University of Maryland


MIDA is a community of passionate UMD researchers, designers, developers, and educators, who are involved in research, development, tech transfer, education, policy, and advocacy to improve digital accessibility. Read more about the MIDA Leadership Team.

Elizabeth Bonsignore, Ph.D.

Beth smiles in front of a dark background in a black turtleneck. She wears glasses and her purple hair is up.
Elizabeth “Beth” Bonsignore is an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). Her research explores the design of interactive play and social experiences that promote new media literacies, arts-integrated science learning, and computational empowerment. She co-designs and advocates with youth, families, and local communities, regardless of age or ability, to carry out this design-based work together. She has published peer-reviewed conference and journal articles on participatory design, new media literacies, and the learning sciences, and has received three honorable mention awards in ACM, IEEE, and Learning Sciences venues. She serves on the program committees of several Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) conferences as Technical Program Chair (CHI PLAY), Games & Play Subcommittee Co-Chair (CHI), and Demo/Arts Co-Chair (IDC).

Bonsignore’s Google Scholar & Bonsignore’s Research Gate pages

Rachael Bradley-Montgomery, Ph.D.

Outdoors portrait of a woman with pale skin and silver bangs look at the camera in a cobalt blue top.
Dr. Rachael Bradley Montgomery is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies. She is a Digital Accessibility Architect at the Library of Congress, a Co-Chair of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, and Executive Director of Accessible Community. Her research and work centers on improving the quality of and encouraging adoption of accessibility standards and best practices.

Eun Kyoung Choe, Ph.D.

Eun Kyoung Choe
Eun Kyoung Choe is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies and directs the Inclusive Experience Design (IxD) Lab. With an overarching goal of empowering individuals, she designs and studies technologies for health and well-being. She has been investigating the intersection of health and disability, working towards creating accessible health technologies for marginalized populations. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Microsoft Research, and she has been serving on the editorial boards of PACM IMWUT and Foundations and Trends in Human-Computer Interaction, and as a Health Subcommittee Co-Chair for CHI 2021-23.

Tamara Clegg, Ph.D.

Dr. Clegg has short coily hair and smiles broadly in front of a dark background.
Tamara “Tammy” Clegg is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she is the director of the InfoDesign B.A. program and co-director of the Youth eXperience (YX) Lab. She received her Ph.d. from Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and her B.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. Tamara’s work focuses on designing technology (e.g., social media, mobile apps, e-textiles, community displays) to support life-relevant learning where learners, particularly those from underrepresented groups in science, engage in STEM in the context of achieving personally relevant goals. She seeks to understand ways such learning environments and technologies support STEM disposition development. Tamara’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Studies, and Google.

Clegg’s Google Scholar & Clegg’s INFO website 

Stephanie J. Cork, BAH, MA, Ph.D.

Monotone portrait of a woman with long dark hair wearing black rimmed glasses looking off to the side

Stephanie (she/they) is an academic coach and consultant specializing in support for disabled students as they transition into Higher Education. They are a cross-border scholar, teaching and learning at Canadian institutions such as Queen’s University (BAH/MA, Sociology) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Ontario Tech). She is also an alumni of the University of Maryland, College Park (PhD Kinesiology). Stephanie’s academic work has been published in venues such as the award-winning Handbook of Disability ActivismInternational Journal of Information, Diversity, and InclusionSport and Physical Culture in Global Pandemic TimesSociocultural Issues in Physical Activity; and Thresholds in Education. She is also the co-founder of the Including Disability Global Summit (IDGS) and the co-Executive Editor of the companion journal with Dr. Paul T Jaeger.

Get connected and find out more by visiting Stephanie Cork’s personal website.

Larissa Curry, AuD, CCC-A

Larissa Curry

Dr. Larissa Curry is an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Hearing and Speech Department in the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences. She is a licenced audiologist and engages in academic teaching of graduate students in the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) program while providing adult rehabilitation services to the community through the on-campus Audiology Clinic. She is also passionate about community engagement and increasing the accessibility for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals.

Amy Dwyre D’Agati, M.S.

