Savannah Treviño-Casias is from Phoenix, AZ, and was diagnosed with dyscalculia, a math learning disability, when she was in the sixth grade. Savannah is a 2015 Anne Ford Scholarship recipient and a blog writer for Understood.org. In 2019, she graduated from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, with a degree in psychology and a minor in family and human development. Savannah will be pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling in the fall to work toward becoming a psychotherapist for young adults and families. Savannah works in the ASU School of Music costume shop where she helps make costumes for operas and musicals. She is a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and is an intern at Florence Crittenton Services of Arizona.
Savannah’s interests include collecting butterfly pins, reading, creative writing, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets. She sees participation in the Council as a vehicle to raise awareness of the often misunderstood challenges faced by individuals with learning disabilities. She hopes to instill confidence in students with learning disabilities and, as an ambassador for the cause, help them understand that they should never underestimate their ability to be successful and accomplish their goals.
Theresa Soares lives in Central California, where she works as the corporate development director at ValleyPBS. Passionate about public media and education, she is devoted to building community partnerships between all sectors that value public media’s mission.
Previously, she held the position of key account executive with the USA Today Network (Gannett Co.) GCI. She excelled in creating new business development opportunities among digital advertising accounts within health care, financial, food/agriculture, and e-commerce industries. In addition to her SMB experience, Theresa also has worked closely with advertising and PR agencies on national branding and earned media campaigns in the tech, education, and grocery sectors.
Theresa graduated from Mills College with a Bachelor of Arts in business, management, and social innovation and a minor in urban education. During her time at Mills, she participated in a public interest radio program in partnership with KALW, and the Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships in Oakland, CA. Recently, Theresa was honored by the California State Legislature and the Tulare County Board of Supervisors for her leadership in expanding access to opportunities for women in technology.
Lauren Smart is working toward a Bachelor of Arts in political science at North Carolina State University. In her studies, Lauren focuses on public policy, civil rights, and American history. She has become deeply involved with educational advocacy and accessibility at local, state, and federal levels. She volunteers as an educational research assistant and policy advocate at the North Carolina Justice Center (NCJC). After college, Lauren plans to attend law school. As an individual with ADHD, she hopes that her work will aid in the destigmatization of learning disabilities and attention disorders. Lauren is excited to further her work in the disability rights movement alongside NCLD. In her free time, she enjoys writing, cooking, hiking, and theater.
Aidan Satterwhite attended Winston Preparatory School from grades 6 through 12 for his generalized anxiety and ADHD. He firmly believes that without specialized help, he would not have found the strength to accomplish what he has in his life and industry. Aidan went to Sacred Heart University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. During his time there, he had the privilege to serve as vice president of both the philosophy club and the rock music club. As an avid and passionate musician, he swears by the therapeutic nature of music and dedicates much of his time to understanding, learning, empathizing, and growing with his musical talents. He currently works in the IT department of The Hartford, and he strives to graduate to a position in cybersecurity.
Mayowa Omokanwaye is a 2017 graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. As an undergraduate, Mayowa worked to find creative and innovative ways to manage her ADHD in such a demanding academic environment. She was able to use her computer science skills to piece together features from a variety of software tools and design systems that best fit her needs in and out of the classroom. Navigating a unique route through academia, she was able to build upon her passions for mathematics and the sciences and contribute to multiple research projects in theoretical physics. Since graduating, Mayowa has been tutoring and teaching high school and college students, using her interests in computer science and programming to design personalized educational tools for her students.
As she prepares to embark on graduate studies in abstract mathematics, Mayowa hopes to expand her analysis skills to design unique computer programs that can make in-depth scientific topics accessible to a wider variety of unique thinkers. She loves problem solving, keeping active, and dancing, and hopes that both her personal experiences and the ever-growing perspective that comes from working with other students will provide valuable input to the Council.
