Eliza Young is student at Oberlin College majoring psychology and minoring in: Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; English; Peace and Conflict Studies; and Cognitive Science. Eliza was diagnosed with Convergence Insufficiency and ADD in second grade when she was having trouble learning to read. Eliza earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, in high school when she raised awareness for Convergence Insufficiency, a learning disability that affects 1/20 students but is not widely known. She created a website and an online community for people with CI to connect and share resources on Facebook. Eliza is also a co-founder and current chair of Obility, Oberlin’s Disability Advocacy and Solidarity Organization, where she leads events and workshops—with a particular focus on student advocacy.
Eliza’s interests include reading audiobooks, singing, guitar, movies, paleontology, working with kids, and baking. She designed and taught BakeCo, an Oberlin experimental college class about the science behind baking. Eliza is a certified mediator trained in conflict resolution with a social justice focus and teaches active listening skills to students in Peer Helping courses at Oberlin.
Cassidy McClellan is a freshman at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University and is a member of the University’s Honors Program. She is majoring in elementary education with the goal of going into educational policy and leadership. Furthermore, Cassidy is a social justice advocate for youth finding their voices. In addition to her academic aspirations, she is also a Servant Leader intern for the Monroe Street Neighborhood Center’s Freedom School where she continues to devote her time teaching early literacy skills. Cassidy has auditory processing disorder, but it has not deterred her from being an educational advocate for minority students and students with disabilities.
Louis Carrico-Braun is currently completing his freshman year at Northeastern University where he is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science. Louis was diagnosed with ADHD in the second grade and continued to struggle with his learning disability throughout the rest of elementary, middle, and high school. However, with a lot of hard work and a supportive community, Louis graduated as his high school’s salutatorian. His goal is to graduate from college and become a software engineer. Louis is excited to be a member of the Young Adult Leadership Council and hopes to help build more inclusive paths and opportunities for the many students with learning disabilities who will follow him.
Madison Saunders is a young adult woman at Southeastern Oklahoma State University studying Aviation Management as a first-time full college honors student. She has dysgraphia and “dyslexic characteristics due to processing” being diagnosed in the 5th grade. She wants to give kids a chance to get a voice and inspire her younger brother to be confident in himself. She would like to focus as well on Native American disability awareness for youth and how being in high level classes doesn’t mean that there is a struggle every day. This native Texan from McKinney is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, has worked on high-power model rockets, and has a love for academic events.
Joseph Letteri will be graduating in the spring of 2021 with a degree in chemical engineering from UVA. At a young age, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I struggled in school with learning and attention issues. While attending college, I met several other individuals with similar learning differences. I found great value in how much we were able to empower each other through discussion and sharing strategies to our achievements. Through efforts at NCLD and Eye to Eye, I hope to continue advocating equity for the 1 in 5 who learn differently throughout my career.
Erin Crosby is a senior at Westfield State University working towards a Bachelor’s degree in special education with an educator license in moderate disabilities (Pre-K-8.) She earned her associate’s degree in Liberal Studies with an education concentration from Landmark College, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Her passion for special education, learning disabilities, and advocacy comes from her experiences as a student with Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD), Dyscalculia, and slow processing speed. As a pre-service special educator, she hopes to bring more student perspectives into practice and help students see themselves as smart, capable learners who learn differently. She also hopes to help other teachers understand learning and attention issues from the student perspective in order to spark a brighter future for the 1 in 5.
Erin’s passion for special education and disability rights issues extends beyond the classroom. She writes for The Mighty and volunteers at her school’s disability services office for information sessions and recruitment events. Erin looks forward to experiencing the Young Adult Leadership Council so she can bring her passion for advocacy and learning disabilities to the next level.
In her free time, Erin enjoys playing ice hockey, writing, and spending time with friends and family.
Camilla Tarpey-Schwed is a student at Whitman College, where she plays on the varsity tennis team and is a chapter leader and mentor for Eye to Eye. She studies rhetoric and psychology because she wants to advance LD educational policy. She is excited to expand her knowledge about LD policy and advocacy, both nationally and locally, in order to destigmatize the LD label, properly inform educators, and empower LD students to be proud and confident in their LDs. During her free time, she enjoys reading (especially books about LDs and education), writing, blankets, home renovation shows, and spending time with friends and family.