Amy Dwyre D’Agati
Amy D’Agati is a subject matter expert in transition, career development and employment for people with disabilities (customized employment), and inclusive post-secondary education programming for students with intellectual disabilities. She is a faculty specialist in the Center for Transition and Career Innovation in the College of Education where she works on a variety of state and national research, technical assistance and model demonstration grants related to transition and employment for people with disabilities. She is the founder and director of TerpsEXCEED, UMD’s inclusive higher education program for students with ID. Amy also sits on the State Agency Transition Collaborative of Maryland (SATC-MD). She has over two decades of experience in direct service, training and research impacting employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities.

Beth Douthirt-Cohen, Ph.D.

With her brown curly hair up, Beth smiles in an apple orchard. She is white and wears a white blouse with black triangles on it.
Beth Douthirt-Cohen, Ph.D. (she or they) has been deeply engaged in racial justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA+ justice, gender justice, and addressing religious bias for the past 20 years. The former Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), and the former senior diversity officer at Frederick Community College (MD), Beth’s work focused on building the capacity of institutions, groups, and individuals to interrupt and effectively address current and historical legacies of all forms of oppression, always centering racial justice, transformation, and healing, from boardrooms to playgrounds to religious communities to living rooms to classrooms. Currently, Beth is the DEI Activist-in-Residence, a PTK faculty role, at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Beth has her PhD from UMD, her MEd from Harvard, and her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University. Beth’s research and teaching on solidarity and belonging looks at how we can strengthen the capacity of majoritized people to engage—ethically, effectively, authentically, and with accountability—across power and identity differences. 

Kathy Dow-Burger, M.A., CCC-SLP

Kathy Dow Burger
Kathy Dow-Burger, M.A., CCC-SLP is the University of Maryland Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP) Friedman Family Director of Neurodiversity and Autism Transition Services (NATS). She is a nationally-certified, Maryland State licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) and Clinical Associate Professor who has extensive experience in the evaluation and treatment of autism and other communication disorders across the lifespan as well as an advocate for accessibility and use of accommodations and Universal Design for Learning for neurodivergent people. She manages the NATS programs as well as the clinical instruction and supervision of HESP graduate and undergraduate students engaged in their speech-language pathology practicum.

Niklas Elmqvist, Ph.D.

Niklas Elmqvist
Niklas Elmqvist is a professor of computer science at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark (from summer 2023). He was previously a professor of information studies at the University of Maryland from 2014 to 2023 and the director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory from 2016 to 2021. His research is in data visualization, visual science, and human-computer interaction. His recent research has, among other things, focused on accessible data visualization, particularly for blind individuals.

Elmqvist’s personal website

Jason Farman, Ph.D.

Jason Farman
Jason Farman is a Professor of American Studies and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also a faculty member with the Immersive Media Design Program and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. He is the former Director of the Design Cultures & Creativity Program, which he helped launch in 2010. He is author of the books Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World (winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology) and Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media (winner of the 2012 Book of the Year Award from the Association of Internet Researchers). He works in the areas of accessible design, mobile technology, the history of technology, cultural studies, and embodied space.

Farman’s personal website

Jinjuan Feng, Ph.D.

Jinjuan Feng
Jinjuan “Heidi” Feng is a professor at the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Towson University and an affiliated faculty in the iSchool. Her current research projects focus on assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities, mobile applications for healthcare related services, and accessible security techniques for individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities. Her work has been funded by both federal and state institutions (e.g., the National Science Foundation) as well as industry (e.g., Google). She served as the program co-chair for the 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS21) and the general chair for ASSETS16.

Feng’s website 

Nancy Forsythe, M.A., Ed.S.

Nancy Forsyth
Nancy Forsythe is a subject matter expert in disability inclusion. She is currently tasked with developing the campus-wide Disability Cultural Center at the University of Maryland. In this role, she is responsible for fostering community among students with disabilities, serving as an advocate for the needs of students, and promoting their development. Prior to this, Nancy worked at the University Career Center, supporting students with disabilities in the career preparation, job search, and on-boarding processes, and working closely with employers to improve their cultural competence in disability inclusion. She co-leads the Capital Region Neurodiversity at Work Hub and is a Board member of the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County and the Maryland Down syndrome Advocacy Coalition. Nancy’s background is in social science research and teaching. 

Ge Gao, Ph.D.

