The University of Scranton: Annual Conference on DISABILITY

2023 Disability Conference Card

Registration and Contact Information


Registration for this year's conference is closed. 

Contact Information

For more information about this year's conference, please contact Dr. Rebecca Dalgin ( or Dr. Lori Bruch (

Conference Mission

Disability Conference Mission

The University of Scranton believes that disability is part of the human experience and that assisting individuals and families living with disabilities to achieve optimal quality of life requires multidisciplinary interventions, education, research and leadership. The mission of the Conference on Disability is to positively influence the quality of life and wellness of individuals and families living with disabilities by promoting in its deliberations the foundational principles of individualization, self-determination, productivity, employment, independence and full participation in community life by creating an effective learning environment, collaborative and focused discussion and the identification and sharing of effective practices useful in the United States and around the world.

Session Information

Draft Itinerary

Draft Itinerary


James LeBrecht

James LeBrecht has over 40 years of experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, filmmaker, author and disability rights activist.  LeBrecht co-directed and co-produced, with Nicole Newnham, the 2021 Oscar nominated feature length documentary, Crip Camp.

Crip Camp received the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for feature length documentary, the 2021 Independent Spirit award for Best Feature Documentary and a 2021 Peabody Award.  Jim began his career in the theater in 1978, working as the resident sound designer at Berkeley Repertory Theatre for 10 years.  In 1996, LeBrecht founded Berkeley Sound Artists, an audio postproduction house. His film credits include  Minding the Gap, The Island President, The Waiting Room, Audrie and Daisy and, of course, Crip Camp.  A complete list of his film credits (over 180) can be viewed at 

Jim’s work as an activist began in high school and continued at UC, San Diego, where he helped found the Disabled Students Union. Jim is a former board member at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.  Some of LeBrecht’s additional accomplishments include co-founding FWD-Doc, an organization that supports documentary filmmakers with disabilities and being a character consultant for Pixar Animation Studios for 2 of their films.  Jim is a member of the Disability Futures Fellowship, an initiative of the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Mason Ameri


Mason Ameri, PhD, studies disability employment and has developed evidence-based solutions to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in organizations and society. He has published widely in high-impact journals and popular press, including several New York Times features and exclusives. His talks at TEDx, the World Bank Group, and other platforms have driven discussions on promoting accessibility. He has consulted with various public and private entities on policy reform, such as the US Election Assistance Commission. He has helped secure over $11 million in grants to operate a wave of innovative disability research from NSF, MIT, HHS, and EAC.

Kathy West-Evans and John Evans

Kathy West-Evans is the Director of Business Relations for the national organization of the 78 public VR agencies in every state, the territories and D.C. She has her Bachelor of Science and MA in Public Administration; she is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) who is fluent in American Sign Language. Kathy started in the field of rehabilitation in 1978 working at a community agency managing a Projects with Industry program, then for the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as a VRC, Assistant Regional Administrator and Statewide Program Manager in Business Relations and Marketing. She moved from DVR to the federal level with the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and now leads the National Employment Team (NET) at CSAVR (Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation). The NET is a cross state team of VR business specialists working through a dual customer approach to develop strategies with business (private, public, and non-profit) to employ and retain the talents of individuals with disabilities across the company or organization.

Kathy is a past Chair of the Veterans Advisory Council on Rehabilitation and a former Commissioner on the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. In addition to impacting legislation focused on VR’s work with business, she is a frequent speaker and has co-authored articles focused on working with business to employ the talents of individuals with disabilities.

John Evans recently retired from the State of Washington – Department Social Health Services – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, where he was the agency’s statewide VR Program Administrator for Employer Relations. 

A 1983 graduate of Seattle University in Public Administration and Human Resource Development, John spent 31 years of public service in the fields of vocational rehabilitation; labor relations; human resource development; disability integration; and the employment of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Born with profound congenital deafness, John is a former beneficiary of the public Vocational Rehabilitation system, first becoming a VR Counselor working with the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind in 1984. John’s career includes serving as a Lead VR Counselor, Regional Business Relations Specialist, Affirmative Action Officer, SR Human Resource Consultant, Statewide Reasonable Accommodation Specialist, State Personnel ADA Manager, VR Unit Supervisor, and Program Administrator. John is uniquely positioned to offer insights into the dynamics and benefits of “disability employment and business relations”.

Michele Bornman


Michele Bornman, M.Ed., CRC, has over 35 years of experience in the field of Vocational Rehabilitation and working with people with disabilities.  She is currently working on special projects with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) as an Annuitant and with the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania.  Ms. Bornman is a former recipient of the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association, Charles L. Eby Rehabilitation Administration Award and is a former Governor-appointed member of the Pennsylvania Special Education Advisory Panel.  She designed and implemented the OVR Early Reach Initiative that seeks to enhance OVR’s interaction with students with disabilities while they are still in school.  Ms. Bornman has been a champion for the successful transition of students with disabilities from school to adult life and was instrumental in establishing the first Transition Coordinating Councils in Pennsylvania at the local and statewide levels.  Ms. Bornman is a sought-after speaker and has made numerous local, statewide, and national presentations on disability-related topics and leadership.

Taryn Williams

Taryn Mackenzie Williams is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy. In this position, she advises the Secretary of Labor on how the Department’s policies and programs impact the employment of people with disabilities and leads the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), which works with employers and all levels of government to promote evidence-based policy that improves employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities.  Previously, Williams was the managing director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress, which works on progressive policies focused on a broad range of anti-poverty strategies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Brown University and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University.

Theo W. Braddy

Theo W. Braddy graduated from Temple University with his MSW in 1988, after
receiving his BSW from Edinboro University.

At the early age of 15, he became a person with a disability due to a high school football accident that
left him paralyzed from the neck down. For over 40+ years, Mr. Braddy has advocated on behalf of
persons with disabilities.

Braddy was hired in 1988 as CEO of the Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania. As
CEO, Braddy created an independent living center that has become a strong and growing voice for
persons with disabilities.

Braddy has taught at Temple University and Millersville University as an Adjunct Professor.

Two different Governors have appointed Mr. Braddy Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission. Governor Corbett appointed Braddy to serve on the PA Statewide Independent
Living Council. In 2021, Governor Wolf appointed Braddy to serve on the State Board of Vocational
Rehabilitation and re-appoint him again in 2021 to the PA Statewide Independent Living Council.

Selected by Senator Robert Casey, Jr., as 1 of 4 Black leaders in Pennsylvania who have demonstrated
power and persistency in overcoming challenge and creating meaningful change in PA. I was honored
by having Senator Casey acknowledged my contribution on the Senate Floor at a Congressional
Hearing – Presented with a Senate Proclamation and Plaque for my contribution. Recognized and
celebrated as a Black Leader during Senator Casey’s Resilience in the Face of Adversity virtual event in
February, 2022.

On September 30, 2022, President Biden announced he was appointing me to the National Council
on Disability (NCD). NCD is an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress, and
other federal agencies on policies, programs, practices, and procedures affecting people with

On December, 2022 invited to join Governor-Elect Shapiro Transition Team’s Advisory Committee on
Education & Workforce Development.

On February 01, Mr. Braddy was appointed Executive Director of the National Council on
Independent Living (NCIL). NCIL is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots
organization run by and for people with disabilities.

Mr. Braddy is married to Rovenia Braddy, who Author and Playwriter. He is the father of two adult
children, a daughter, Kimmi Braddy, and a son, Theo Braddy Jr.


UPMC - Luncheon Sponsor

Beacon Keystone



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