research interests are accessible user interfaces and mobile human-computer interaction. Shaun's work explores ways to make mobile devices easier to use, especially for people with disabilities and people in distracting environments. Shaun received his PhD from The Information School at the University of Washington in 2011.
PANELIST: Claire Little, MS, MPT
Claire Little, MS, MPT, grew up in Atlanta, GA, and came to North Carolina in 1992 to study Pre-Med at North Carolina State University. After graduating in 1996, she attended East Carolina University for a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy. She has specialized in the field of outpatient orthopaedic physical therapy, and currently works at Sports and More Physical Therapy in Cary, NC. Claire has also recently begun teaching a continuing education course on the cervical spine to fellow physical therapists. She is married and has 2 children in elementary school, and is active in the running and triathlon community.
Claire was officially diagnosed with ADD in early adulthood, though she had been using many different organizational and studying techniques well before that point. She has also been learning the ropes on how to guide a child on coming up with their own techniques, as well as incorporating some of her own into his study habits and daily routines. One of her children was diagnosed at the age of 7, and is now currently in the third grade. Claire is striving to help him work with the school system to reach his highest potential versus having him feel overwhelmed and misunderstood.
PANELIST: Michael Summers
Michael Summers is currently employed with the Wilson, North Carolina Police Department as a Forensic Analyst and has served in this position for over 10 years. Michael holds two professional certifications, Senior Crime Scene Analyst (CSCSA) and Certified Latent Print Examiner (CLPE), through the International Association for Identification. He is currently only one out of six people in North Carolina that possess both Certifications. Michael is also a Certified North Carolina Criminal Justice Instructor and has taught numerous Law Enforcement classes (Basic Law Enforcement Training and in-service Law Enforcement Training) in the areas of crime scene investigation and the science of fingerprints. Michael has also testified numerous times in these areas for both State and Federal Court cases. He earned his Associate in Arts degree from Wilson Community College. Michael was born with a profound high frequency hearing loss. He was diagnosed with the condition when he was about 4 years old after he struggled in pre-kindergarten with forming words and understanding speech. Michael has worn hearing aids all through his life.