Ge Gao
Ge Gao is an Assistant Professor at the College of Information Studies (iSchool) of the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Cornell University. Her recent work investigates ways to enhance information sharing and empathy building in teams and communities whose members feature neurodiversity and/or different styles of language use. Her research has been published regularly at top-tier HCI venues such as the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW), and Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp).

Amelia N. Gibson, Ph.D.

Amelia Gibson
Amelia Gibson is an Associate Professor, and director of the Community Equity Data & Information Lab at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. She studies marginalization, risk, safety, and trust, in sociotechnical information systems, with a focus on improving health and learning institutions. Dr. Gibson’s current research contexts focused on maternal health equity and disability justice. Her work asks the question, “how and when do our data and information systems incentivize self-protective information practices, and how can we create systems that are safe and supportive?”

Ursula Gorham, Ph.D., J.D.

Ursula Gorham
Ursula Gorham is the Associate Director for Faculty Initiatives in the Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA), where she oversees policy and procedural matters governing professional track and other non-tenure-track faculty. Prior to joining OFA, she was a Senior Lecturer in the College of Information Studies, where she served as a director of the Master of Library and Information Science program from 2018-2023. Admitted to practice law in Maryland, Dr. Gorham’s research focuses on access to legal and government information. She is a co-author of Foundations of Information Law, to be published in Summer 2023.

Kelly M. Hoffman, MLS

Kelly Hoffman
Kelly M. Hoffman (she/they) has been interested in collecting, organizing, retrieving, and sharing information from a young age and continues to indulge that passion in her research by exploring personal knowledge management and neurodivergence. She earned a Masters in Library Science from the University of Maryland and worked as a knowledge management analyst before returning to earn a Ph.D. in Information Studies in 2023. Her past work includes the ConnectedLib Toolkit for youth services library staff and the original UMD Disability Summit in 2016, as well as research published in LISRLibrary QuarterlyFirst Monday, and Games and Culture.

Kelly’s Google Scholar and Kelly’s website.

Eric Hoover, Ph.D.

Eric Hoover
Dr. Eric Hoover is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. He is an instructor of Aural Rehabilitation / Habilitation, Hearing aids, and Hearing Conservation for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing clinical degrees in speech pathology and audiology. The goal of his research is to remove barriers to communication by applying our understanding of how the auditory system represents complex acoustic environments to the treatment of hearing loss.

Hoover Google Scholar & Hoover lab website 

Yi Ting Huang, Ph.D.

Yi Ting Huang
Dr. Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. Dr. Huang’s research examines the real-time strategies that people adopt to understand language and each other, how these approaches succeed and fail when communicating with people who are different from themselves. She explores these questions through eye-tracking methods, language sample analysis, and collaborating with massively interdisciplinary teams. Dr. Huang is part of Fostering Inclusivity through Technology (FIT), a project that develops tools for video-calling platforms to promote mutual understanding between autistic and neurotypical people in the workplace.

Huang lab website 

Katherine Worboys-Izsak, Ph.D.

A blue background is behind Dr. Izsak, who wears a black blouse and has shoulder length red hair with bangs.
Dr. Kate Izsak is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Information Studies. She oversees all degree programs for the College, and she has built and sustained academic programs related to data journalism, game analytics, information design, smart and connected communities, and social data science. During Kate’s tenure, the College has generated and maintained a 300% increase in its student body and doubled its academic staff. Kate has over 20 years experience in teaching and research related to the interdisciplinary social sciences. She also teaches in the College and holds a faculty affiliation with the UMD Department of Anthropology.

Paul T. Jaeger, Ph.D., J.D., M.Ed., M.L.S.

Dr. Jaegar smiles at the camera. He wears sunglasses and a suit with a tie.
Dr. Paul Jaeger is a professor in the College of Information Studies and Co-Director of the Museum Scholarship and Material Culture graduate certificate program at the University of Maryland. He studies the impacts of law and policy on information access, behavior, and accessibility, with a focus on civil rights and human rights, and is the author of more than 200 journal articles and book chapters, as well as 20 books. He served for six years as co-chair of the President’s Commission on Disability Issues, is an editor of Library Quarterly and an executive editor of Including Disability. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the Including Disability Global Summit (the Disability Summit), and he was the inaugural recipient in 2014 of the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award.