Jaya Bonner is from Atlanta, Georgia , she was diagnosed with ADHD, an attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, when she was in the sixth grade. Jaya has a Bachelor of Science in sports management degree from Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro, GA. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Sports Management and Policy from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Jaya currently works in intercollegiate higher education assisting college athletes with their studies. During her grade school and collegiate career, Jaya has won multiple awards for her education and for her dedication in the sports field.
Jaya’s interest includes reading her bible, listening to podcast, discovering new places, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and hanging out with her family and friends. She is excited to participate in the council to bring awareness to learning disabilities and the unseen challenges faced when having a learning disability. Jaya’s hopes to help people with learning disabilities from all over, use their disability as their superpower and think of it more as of a blessing than a curse.
Jordan Meachum is a recent graduate from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Finance and Legal Studies & Business Ethics. Being diagnosed with ADHD in the middle of her collegiate career did not sideline her resolve to succeed. Jordan’s leadership skills have flourished earning recognition from the state, national, and international level. This world traveler studied abroad in Japan during her senior semester and was selected to represent the Wharton School of Business in Bangkok, Thailand. When Jordan is not traveling, you’ll find her preparing to be the next Miss USA. With over 10 years of competition experience, this pageant veteran has won several state and national titles. She advocates for students with learning disabilities, encouraging them to not let numbers define them. In her free time, you can find Jordan doing what she loves: watching movies, cooking, and kickboxing!
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t…you’re right.” -Henry Ford
Carly Priest is thrilled to join the third cohort of the Young Adult Leadership Council with NCLD. In 2018, Carly graduated Cum Laude with honors in History from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Carly holds two Bachelor of Arts Degrees: one in History and the other in English. Currently, Carly works for Miami-Dade County Public Schools as a 5th grade English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. As a 2020 Teach For America alum in Miami-Dade, Carly holds a vested interest in improving educational practices and funding for Title I schools, and has a deep respect for the primary and secondary educators of our nation’s public schools. Carly further serves Frederick Douglass Elementary School as the 2019-2021 Union Steward for the United Teachers of Dade County Public Schools, representing her colleagues and working to ensure accurate and meaningful protections ensured by their Civil Rights. As a young adult with a processing disorder and ADHD, Carly continues to work as an advocate for individuals with learning and attention issues inside and outside the classroom. Named the 2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year at Frederick Douglass Elementary and the 2019 honoree of the Eye to Eye Alumn’Eye Hero of the Year Award, Carly prides herself on continuing the fight for all students and educators with disabilities and working with the new cohort of NCLD’s YALC.
A graduate of Austin Community College (ACC) with an Associates in Health Science, a student at Huston-Tillotson Universities Adult Degree Program majoring in Education with a focus in EC-6th grade. Bryan Nya is a leader within the community, defying stereotypical views of what it means to be Black in America. As a black male who grew up impoverished, no male figure, mother worked two jobs, and family living paycheck to paycheck, Bryan is steadily beating the odds. Only through sheer will, he put himself through higher education while working two to three jobs at a time. When he is not in school, studying, or working, he likes to spend his time volunteering and advocating for disadvantaged and underrepresented minorities. He seeks answers to political, educational, social, and economic equality and rights in order to eliminate discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of young adults who are impecunious and underprivileged as he once was.
“I am not anxious to be the loudest voice or the most popular. But I would like to think that at a crucial moment, I was an effective voice of the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless.”
— Whitney Young
Nick Leininger currently resides in Washington DC. Nick graduated from American University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications.
Nick was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder at age 12. In class, due to his hearing disorder, he would often miss out on key verbal instructions. He was always a hard worker but, because of his learning disability, struggled greatly with his academics. Luckily, Nick was able to attend a school that specializes in students with learning disabilities from 7th grade through his senior year of high school. Nick is aware of the advantages being able to attend this type of school provided him and would like to see more academic accommodation systems exist for students with learning disabilities so that they can thrive within the academic setting.
During his days as a college student, Nick had his first poem published in the 2017 edition of Bleakhouse Publishing’s Tacenda magazine, in 2019 he had 3 poems published in Burgeon Magazine. Nick has been working in DC for the past 2 years. Nick also holds a personal training certification. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the various art galleries of DC, engaging in physical activity, and continuing his quest for the perfect cold brew coffee. As a NCLD council member, Nick hopes to draw attention to the challenges facing students with learning disabilities while also being an advocate for students facing those very challenges.