Meet the AUCD and ICI staff coordinating the ADA International Fellowship Program.
Dawn Rudolph, MSEd
Dawn leads AUCD’s Technical Assistance team in providing support to the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) and the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Disabilities (LEND) programs and leveraging the expertise of the UCEDD network to inform national efforts impacting people with disabilities. She provides technical assistance on UCEDD & LEND grant administration, operations, impact, leadership and succession planning, and emerging trends in the disability field.
Early in her career, Dawn supported children, adults, and families in community-based services in roles as direct support professional, early intervention teacher, and family therapist specializing in work with families whose young children were first diagnosed with disabilities. She served the disability community for several years as a community living program director for provider organizations, and administrator of service coordination for the District of Columbia’s Developmental Disabilities Administration. She is well-versed in community-based systems and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, advocacy, and leadership. Dawn brings significant service, training, management, administration, and leadership experience in non-profit and government sectors dedicated to improving a quality of life for people with disabilities.
Dawn holds a BS in Special Education from Gwynedd-Mercy College, and an MSEd in Psychological Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Heike Boeltzig-Brown, PhD
Heike is a Senior Research Associate and Program Developer at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. Heike’s research interests are disability, vocational rehabilitation (VR), employment, and more recently, higher education.
Between May 2012 and December 2015, Heike worked remotely for the ICI from Tokyo, Japan. There she co-facilitated a series of Japanese expert meetings, funded by the Nippon Foundation, aimed at raising public awareness of the rights of people with disabilities to access higher education in Japan. This effort resulted in a three-year project that trains disability and career services personnel from Japanese universities on techniques to better serve students with disabilities at the postsecondary level. Project partners include the American Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and its Japanese affiliate (AHEAD JAPAN).
Heike also directs the Duskin Disability Leadership Program at UMass Boston. This is a five-month intensive disability leadership and advocacy training for Japanese individuals with disabilities, ages 18-35. In 2015 Heike secured funding from the U.S.-Japan Council and Northrup Grumman for a two-year TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Program at UMass Boston, which is modeled after the Duskin Program.
Heike holds a doctorate in public policy from UMass Boston and a master’s degree in applied social research from the University of Stirling, Scotland.
Paula Sotnik, BA
Senior International Disability Adviser
Paula Sotnik is a Project Director at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has developed and directed 16 national and state training and technical assistance projects supporting and empowering individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups, including persons with disabilities. Paula served as co-author and lead trainer on Culture Brokering for the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) at the University at Buffalo – State University of New York (SUNY). She is also a consultant reviewer, interviewer and remote trainer for an international fellowship exchange program and completed a U.S. Department of State project in which she provided training and technical assistance on inclusion with U.S. Embassy staff and NGOs in Nepal. Paula also partnered with NGO staff in Nepal to develop “Six Ramps, Six Months”, a program which mobilized the community to build over 6 ramps that enable access to public facilities in Kathmandu. She has presented for UNESCO on disability inclusion, conducted site visits in India, and led a Train the Trainer Program and disability inclusion training in Mauritius.
Paula also serves as a professional mentor for the Langston University HBCU capacity building project that works with tribal colleges in the United States. She also directs the University of Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative. Paula currently serves as Senior International Disability Adviser for the U.S. State Department ADA International Fellowship Program. She continues to mentor young leaders and focus on technical assistance and capacity building with nonprofits, NGOs, and governments to enhance responsive systems that seamlessly include all aspects of diversity.
Miwa Tanabe, BA
Miwa is a Program Coordinator at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. There she manages and coordinates multiple disability-related programs with a special focus on Japan: the Duskin Disability Leadership Program, the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Program, and the Leadership Institute on Serving Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Japan. In addition to the Japan project, Miwa also coordinates the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI).
Prior to joining the ICI in 2014, Miwa worked as a residential director at a community organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her expertise includes training program implementation and coordination, leadership and advocacy, multicultural issues in disability, and adult transition services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Miwa holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in Asian American Studies from UMass Boston. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education in autism and applied behavioral analysis at Endicott College in Massachusetts.
Siddarth Nagaraj, MALD
Siddarth works at AUCD where he coordinates design and implementation of the ADA International Fellowship Program. He also conducts legislative research and contributes to AUCD’s work for the National Coordinating Center Postsecondary Education Policy Project, which seeks to make information about higher education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities more accessible online. In addition, Siddarth also monitors policy issues related to international disability rights for AUCD.
Siddarth most recently served as the 2015-2016 AUCD Disability Policy Fellow. Prior to joining AUCD, he conducted research as a student into primary healthcare and child nutrition in India and shared the findings of his first study with the Indian government. He also worked for City Year, an Americorps volunteer program that sends youth into underperforming schools to mentor and tutor at-risk students. While serving as a City Year Corps Member, he taught English and Math to children at an elementary school in South Carolina. He has a strong interest in policy issues related to education, healthcare and international equity, especially in developing countries.
Siddarth holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA in Global Studies and Political Science with a minor in Hindi-Urdu from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.