Announcing the NEADS Board of Directors for 2014-2016

(Ottawa, December 5, 2014)

We are pleased to announce the board of directors for 2014-2016 of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS). Applications received over the last several weeks have filled 7 seats on the board. The following directors will serve for two years, commencing immediately:

Emily Duffett, Nova Scotia Director
Nicole Gibson, Newfoundland and Labrador Director
Christine Gothreau, New Brunswick Director
Harmonie Maggie Richard, Prince Edward Island Director
Sarah Jama, Ontario Director
Anuya Pai, Alberta Director
Jewelles Smith, British Columbia Director

About Our Directors:

Emily Duffett: "I am a graduate of Acadia University and currently the chair of the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (NS LEO) and on the board of directors for the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of the province, Community Incorporated. Importantly I have served as the Nova Scotia Director for NEADS for the past 3 years. I am involved in a number of other initiatives that have helped to build my skill set that will allow me to continue to be an asset to NEADS. These experiences have prepared me for another term with NEADS by learning the dynamics of working on various boards, and impressing upon me the importance of working toward full inclusion for persons with disabilities in the post-secondary environment. Through these experiences I have learned grant writing, fundraising, event planning, among many other skills."

Nicole Gibson: “I am a recent graduate from Memorial University with a degree in Police Studies and Sociology. I am currently enrolled working on my honours - in hopes of graduate school Fall 2015. I have extensive volunteer work with young people who face complex needs and disabilities who find the mainstream educational system extremely difficult. These conditions result in a lack of confidence for further engagement in a post secondary environment. Evidently, when some do attempt to attend university or college, the lack of support from the institution and government creates an unfair injustice to the individual and leaves them at a disadvantage. It is an honour to sit amongst some of the finest representatives throughout the country and try to find ways to break down the barriers to education. It goes without saying, I myself have been diagnosed with a disability and throughout my time in university have faced some unique barriers - that I'm grateful were resolved. My goal while sitting on the board would be to help bring awareness to the barriers some young people face while trying to gain a post-econdary education and do something about them! My goal is to work within my university, other institutions and the provinces to create awareness about the issues and ultimately - break down the barriers!!”

Christine Gothreau: "I was raised in a smaller community and now attend a small university, Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. I am a volunteer at the Meighen Centre, which supports disabled students on campus. These experiences have given me a strong sense of the importance of helping others and giving back. I can help people by being a strong advocate for myself and others. I am a motivated person who works hard to reach my goals. When students reach the university level, they should also have professors that understand that all students have different needs and that should be factored into the accommodations."

Harmonie Maggie Richard: "I am currently an Academic Coach and lead Student Mentor for Accessibility Services at the University of Prince Edward Island. I have been working with students that have disabilities since I was in grade 8 and have been inspired to continue my education in this field. I organized the 2014 East Coast Student Leadership Conference this past November, I am also a Campus Life Advisor and involved with a variety of different university societies. I love being involved on campus and in the community while making sure that all students have the same opportunity to learn and grow."

Anuya Pai: "As a PhD student at the University of Calgary, I co-chair the Community Health Sciences Student Executive and also chair a committee to advocate for accessible transport for students with disabilities at the University. I believe that it is crucial for all people with disabilities to have access to high quality educational and employment opportunities, whatever their circumstances. The very existence and reputation of NEADS as a leading disability organization demonstrates that people with disabilities are fully capable of making valuable contributions to their communities and deserve to have their voices heard. I am thrilled to join the Board of Directors and be a part of further expanding NEADS' influence in society."

Jewelles Smith: "I am a mother, artist, and activist. I live in the beautiful city of Revelstoke, BC and commute to a PhD program at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) with Dr. Rachelle Hole. My dissertation is a human rights monitoring project documenting the experiences of disabled mothers in Canada. I am committed to the work of leadership and mentorship and look forward to applying my skills and related experience with the NEADS board in the coming months. I have worked with DAWN (Disabled Women’s Network) Canada and I bring to this to the board table.”

Sarah Jama: “I am a third year Psychology major at McMaster University, and a student with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. I am the Social Science Caucus Leader on the McMaster Students Union (MSU) Student Representative Assembly, and the Abilities Coordinator for the MSU's Diversity Services. I am writing the MSU’s first Accessibility Policy, and am serving a three year term on the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community. As a member of the NEADS board of directors, I will be a vocal advocate for students with disabilities, and will work to eliminate barriers to learning that students may face while obtaining an education.”

We will be recruiting in board positions where we currently have vacancies in the months ahead.

For further information on the new NEADS board of directors and/or the work of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students contact the national office.

Since its founding in 1986, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), has had the mandate to support full access to education and employment for post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities across Canada. Based at Carleton University in Ottawa, NEADS is a consumer-controlled, cross-disability charitable organization (corporation # 107761975RR0001), focused on responding to the educational and employment needs of post-secondary students and recent graduates with disabilities through specific projects, resources, research, publications and partnerships. NEADS is governed by a national Board of Directors representative of all of the provinces and territories.

Our work as an organization focuses on three core Strategic Program areas:
1.    Student debt reduction
2.    Student experience in class and on campus
3.    Student and graduate employment

Frank Smith, National Coordinator
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6
tel. (613) 380-8065 ext. 201  

"Supporting access to post-secondary education and employment for students
with disabilities"