J. Bern Jordan, Ph.D.

J Bern Jordan
Dr. J. Bern Jordan is an assistant research scientist in the College of Information Studies. His work focuses on accessibility and its practical applications, working to improve both the technology side and accessibility standards and practice. His projects have involved web and document accessibility, automatic configuration and generation of interfaces, screening for photosensitive epilepsy hazards, and the accessibility of self-service transaction machines, kiosks, and other public ICT. Dr. Jordan has worked with various U.S. agencies and organizations on accessibility, including the U.S. Access Board, U.S. National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, FDIC, NIST, IEEE, W3C, UL Standards & Engagement, and the FCC Disability Advisory Committee. He has recently been consulting on the accessibility of at-home tests, apps, videos, and instructions for COVID-19 for the RADx Tech initiative of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

La Marr Jurelle Bruce, Ph.D.

A stylish black man with full hair, salt and pepper stubble, and a dark anchor goatee looks off to the side. He wears a crisp button-up shirt that matches the color of his blazer's checkered stripes.

Dr. La Marr Jurelle Bruce (B.A. Columbia, Ph.D. Yale) is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, literary and cultural theorist, Black/black studies devotee, first-generation college graduate, and Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. His scholarship centers black expressive cultures—spanning literature, film, music, theatre, and the art and aesthetics of quotidian black life. A Ford Foundation Fellow and Mellon-Mays Fellow, he also works in disability studies, mad studies, popular culture, queer theory, performance theory, and psychoanalysis.

Dr. Bruce’s writing is featured or forthcoming in African American ReviewAmerican QuarterlyThe Black ScholarGLQSocial TextTDR, and several anthologies. His debut book, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity (Duke University Press), earned the MLA Prize for a First Book from the Modern Language Association and the Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. Now he’s in the thick of two projects. The first unfurls a critical theory, cultural history, aesthetic expression, and existential assertion of black love outside. The second is a study of—and an experiment in—convergences of love and madness.

Hernisa Kacorri, Ph.D.

Hernisa Kacorri
Dr. Hernisa Kacorri, PhD is an Associate professor in the College of Information Studies and an affiliate Associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. She is the director of the Intelligent Assistive Machines (IAM) Lab, where her research focuses on AI-infused technologies that can benefit the disability community. She has published more than 45 refereed articles in journals, conference proceedings, and edited books, and has received 7 best paper/honorable mention awards in ACM and IEEE venues. She is a recipient of a Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship in the Sciences and she has been recognized by the Rising Stars in EECS program of CMU/MIT.

Kacorri Google Scholar, IAM lab, & Kacorri’s  personal website 

Vaishnav Kameswaran, Ph.D.

Vaishnav is standing in front of a blue sky with wispy clouds in the background. He is a tan man with light facial hair around his mouth. His eyes and hair are dark, but his smile is bright. He is wearing a blue shirt.
Vaishnav is a postdoctoral researcher with the Values-Centered AI initiative at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research takes a community-centered approach to examine the AI divide i.e. the unequal access, utilization and effects of AI on people with disabilities. His work has been published in leading HCI venues including CHI, CSCW, ASSETS and FAccT and has won several awards.  

Amanda Lazar, Ph.D.

Amanda Lazar
Dr. Amanda Lazar, (no relation to Jonathan Lazar), is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies and an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. Through her research she and her team at The Health, Aging, and Technology Lab (THAT Lab) are seeking to better understand accessible technology design for people with age-related cognitive impairment and addressing the need for new ways of designing technology that includes people with dementia at all stages of the process. She has published more than 50 refereed articles in journals, conference proceedings, and edited books and her work has received 13 best paper and honorable mention awards. Dr. Lazar was the recipient of the 2021 Mentor of the Year Award from the University of Maryland.

Amanda Lazar’s personal website & THAT Lab website 

Jonathan Lazar, Ph.D., LL.M.

Jonathan Lazar
Dr. Jonathan Lazar is the Executive Director of the Maryland Initiative for Digital Accessibility (MIDA) and is a professor in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Lazar has authored or edited 16 books and published 200 refereed articles on digital accessibility, human-computer interaction, and disability rights law. His books include Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction (2nd edition, co-authored with Heidi Feng and Harry Hochheiser), Ensuring Digital Accessibility Through Process and Policy (co-authored with Dan Goldstein and Anne Taylor), and Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology (co-edited with Michael Stein). He frequently serves as an adviser to government agencies and regularly provides testimony at federal and state levels, and multiple US federal regulations cite his research publications on digital accessibility. He has been on the Executive Board of the Friends of the Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled since 2009, was the general chair for the ACM Conference on Accessible Computing (ASSETS) 2021, and is the recipient of the 2016 ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award, the 2020 ACM SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility, and is a 2021 inductee into the ACM SIGCHI Academy.

