Chuck joined the University of Michigan Adaptive Sports and Fitness (ASF) department in June of 2022 as the Community Access Navigator. He is currently hired under a grant from the Craig H. Neilsen foundation, that is titled “Prescription to Play”. Chuck oversees all aspects of this grant, which is intended to increase access, knowledge, and awareness of adaptive sports and fitness opportunities for people with SCIs, and their medical providers. He also supports ASF programs at events and practices. Chuck is a decorated three-time U.S. Paralympian in the sport of wheelchair rugby as well, and is currently training to try and compete at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Anya L Cobler joined SAAS in March 2022. As Stewardship Program Coordinator, she oversees the budgeting and awarding of gift funds for the unit and leads the Scholarship and Disability Funding teams. Anya also serves on the SAAS leadership team and leads staff engagement and inclusion efforts.
Anya most recently worked as Practice Manager at Dexter Oral Surgery, a private oral surgery practice in Dexter, MI, where she created and grew the underpinnings of a thriving clinical practice. She has worked in other roles since beginning her professional career, including Director of the art walk, Oaken Transformations, in Brighton, Michigan, Executive Assistant to the secretary-treasurer of the Chalmers J. Lyons Academy, and as a Neurotology Surgery Scheduler with Michigan Medicine’s Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Department.
Anya received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Michigan (2007), where she was a Jane Kenyon fellow, student mentor, and Civitas Fellow with the insideOut Detroit literary arts program. She co-owns Sabbath Farm with her husband and three children in northern Ann Arbor.
Kaitlin joined the TAC staff in April 2022 as an Accommodations Facilitator. As an Accommodations Facilitator, Kaitlin supports the work of the TAC team in coordinating testing services at the TAC for students with disabilities and facilitating the provision of adaptive and ergonomic equipment and furniture for testing situations. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with her Master’s in Occupational Therapy in December 2020. During her Level II Fieldwork, she spent three months in a pediatric outpatient clinic and four months in Livonia Public Schools working within the role of an occupational therapy student and collaborating with neurodiverse children and adolescents. Alongside her work as an Accommodations Facilitator, Kaitlin finds enjoyment in sewing and crocheting a variety of clothing, reading, and learning about the varied processes of millinery.
Jake joined the Testing Accommodation Centers in January 2022. As an Accommodations Facilitator, Jake works in tandem with other members of the TAC team to coordinate accommodated exams for students with disabilities, and providing adaptive and ergonomic equipment in testing environments. He is a proud 2021 graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Film and Political Science. In his free time, he acts as an editor and producer on a podcast that centers around doctors with disabilities, and also enjoys theater and filmmaking with his friends.
Jordan Funk joined Services for Students with Disabilities staff in January 2021. Previously, Jordan worked as an Accessibility Specialist for Student Disability Services at the University of Toledo. Jordan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Capital University, and a Master's in Higher Education from the University of Toledo.
Amy joined the SAAS team in July 2022. She brings with her a solutions oriented approach to provide individual support to students with academic and executive functioning challenges. Amy obtained her undergraduate Elementary Education degree (Math and Social Studies) from Michigan State University and has worked closely with students and educators for many years to support individualized plans for educational success. As a parent of a child with a neuromuscular disease, she committed to understand disability laws/rights and advocate for support necessary for all areas of his success. Amy later went on to pursue her Masters of Arts degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder from Eastern Michigan University. Upon completion, Amy joined EMU’s College Supports Program where she supported college students with autism as an academic support coach as well as the program’s associate coordinator. Her strong desire to support others with dedication and perseverance is deeply rooted in the belief that students require advocates with passion to facilitate personal growth and accountability.
Betsy joined the SSD Coordinator Team in February of 2023. Betsy’s previous experience includes employment in Disability Services at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI and Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley, MA. Prior to working in higher education, Betsy was a special education teacher in MD, PA, and VA. Betsy was also employed by Saline Area Schools as a special education paraprofessional. Betsy has a BA in History from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a Masters Degree in Special Education from George Mason University.
Saumya joined the SAAS in November 2022 as Project Coordinator. They support the various projects and efforts of SAAS in a research capacity, taking all the groundbreaking work that has been done by the team and documenting it. Their personal research interests are in educating healthcare professionals about disability culture using human-centered learning design. Saumya earned their BSE and MSE at the University of Michigan in Biomedical Engineering in 2021.
Aaliyah joined the Testing Accommodation Centers (TAC) in April 2022 as an Accommodations Facilitator. She supports the work of the TAC team in coordinating testing services at the TAC for students with disabilities and facilitating the provision of adaptive and ergonomic equipment and furniture for testing situations. She has a passion for helping others, bringing awareness of Disabilities, Neurodiversity, and Health & Fitness, and she sees a lengthy career for herself in this field. Alongside her work as an Accommodations Facilitator, Aaliyah finds enjoyment in Knitting & Crocheting, Hiking in National Parks, and spending time with her Rabbits.
