The STEMM-UP project is a two-state collaborative in which Michigan and Louisiana aim to create and strengthen career pathways for individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority (IWD-REM) communities who are interested in pursuing careers in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine). Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) have teamed up with Michigan State University and Southern University Baton Rouge to implement this project in two phases. In the first phase, a comprehensive needs assessment will examine MRS/LRS policies and procedures, surveys, and focus groups will be conducted to evaluate both tech readiness and MRS/LRS diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices. In the second phase, the findings of the needs assessments will be used to develop and implement virtual, in-person, or hybrid interventions within MRS and LRS, as well as with project stakeholders with the aim of increasing academic and career placements of IWD-REM in the STEMM fields.
Meet the Presenters:
Elizabeth is a Specialist at Michigan Rehabilitation Services for Project STEMM-Up, which is a two-state collaborative project which aims to strengthen career pathways for people with disabilities from racial/ethnic minority and other marginalized communities into the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. She has her BA in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and MA in International Relations and brings to this role personal experience with congenital hearing loss as well as professional experience with grant administration and project management.
Cassondra is currently the Program Coordinator for Project STEMM – Up for Louisiana Rehabilitation Services. Where she works the project team to create career pathways for people with disabilities from racial/ethnic minority and other marginalized communities into the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. She has twenty years of experience working with individuals with disabilities, both within the United States and internationally. She holds a graduate degree in Communicative Disorders and a post-graduate degree in Special Education with an Emphasis on Dual Sensory Impairment. Cassondra began her career working as a Speech Language Pathologist on the Traumatic Brain Injury team at Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital. This experience provided Cassondra the opportunity to be introduced to the field of deafblindness. In 2002, she began her postgraduate training in dual sensory impairment. After receiving her postgraduate degree, Cassondra worked for the Department of Rehabilitation Services as a deafblind specialist, assisting individuals in communication, daily living skills and employment development. During this time, she was named a Helen Keller Fellow and received an award for case of the year from the Southeast Institute on Deafness. After three years as a deafblind specialist, Cassondra became State Coordinator for Deafblind Services for the Department of Rehabilitation. Her four year stint, as state coordinator, lead her to the Louisiana State University Deafblind Project. Cassondra’s position at the Deafblind Project was program coordinator working with individuals birth to twenty one years of age. A transfer lead her to Texas, where she worked for Health and Human Services as a program specialist and program manager for the Blind Children’s Program.