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Deeply Connected to Disability

Our interdisciplinary Leadership Team, Student Fellows, and Faculty Cadre are people with disabilities or people deeply connected with the disability community. All are committed to collaborating together and engaging in a student-centered, asset-based approach to promote a greater understanding of disabled people’s experiences and obstacles.

Stephanie W. Cawthon, PhD

Executive Director Stephanie W. Cawthon, PhD

The National Disability Center was funded with a $5 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences awarded to principal investigator Stephanie W. Cawthon — building upon her decades of research into how disabled students learn and thrive, as well as her experience developing innovative research models that use collaboration to achieve student-centered insights and findings.

Dr. Cawthon, who is deaf, is Professor at the College of Education and The University of Texas at Austin, Director of the Collaborative for Access & Equity, Director of Research & Evaluation for Drama for Schools, Co-Editor of Perspectives on Deafness at Oxford University Press. She was also the founding director of the National Deaf Center for Postsecondary Success.

A sought-after speaker, author, and thought leader, Dr. Cawthon’s research has been funded by over $50 million in federal and other grants.

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Leadership Team

  • Stephanie W. Cawthon, PhD
    Executive Director and Principal Investigator
  • Andrew Dillon, PhD
    Director of Research Dissemination and Co-Investigator
  • Greg Roberts, PhD
    Director of Evaluation and Co-Investigator
  • Shavonne Coleman, MFA
    Director of Training
  • Tracey Bradnan
    Director of Communications
  • Desirée Lama
    Coordinator of Student Partnerships

Student Fellows

Our Student Fellows receive interdisciplinary training experience, assist with research, and collaborate with the Leadership Team and the Faculty Cadre.

  • Soren Aldaco
  • Lily Alvarez
  • Desirée Lama

Evaluation Team

Our Evaluation Team collects our analytics, evaluates our progress and collaborate closely with the Leadership Team and Faculty Cadre to improve our research strategies.

  • Greg Roberts, PhD
  • Kim Rodriguez, MA
  • Adah Barenburg

Communications Team

Our Communications Team manage our outreach, develop communication plans, and work closely with all teams to disseminate our research findings.

  • Tracey Bradnan, Director of Communications

  • Mytra Berry, Digital Marketing Manager

Faculty Cadre

Our Faculty Cadre comes from five different colleges at the University of Texas at Austin, bringing a diverse wealth of expertise and experience.

  • Maura Borrego, PhD
    Cockrell School of Engineering
  • North Cooc, PhD
    College of Education
  • Denisa Gàndara, PhD
    College of Education
  • Earl Huff, Jr., PhD
    School of Information
  • Alison Kafer, PhD
    College of Liberal Arts
  • Jen Moon, PhD
    College of Natural Sciences

Research Team

Our Research Team members conduct key disability research that will contribute to the development of solutions, and work closely with all teams.

  •  Ryan Mata, MA, Doctoral Research Affiliate
  • Janelle Hedstrom, UT Austin Education Librarian
  • Anna Mari Fall, PhD, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk
  • Pierce Capelli, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk
  • Mike Bohlig, PhD, College of Education | CCSSE

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