AUCD Scholarship Recipients



Photo: Oanh Thi Thu Bui Oanh Thi Thu Bui 

Oanh Thi Thu Bui is a cultural broker and former LEND fellow through Shriver Center. Her unique experience being a cultural broker enabled her to advocate for a culturally linguistically appropriate system of support for families from culturally linguistically diverse background. She has been working and partnering with a number of parents, professionals across the disciplines, including researchers, to explore the complicated system of support, the cultural barriers that tremendously affect service access for families, as well as the struggle faced by many professionals from diverse backgrounds. From her experience leading a support group for the Vietnamese speaking community, she has outreached to Haitian Creole, Arabic, and Khmer speaking communities using the cultural brokering model with the hope to identify, mentor, and train more cultural brokers from these targetted communities. Oanh has a great interest collaborating with like-minded professionals in addressing the issue of cultural diversity and disability, increasing social justice, and equity, and influencing systematic change for authentic inclusion.

Currently, Oanh is an AIDD-funded diversity leadership fellow with the Institute of for Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston and works at the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Oanh was a FORD scholar and holds two Master Degrees in Health Administration and Sustainable International Development.

Oanh was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2016 Conference.


Photo: Robert ‘Taylor’ Carley Robert "Taylor" Carley 

Robert "Taylor" Carley. Self-Advocate. Writer. Taylor currently serves as the Self-Advocacy Coordinator for the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS), Mississippi's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Taylor has over seven years of experience in national service, leadership, and mentoring. He is currently the first Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Trainee in Mississippi, a STEP UP Council member and staff liaison, and hosts his own YouTube Series, "Chit Chat Thursday with Taylor," that focuses on advocacy. In addition, Taylor is learning how to become more independent by pursuing his driver's license and writing his first novel. Taylor enjoys sharing his story and his motto . . . "a disability is an ability, and I am just like everyone else."

Taylor was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2016 Conference.


Photo: Ivanova L. SmithIvanova L. Smith 

Ivanova Smith is a UW LEND Advocate Faculty. They were the first Advocate fellow for UW LEND, and excited to share their perspective as autistic person. Now they are thrilled to be a mentor to new advocate fellows for UW LEND. They also are a leader in the self-advocacy community in Washington State. Ivanova is Co-chair of Self Advocate in Leadership (SAIL) and advocates for rights of people with I/DD to Washington state legislature, as well as serves on the board of people first of Washington where they lead their own local chapter.

Ivanova was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2016 Conference.




Photo: Joe BaseyJoe Basey 

Joe was was born with Cerebral Palsy and has been an advocate for disabilities most of his life. As a child, he was the 1985 Easter Seal Poster Child for the State of Oregon. Joe states his parents always had the same expectations for him that they had for his younger siblings that were "non-disabled," and that they taught him that he could do anything he put his mind to. As a result, Joe graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in Family & Human Services.

Joe is a member of the Consumer Advocacy Councils at both the Oregon Health & Science University UCEDD and the University of Oregon UCEDD. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of AUCD's Council on Community Advocacy.

Joe is especially passionate about the engagement of people with disabilities in their faith communities and the impact of legislation affecting the lives of people with disabilities.

Joe was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2015 Conference.


Photo: AngelaAngela Donley 

Angela and her highschool sweetheart husband Steve live in Oklahoma with their 10 year old son Jackson. Jackson was diagnosed with autism at only 20 months thanks to SoonerStart, an Oklahoma early intervention program, and thus began Angela's journey in advocacy.

Angela works as the Autism Family Support coordinator for the Oklahoma Family Network, where she provides the parent perspective for professional trainings and programs. She serves as Vice Chair on the Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Childhood Intervention, as the Family Voice for school-aged children on the DDS Policy Advisory Committee, and sits on the Oklahoma Family and Interagency Autism Council and the Oklahoma Combating Autism Leadership Team.

Angela is a 2012 graduate of Partners in Policymaking and a 2015 LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Fellow in the family discipline.

Angela was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2015 Conference.


Photo: JoannaXiaojun 'Joanna' Gao 

Joanna Gao is a speech-language pathologist at LeBonheur Children's Hospital and a former LEND trainee at the University of Tennessee Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities. Over the course of her career, Joanna has been an advocate for children with disabilities.

Her unique experience of volunteering and working for orphans with special needs in China enabled her to see the need to create family-centered, interdisciplinary systems of care for families of children with disabilities. She furthered her education in speech pathology, a rarely known field in her home country, with a desire of setting up a non-profit foundation and bringing therapy and caregiver support to children in China. Joanna has been exploring this vision by sharing her passion, organizing trips, bringing therapeutic tools, and caregiver trainings to China.

In 2014, The American Speech-Language Association recognized her effort by awarding her the Minority Student Leadership Program Award, presented to emerging leaders in the field of speech pathology.

Joanna was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2015 Conference.



photo: ellenEllen Bannister 

Ellen is a mother of two children with developmental disabilities. She works as an Academic Programs Coordinator of the Center for Learning and Leadership/ Oklahoma UCEDD at the OU College of Medicine. Her formal training was in the humanities, but her life experience of caring for children with developmental disabilities has inspired her current work: improving access to high-quality health care for people with developmental disabilities.

Ellen received her Bachelor's and Master's degree in English literature at the University of Kansas. She completed her coursework for a Ph.D. at Boston University. Before joining the Center for Learning and Leadership staff, she taught at the University of Oklahoma. In 2013, she received the Integrity Apex Award from the University of Oklahoma Integrity Council for her work in fostering high-quality scholarship and promoting academic integrity. Currently, she acts as liaison for the UCEDD's academic partners and the OU School of Medicine Faculty.

Ellen was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2014 Conference.


photo: ShawnShawn Latham 

Shawn is from Sedro Woolley, Washington. He has an unknown Storage Disease whose symptoms are similar to Cerebral Palsy. Shawn works at the Center for Independence North Sound as their Peer Group Coordinator and is also engaged with several advocacy groups including Self-Advocactes in Leadership, Allies in Advocacy, and the UCEDD Consumer Advisory Council of Washington State.

Shawn advocates for principles like independence, self-determination, community inclusion and respect, which he believes are key to making the world better. Shawn strives to be an advocate not only for himself but also for his friends in the community and the participants he serves at work. Shawn's motto has been "We all have abilities and disabilities, so let us focus on what we can do in this world instead of what we can't do."

Shawn was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2014 Conference.


photo: DanielleDanielle Reed 

Danielle is a researcher at the University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Human Development. Her research interests include employment, self-employment, and social capital of individuals with disabilities, as well as rehabilitation practices in brain injury.

Danielle's interest in the disability and rehabilitation field began in high school when she researched adaptive sports and volunteered as a guide for skiers with visual impairments. Though not a social scientist by training, she took to research at the Center for Human Development with great fervor. In the past year she has led a National Endowment on the Arts project focused on Career Forums for Artists with disabilities, coordinated a Kessler Foundation grant to implement and research BrainWorks (a self-employment model to assist individuals with brain injury in business ownership), and has written a business plan for CHD's training program learning management system.

Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering as well as a Masters in Business Administration. Danielle lives in Palmer, Alaska with her husband and two huskies. She is an avid backcountry skier and volunteers on ski patrol at Alyeska.

Danielle was a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and attended the AUCD 2014 Conference.