Jessica McLaren earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Marist College and her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. She is active in the ADD and learning disability community. She assists and educates teachers, administrators, and parents about learning disabilities and the different services available. She has presented about self-advocacy and learning disabilities to elementary-age children, college students, and organizations. Jessica has a deep passion for helping, educating, and advocating for individuals with learning disabilities, ADHD, and ADD. In her free time, she enjoys watching sports and being outside.
Will Marsh is a web developer at Saint Joseph’s University. He is an avid and outspoken advocate in the field of dyslexia and has been involved in advocacy activities at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2013, he founded the Spotlight on Dyslexia conference, a half-day conference in New Jersey. The following year, it would be the first online conference on dyslexia in the United States, spearheaded by Learning Ally. In 2015, Will was awarded the Remy Johnston Certificate of Merit by the International Dyslexia Association. He has spoken on his journey with dyslexia in various capacities.
In his spare time, he enjoys kayaking, hiking, traveling, and coffee. He graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 2018, where he studied political science and education.
Gavin Lockard, from Moline, IL, is a student at Black Hawk College. He is passionate about economic justice and people’s rights, including the educational rights of students with disabilities. He participated in the first Students’ Rights Initiative of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and was part of a panel on students’ rights at COPAA’s 20th annual conference. Gavin is a member of several social justice organizations, including Students & Youth for a New America and The Young Turks. He has ADD, nonverbal learning disability, and a processing speed deficit. He is excited to participate in the NCLD Young Adult Leadership Council, especially now, when “the rights of people with disabilities are under attack.
Alyssia Jackson was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate, which was resolved after multiple surgeries. Co-occurring delays in speech and language development necessitated many years of targeted intervention, and in third grade she was also identified as having dyslexia.
Alyssia works in human resources, where her goal is to bring more diversity and inclusion to the workforce. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at NYU. She is also in the process of establishing a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing school supplies to students in the Caribbean. Alyssia is excited to be on the Council and to lend her voice to raise awareness and find solutions for students who need support and resources to excel in school.
Ben Gurewitz is a senior at the University of California–Davis. He has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and slow processing disorder. Ben is currently a policy analyst for Rooster Strategies in California and associate director of the Diverse Learners Coalition. Ben has been an advocate, a policy analyst, a public speaker, and a mentor for people with learning disabilities. He is passionate about policies that can make education more accessible to all learners. He has extensive experience working on campaigns in California, and for political strategists.
Noah Coates is a 22-year-old black man in his final year at Stevenson University in Pikesville, MD, where he is majoring in computer systems information and is working toward multiple computer certifications. He works at Toyota Financial Services as an intern and contractor. As an outspoken advocate for issues relating to ADHD and dyslexia, Noah has worked with Understood and Eye to Eye on several occasions and has been involved with both organizations since he was 12. Noah was featured in Being Understood, a documentary video by Roadtrip Nation, and participated in multiple speaking engagements about his summer on the road with other young adults with learning and attention issues.
Noah aspires to be a computer programmer, working on code projects that either help or entertain people. In his free time, he likes to hike, rock climb, snowboard, build computers, hang out with friends, and play a card game called Magic: The Gathering. He is looking forward to being on the Council and making an impact on people’s lives, helping as many people as possible.
Marcos Allen has completed his sophomore year at Beacon College and will be starting his junior year in September. When he was diagnosed with dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and ADHD in fourth grade, his parents decided to homeschool him so that expectations for learning could remain high and Marcos could tap multiple resources with a flexible curriculum to learn at his own pace. His goals are to earn undergraduate and master’s degrees in art education and to secure a job teaching art. Marcos and his family have been very active in the dyslexia community, where he has had opportunities to share about living with dyslexia as a young person.
Marcos enjoys working out, hiking, and drawing. He’s excited to be a part of the Council and hopes to gain a deeper understanding of disability rights and how best to educate others to become effective self-advocates and spokespersons for individuals with learning and attention issues.