AUCD Welcomes our Two New Emerging Leader Interns!

October 15, 2018

The two new Emerging Leaders Interns (formerly the Virtual Trainees), Shayla and Nell, joined the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) team in September 2018!

The two interns work together to passionately represent the AUCD Emerging Leaders Community. They will work together to build and enhance the community by being connection points between the national network and each Program/Center by ensuring Emerging Leaders receive information and opportunities related to leadership, research, fellowships, and more.

One of the Emerging Leaders Interns is Shayla Collins, is from the LEND program at University of Washington. Shayla Collins and her husband Marcus are the parents of two young children with special healthcare needs. That "assignment" eventually led her to the UW LEND Program, where she is a second year Family Fellow.

In addition to her participation in the LEND Program, she is a consultant on a research project at Seattle Children's Hospital about mindfulness and its benefits for parents of children with special healthcare needs. She also recently completed a fellowship at the WA State Developmental Disabilities Council and is a trained National Alliance on Mental Illness "Family 2 Family" Program instructor.
When Shayla can carve out some spare time, she enjoys sleeping, eating, partaking in outdoor adventures with her family, reading and of course that order.

The other Emerging Leader, Nell Koncezny, is a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in Disability Studies. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and European Studies at Vanderbilt University. In 2017-18, she was an AUCD UCEDD Diversity Fellow. Under this support and with a disabled student group at UIC, she co-created an accessible classroom training for UIC faculty, administrators, and teaching assistants. This training introduced instructors and university decision-makers to disability culture, disability community, and practices that make classrooms welcoming for disabled students. Her doctoral research examines professor perspectives on disability, accessibility and inclusion in the classroom. Along with her academic work, she is a disability justice activist who focuses on promoting and cultivating accessible spaces. In her free time, Nell enjoys watching Disney movies and playing Pokemon.

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