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|Damir Fatušić||Media, Pop Culture, Sciences, Medicine, Books, Film, Television, Fiction, Art, Politics, Philosophy, Military, Sports, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Disability, Relationships, Sexuality, Technology||I like to describe myself as a child and geek who likes to learn new things and face new challenges. Born and raised in Zagreb, I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy in my early childhood, and am a very active disability rights advocate in Croatia. I'm a journalist, translator, and columnist for possibly the only European disability news portal, called In Portal. I'm also CEO/President of Croatia's best disabled chess club, Šahovski klub "Stjepan Bosak" — URIHO. Other than that, I'm a co-founder of WordCrypt, where I've been helping with everything — from graphic design and programming, to 3D video production and social media marketing.|
|Wendy Lu||Media, Disability Culture, Disability Rights, Feminism, Race, Disability, Relationships||I'm a digital news reporter and features writer focusing on health, social issues, identity politics (gender, race and disabilities), lifestyle (food, relationships, beauty) and NYC culture.|
|Katie Rose Guest Pryal||Media, Pop Culture, Medicine, Law, Politics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Criticism, Americans with Disabilities Act, Feminism, Disability||Katie is a bestselling novelist, essayist, and attorney in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is the author of fiction, including Entanglement (2015), Chasing Chaos (2016), and Fallout Girl (2018), all from Blue Crow Books. She is also the author of the #1 Amazon bestseller Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (2017) and The Freelance Academic: Transform Your Creative Life and Career (2019). Katie writes regularly for Catapult and Women in Higher Education, and she is the founder and co-editor-in-chief of Disability Acts magazine (disabilityacts.com). She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship, and her law degree from UNC School of Law. After law school, she clerked for a federal judge, practiced law, and earned her doctorate from UNC-Greensboro before joining the faculty at UNC, where she taught for seven years. She now writes full time and raises two incredible children alongside a house full of shelter pets.|
|Sonja Sharp||Media, Pop Culture, Sciences, Medicine, Books, Fiction, Disability Culture, Disability||I'm the Westside reporter for the Los Angeles Times and a former instructor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, though I also write fiction and personal essays. Before I moved to LA in 2019, I worked as an NYPD-credentialed member of the New York City press corps, writing stranger-than-fiction stories of crime and culture for VICE, the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, among others. As a child, I survived a rare autoimmune disease that injured my spinal cord and left me paralyzed from the waist down; longterm sequelae include bone deformities, a grossly impacted gait and neurogenic changes to some internal organs that required surgical intervention and invasive daily procedures to manage. My abled identical twin is also an Ivy League professor who teaches disability literature and medical humanities — we are eager to collaborate on projects about twinship and ableism. I'm a proud #millennialmom.|
|Marie Shanley||Media, Sciences, Books, History, Technology||After being diagnosed about 10 years ago, I have had several suicidal and low -depression moments. When I started to recover I came up with a goal to recover for: to those trying to understand mental illness, I hope I can shed some light. To those suffering, I hope that my resources make them more comfortable with the idea of reaching out to a professional, instead of being stubborn and insisting they are fine. I want the world to learn more about people who suffer from Depression and other mental illnesses and live fine lives in spite of them. I want to end the misconceptions and stigma with information, wits, and stories.|
|Tegan Morris||Media, Pop Culture, Books, Film, Television, Fiction, Politics, Ethics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Education, Food, LGBQT, Disability, Relationships, Sexuality||The main focus of my work is growing understanding and acceptance of difference in our communities and as a person with a disability I particularly try to advocate for greater inclusion and understanding of those people who live with a disability or disabilities. My main approach is to make it easier for those who don't understand to be able to relate through the use of storytelling in various forms. Sometimes I share my own or others' experiences as a way to increase understanding and empathy or to impart a lesson using public speaking, written content such as articles, blog posts or creative writing or via visual media like YouTube videos. I have been a public speaker since I was 10 years old and have been running my own YouTube channel since 2015 and have written a number of articles for various organizations and publications as well as independently publishing my own young adult novel called Not Always Lost. I am now also working as a qualified independent Life Coach.|
|Heather Rivera||Fiction, Art, Education||Dr. Heather Friedman Rivera obtained her Ph.D. in Parapsychic Science in 2011, her Doctorate in Law in 2002 and is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist specializing in Past-life Regression. She trained with Dr. Brian Weiss at The Weiss Institute. Heather is also a retired Registered Nurse with over twenty-five years of experience. She writes fiction, non-fiction, and books for young readers. She is the author of nine books and a contributing author in seven books. Heather served on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies (IARRT) as Co-Director of Research. Heather is an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Interfaith and Holistic Theology and she and PLR institute have provided dissertation mentoring for the students. She is a reviewer/editor for the International Journal of Regression Therapy. Mark Rivera and Heather Rivera founded an organization for advancing past life research, PLR Institute. Her story of healing is in Dr. Brian Weiss’ book Miracles Happen. Dr. Heather is deaf. Being deaf and having cochlear implants has taught her valuable lessons of perseverance and overcoming obstacles. Heather hosts past life retreats and writing retreats. She has numerous speaking events throughout the year and has been featured in print, radio and web television. Heather received her Creative Writing Specialization certificate from Wesleyan University. Dr. Heather has a Life Coaching certificate and offers coaching in the following areas: book coaching, preparing a non-fiction book proposal, workshop presenting, and dissertation/study preparation in complementary/alternative medicine and related fields. She is a GIA pearls graduate and enjoys making pearl and shell jewelry at her home in Hawaii.|
|Vanessa Halocha||Music, Disability||I originally trained as a musician, with a Music in Music, an MA in Music and Qualified Teacher Status. Following a diagnosis of Dystonia I was given an ill health retirement from teaching. I continue to teach piano to private pupils but have also retrained as a proofreader. I have written piano teaching books and there are more on the way.|
|Tylia L. Flores||Pop Culture, Books, Television, Fiction, Music, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Education, Disability, Relationships, Sexuality, Technology||Tylia Flores is a 23-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world. In doing so, she hopes to help others with disabilities realize that they, too, have the potential to make their dreams come true.|
|Lisa A. Goldstein||Media, Pop Culture, Books, Film, Television, Fiction, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Americans with Disabilities Act, LGBQT, Disability, Technology||Lisa A. Goldstein was born profoundly deaf and raised to lipread and speak. She has a BA in English Literature from Skidmore College and a Masters of Journalism from UC Berkeley. She is currently a freelance journalist whose work has been published on Backchannel, Mashable, Romper, WomensHealth, and more.|