Aaliyah received her B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Environment & Health, from Michigan State University in 2021. Born with hearing loss, she didn’t receive hearing aids until she became an adult, at which point she was also diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD. Aaliyah identifies as being Hard of Hearing and considers herself someone with non-apparent disabilities.
Chloe joined the Testing Accommodation Centers (TAC) in April 2023. As an Accommodations Facilitator, Chloe collaborates with the other members of the TAC team to coordinate accommodated exams for students with disabilities, and provide adaptive and ergonomic equipment in the testing environments. Alongside her work as an Accommodations Facilitator, Chloe enjoys spending time with her family and traveling to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Jackie (she/her) is a Coordinator role within University of Michigan's Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services. Prior to joining the U of M team, Jackie was an Access Consultant in Purdue University's Disability Resource Center and coordinated the intergroup dialogue program at Michigan State University. She has earned a Master's in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University, and an Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies from CUNY School of Professional Studies. Jackie identifies as disabled and is passionate about working with disabled students as they navigate their higher educational experiences. She is also passionate about applying an intersectional lens to disability services work and working in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to create campus communities that are equitable, inclusive and accessible.
Kevin joined the team in July 2022 as the Accessible Media Specialist. Responsible for the inventory of technology, as well as the policies regarding Alternative Formats, Equipment Loans, and Caption.
Working in the field of Disability Services in Higher Education for 6 years, serving previously at the University of Northern Colorado and Davenport University. He has a BA in Computer Science with a focus in Networking from Davenport Universityin 2017.
Chris joined the University of Michigan Adaptive Sports and Fitness (ASF) department in January of 2022 as the Program Coordinator. Chris supports the competitive varsity adaptive sports teams with practices, competition schedules, equipment and more. In addition he supports community based adaptive sports recreation through ASF. He also supports ASF initiatives including Rx to Play and the Adaptive Sports and Inclusive Recreation Initiative. Chris has played competitive wheelchair tennis since 2012 including playing for the University of Michigan and team USA.
Deb joined the SAAS team as the supervisor of the Testing Accommodation Centers in March of 2023. Deb is passionate about student success and providing students with the framework to succeed and the confidence to recognize and value their own contributions and talents. This commitment to student success and building student self-confidence in their own inherent ability has been the cornerstone of her work. She was the Coordinator for the tutoring center at University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus (the APAC). She also taught Freshman English at her alma mater, UConn, where she earned dual BAs in English and in American Studies, and her MA in English. A Detroit native and a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewas Indians, Deb recently moved back to Michigan and is excited to be part of the University of Michigan community.
Brandon joined the Testing Accommodation Centers (TAC) in May of 2022 as an Accommodations Facilitator. Brandon first began his work with the TAC when he started as a Temp in 2021, when the TAC first opened up under SAAS. He has a passion to make others smile and to bring awareness to Neurodiversity. Alongside his work as an Accommodations Facilitator, Brandon finds enjoyment in science fiction audiobooks, spending time with his cats, and traveling to see the sights.
Kat joined the Services with Students with Disabilities staff in May of 2022. Prior to joining the University of Michigan team, Kat spent three years working as a doctoral student assistant in the office of Accessibility Services at Bowling Green State University. Kat received her B.A. in Religious Studies & English from Alma College in 2012, and her M.Div. from Methodist Theological School in Ohio in 2016 with a specialization in Youth & Young Adult Development. She is currently a PhD student at Bowling Green State University in the Higher Education department, where she is working on her dissertation research which focuses on intersectionality and minority stress theory in first-year college students who identify as both LGBTQ+ and disabled. Kat also has a background in working in children’s ministry, K12 education, and nonprofit management. Kat identifies as chronically ill and disabled. Kat is also the proud mom to an elementary schooler and three cats.
Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami is the Director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services at the University of Michigan, where he oversees the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, two Testing Accommodation Centers, and the Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program. He is also an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Urology at Michigan Medicine, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
“Dr. O” was born in Nigeria before immigrating to the US at a young age. He attended High School at Deerfield Academy and college at Stanford University where he also ran Track & Field, serving as captain his last two seasons and achieving Academic All American recognition.
He then earned his MD from the University of Michigan before matching into Orthopedic Surgery at Yale. At the beginning of his 3rd year he experienced a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the chest down. After two surgeries and intense rehabilitation, he was blessed with some return of motor function, and navigates the world as a proud wheelchair user, managing the other long term sequelae of an incomplete cervical spinal cord injury.
He went on to earn a Master’s in Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship from The University of Notre Dame, and completed his Family Medicine Residency at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. He served on the St. Joseph County Board of Health, appointed by then Mayor, now current Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg; and is on the board of the River City Challenged Athletes, a non-profit supporting the area adaptive sports teams. He was featured on Robin Robert’s Good Morning America Series “Thriver Thursday,” and has a catch phrase, “Disabusing DisabilityⓇ,” hoping to demonstrate that DISability doesn’t mean INability. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society, received Michigan Medicine’s Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award in 2020, and was given the “A Teacher’s Teacher Award'' by the Academy of Medical Educators.