Jonathan Lazar’s website 

Yewon Lee, Ph.D.

Yewon Lee
Yewon Lee is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland and the Director of the Disability Studies Minor program. Her research focuses on enhancing science writing skills for students with learning disabilities and English learners. She is expanding her research to focus on making undergraduate education accessible for all students. Dr. Lee is a member of the Research Committee in the Council of Learning Disability (CLD) and she was awarded the Catalyst Fund and Experiential Learning Grant to examine and redesign the instructional design in undergraduate courses.

Shevaun Lewis, Ph.D.

Shevaun Lewis
Shevaun Lewis is an Assistant Research Professor, Director of the University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC), and Assistant Director of the Maryland Language Science Center (LSC). She has nearly 10 years of experience working to create and sustain interdisciplinary research and training initiatives. At UMARC, she is currently focusing on strengthening partnerships with the autistic community and other stakeholders, as well as initiatives to better support and include autistic students at UMD. She is part of the Fostering Inclusivity through Technology (FIT) project, funded by a UMD Grand Challenges grant, which aims to develop tools for video-calling platforms to promote mutual understanding between autistic and non-autistic people in the workplace.

UMARC website 

Emily Singer Lucio, M.A.

Emily Singer Lucio
Emily Singer Lucio currently serves as the ADA/504 Coordinator at UMD. Emily has been in the field of higher education and disability since 1991.  She has been a member of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) since 1992 Over the years, she has given many presentations to students, parents and faculty, as well as presented at the AHEAD conference annually since 1997.  Emily received her BA in Public Policy Studies: Special Education-Legislation and Practice from The University of Michigan in 1992 and went on to receive her MA in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University in 1993.

Eusebia Mont, M.A.

Eusabia Mont
Eusebia V. Mont is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the director of the Cultural-Linguistic Diversity Emphasis Program and director of the Master’s Program in Speech-Language Pathology. With a focus on reducing health and educational disparities, she investigates cultural humility in clinical and pedagogical settings. Her current interests include culturally responsive teaching practices in higher education, instructional design for diverse populations, and the intersections of ethics, cultural diversity and social justice for individuals with communication disorders.

Sara Olsen, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H.

Sara Olsen
Dr. Sara H. Olsen is a Disability Rights Program Specialist supporting enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and individuals’ right to receive services in the most integrated setting possible. As Co-Founder of the Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance, she has conducted research on fitness app features to maximize usability by diverse disabled populations. She grew up surrounded by people who dedicated their lives to the service of others despite the challenges or sacrifices involved. The Navy seemed a natural choice to continue the family tradition of service before self. The combination of adventure with the mission to protect personnel and property inherent in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community drew her in. After nine years of active duty as an EOD Officer, Sara transitioned to the Reserves, where she has risen to the rank of Captain having commanded four units. She is the managing editor for Including Disability.

Olsen’s LinkedIn 

Nancy O’Neill, Ed.D.

Nancy's dark hair is pulled back. She wears a white eyelet lace blouse with a black collar in front of a blue painted brick wall. She wears black rimmed glasses.
Nancy O’Neill is the Acting Director of the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation at the University System of Maryland. Nancy joined the Kirwan Center in February 2016 and has served as the Acting Director since May 2022, shaping the Kirwan Center’s strategic direction and leading its work. At the Kirwan Center, she leads Systemwide projects related to student success as well as capacity-building initiatives with and for faculty development leaders across the System. She also supports Kirwan Center initiatives that directly engage faculty, including efforts to scale and sustain the use of open educational resources and to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

Ron Padrón, M.S.