Nationally, he serves as the Disability Issues representative on the Steering Committee for the Group on Diversity and Inclusion at the Association of American Medical Colleges, sits on the National Medical Association’s Council on Medical Legislation, and was by the White House Office of Public Engagement to participate in the Health Equity Leaders Roundtable Series dedicated to exploring perspectives around Access to Care. He was appointed to the America250 Foundation Health and Wellness Advisory Council and speaks around the country on topics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including, but not limited to creating a health system that is accessible to and inclusive of both patients and providers with disabilities, and providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education. He has been featured on CBS News, PBS News Hour, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and is passionate about adaptive sports and fitness, striving to provide access to physical fitness and inclusive recreational and competitive sports for all.
Rachel joined the SAAS team in December of 2021. Previously Rachel worked at Western Michigan University as their Accommodation Specialist. Rachel has a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education: Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Michigan University and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Rachel received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in relational communication from the University of Central Missouri.
Natalie Ridgway joined the SSD team as a Coordinator in Fall 2019. In her role, she works with students to explore and implement academic accommodations and across the university. Currently, Natalie also provides leadership to the coordinator team and serves as the SSD liaison with the University of Michigan Law School. Previously, Natalie coordinated services for students with disabilities at her alma mater, Bowling Green State University. Natalie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a Master's in Counseling, with a specialization in Higher Education in Student Affairs, from Walsh University.
Erik earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. Previously Erik worked at Wheelchair Basketball Canada managing the operations for the National programs; including being on staff with Team Canada at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. He then pursued a Master of Business Administration at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada that included his thesis “Examining the Potential Inclusion of Adaptive Sport in the NCAA”. The project addresses issues of equity, sociocultural perceptions of disability and adaptive sport, and the physical, social, psychological, and societal benefits of sport participation. Erik competes in wheelchair basketball and is a 2019 Canada Games silver medalist with Team Ontario.
Allen joined the SAAS team in September 2021 as an Associate Director for SAAS with a primary responsibility of overseeing the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), Academic Support and Access Partnerships (ASAP) , and Testing Accommodation Centers (TAC) teams. Upon his joining SAAS, he oversaw the creation of the TAC and opening of the two testing centers.
Allen is committed to Disability inclusion and access, having worked in the field of Higher Education and Disability for the last 13 years, most recently serving as Director of Disability Services at Rutgers University-Newark. He currently serves on the national board for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).
Allen obtained his MA in Mental Health Counseling from Gallaudet University in Washington DC and his BS in Psychology from Wright State University. Having a lifelong hearing loss and chronic conditions as an adult, Allen identifies as being hard of hearing and as disabled (Learn more about Disability Identity Language.).
Emily is a Disability Access Coordinator within University of Michigan’s Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services. In her role, Emily works with students through an interactive process to explore and implement academic accommodations. Emily holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health from Oakland University. She has a background in mental health therapy and has experience in providing counseling in a university setting.
Christie is an educational equity advocate in all she does. She began her education career at community college and transferred to The University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she pursued her bachelor’s degree in English/Social Studies Education. Upon graduation, she was accepted at her alma mater for a master’s degree in Inclusion Education, where she focused on learning how to make education accessible for all students. Her career has consisted of working in 6-12 education and higher education institutions. In higher education, she has worked with both the academic and student affairs divisions. She is also currently pursuing her doctorate in Education at Wayne State University. In this program, and through her research, she is focusing on how language practices can affect students’ self-efficacy and feelings of belonging at higher education institutions. She joined SAAS in November of 2021.
Rachel joined TAC in January 2022 as an Accommodations Facilitator. As part of the TAC team, she helps coordinate accommodated exams for disabled students. She graduated from Wayne State University with her Master’s in Social Work in late 2019 with a concentration in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. For her undergraduate program she was an intern at a rotating homeless shelter, and for her graduate program she was an intern at an HIV clinic. While she was interning at the clinic she was given the opportunity to launch and supervise a successful tobacco reduction program. She came to the University of Michigan to pursue a new avenue in social work, and work with disabled people. She now helps facilitate exams in a way that is equitable and supportive of the needs of students, and is focusing her social work career into administration. In her free time she has a large variety of hobbies, including running a small etsy shop, playing D&D, making costumes, and spoiling her two pet geckos.
Mike’s calling in life is to attend to the needs of students by helping them break through various academic and societal barriers. He believes in founding authentic bonds with learners and partners based on the pillars of collaboration, equity, and intersectionality. Mike is the son of immigrants and is proud to have accomplished many personal, academic, and professional “firsts” in his family and community. He was born and raised in Chicago and lived in the Middle East for a decade. Mike received his B.A. in Philosophy from Purdue University and received his M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Northeastern Illinois University. Outside of work, you’ll find Mike cooking, watching scary movies, and fighting against injustice.