Ron Padron
Ron Padrón (he/him) is the Director of Undergraduate Operations for the College of Information Studies. He also serves as Director of Academic Involvement for the Including Disability Global Summit, and Associate Editor for Including Disability. He is a member of the President’s Commission on Disability Issues and is currently co-Chair of the President’s Commission on LGBTQ+ Issues. He also partners with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as a facilitator in their Words of Engagement Intergroup Dialogue Program. Ron has presented and written on topics ranging from advocacy in student services, diversity work in higher education, the efficacy of dialogue-driven social justice education, and virtual community-building in the disabled community.

Susannah Paletz, Ph.D.

Susannah has dark curly hair and is smiling. She wears black-rimmed glasses and a charcoal grey suit with a chunky necklace.

Susannah Paletz is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, where she directs a new Research Interest Group called the Organizational Teams and Technology Research Society (OTTRS). Her research focuses on teams (including diverse teams), culture, and creativity, as well as applied psychology topics such as the future of work and social media and emotion. She received her PhD and MA in social/personality psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BA from Wesleyan University. Susannah’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, and other sources. 

Ana Palla, Ph.D.

Ana Palla
Dr. Ana Palla is a Senior IT Accessibility and UX Specialist at the Academic Technology & Innovation unit in the Division of Information Technology. Dr. Palla leads the University of Maryland’s digital accessibility efforts, which include overseeing the implementation of the UMD IT Accessibility Plan, web accessibility policy, and many services, tools, and guidelines for accessible on-campus media production, accessible e-learning tools, and procurement of accessible technology. Dr. Palla has an affiliation with the School of Public Health as a lecturer and has served as co-chair for the UMD President’s Commission on Disability Issues for 7 years where community engagement was a central role of her activities. She was the recipient of the University of Maryland President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2020.

Huaishu Peng, Ph.D.

Huaishu Peng
Dr. Huaishu Peng is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department and a member of HCIL at the University of Maryland, College Park. He directs the Small Artifacts Lab (SMART Lab) with multi-disciplinary research interests ranging from (1) design and fabrication, (2) virtual and augmented reality, and (3) assistive and enabling technology. His work has been published in CHI, UIST, and SIGGRAPH and won Best Paper Nominees. His work has also been featured in media outlets such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Techcrunch, and Gizmodo.

Peng’s lab website 

Galina Reitz, Ph.D.

Galina Reitz
Dr. Galina Reitz is the Faculty Program Director for UMD iSchool’s Information Science undergraduate program at the Universities at Shady Grove. For the past ten years Dr. Reitz has led a research team in efforts to understand older adults and their interactions with voice technology, specifically those with cognitive impairment and related dementias. Dr. Reitz has published on various topics including Voice Technology in Supporting Older persons with cognitive impairments, Person-Centered Technology and Quality of Life and Supporting Caregivers. Currently Dr. Reitz is developing the initiative iTAP (Information Technology for the Aging Person) which would be a collaborative effort between the College of Information Studies, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Maryland and several Montgomery County Aging Services stakeholders.  iTAP will be put in place to support the local Maryland aging community by providing technology support on the Rockville USG campus for older adults and their care partners. 

iTAP website 

Lisa Rickard, AuD, CCC-A

Lisa Rickard
Dr. Lisa Rickard is an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Hearing and Speech Sciences Department in the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences. She is a licenced audiologist and engages in academic teaching and clinical education of undergraduate and graduate students in the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) program. She also provides direct patient care in the areas of diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology. She has developed community partnerships via the Hearing Aids for Holocaust Survivor collaboration with the Jewish Social Services Association and a partnership with the Arlington Free Clinic which provides hearing evaluations and hearing aids to underserved populations. 

Alyssa Ryan, M.A.

Alyssa Ryan wears a plaid button up and is smiling outdoors. She wears large dark framed glasses and she has silver streaks in her otherwise long, dark, straight hair around her face.
Alyssa Ryan (she/her) is the Assistant Director for the Immersive Media Design program within the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities. She is currently a member of the President’s Commission on LGBTQ+ Issues and serves on several campus committees working to increase gender equity and access in STEM. Alyssa received her MA in American Studies (’14) and MA in Higher Education Administration from the University of Maryland. Her research is in the areas of: embodied experiences in virtual spaces, immersive technologies, digital media theory and culture, and STEM discipline accessibility in higher education. Her current work explores increasing accessibility in immersive media and technologies.  

Abhinav Shrivastava, Ph.D.

Abhinav Shrivastava
Dr. Abhinav Shrivastava is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department with appointment in UMIACS  and affiliate appointment in ECE. His research focuses on computer vision, machine learning, robotics, and their applications. He works on broad range of research topics, including object recognition and discovery, internet-scale knowledge-bases and benchmarks, new representations and models for video understanding, generative models for images and videos, semi-supervised learning, and unsupervised tracking from videos, which have advanced the state-of-the-art in multiple computer vision tasks. He is interested in how perception and learning systems can enable better assistive technologies and improve users’ experience and capabilities. His works have received best paper finalist at CVPR 2019, best paper award (applications) at WACV 2020, and best student paper award at WACV 2014, and garnered wide public interest, appearing on CNN (top-10 ideas of 2013), BBC, Forbes, and AP.

Shrivastava’s Google Scholar 

Nedelina Tchangalova, M.S., M.L.S.

Nedelina Tchangalova
Nedelina Tchangalova is a public health librarian in the STEM Library at the University of Maryland, College Park. She helps students and faculty find information and materials related to health and medicine, and partners with faculty on systematic review projects. She also serves as the Director of Digital Initiatives and Fundraising for the Including Disability Global Summit, and Technical Editor for Including Disability. She is currently a co-chair of the President’s Commission on Disability Issues. She was the recipient of the University of Maryland President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019. She is passionate about increasing accessibility for people with disabilities and building an inclusive work and learning environment for people with all abilities.

Nedelina‘s Google Scholar 

Stephanie Valencia-Valencia, Ph.D.

Stephanie Valencia
Stephanie Valencia is an Assistant Professor (starting August 2023) in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on increasing conversational agency in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices that support communication for users with motor and speech disabilities. She implements participatory design to build accessible technologies that are grounded in behavioral theory, co-designed with people with disabilities, and deployed to users for impact. Stephanie’s goals also include developing accessible design methods to support diverse design teams and increasing access to assistive technologies in low and middle income settings. She has published in top-tier human-computer interaction venues (CHI, ASSETS, CSCW, HRI) and her publications have received an honorable mention and three best paper awards. Her work on designing open-source and low-cost assistive technologies with communities in the global south has been recognized by the MIT Technology Review in Latin America, BBC, Yale University, among others.

Valencia’s  Google Scholar page

Victoria Van Hyning, Ph.D., M.St.

Victoria Van Hyning
Victoria Van Hyning is an Assistant Professor in the iSchool. She has a background in medieval and early modern English literature, digital humanities, and cultural heritage crowdsourcing and publishes in these areas. She is a co-founder of the Center for Archival Futures (CAFe) and the Recovering and Reusing Archival Data or RRAD Lab at UMD where she focuses on community cultural heritage, crowdsourcing, and data reuse. She was awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services Early Career Grant in 2022 for her project “Crowdsourced Data: Accuracy, Accessibility, Authority (CDAAA),” to investigate the challenges and sociotechnical barriers that libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) face in integrating crowdsourced transcriptions of cultural heritage materials into their discovery systems, and whether these are truly accessible to people who use screen readers to access digitized content.

Van Hyning’s personal website 

David Weintrop, Ph.D.

David Weintrop
David Weintrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective, engaging, equitable, and accessible computational learning experiences. His work lies at the intersection of design, computer science education, and the learning sciences. In support of his work, David received a National Academy of Education/Spencer postdoctoral fellowship and an NSF CAREER award. David has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

Weintrop’s Google Scholar & the personal website of Dr. Weintrop  

Gulnoza Yakubova, Ph.D.

Gulnoza Yakubova
Gulnoza Yakubova, PhD, is an assistant professor in Special Education within the College of Education. She has an expertise in working with autistic children and those with developmental disabilities to teach them independent living skills and supporting them in an academic environment. Her research interests focus on examining technology-based interventions to teach autistic students the skills they need to have a successful life after school. Dr. Yakubova has served as a co-chair of the Cultural Diversity Committee of the International Society for Autism Research (2019–2022), and currently serves on the editorial board of Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Special Education Technology, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, and the Journal of International Association of Special Education.

Yakubova’s personal website 

Graduate Student Researchers

Coming Soon: The new Fall 2023 cohort of MIDA-affiliated graduate-level (Masters & Ph.D.) student researchers!