FAER Sharing the Vision Conference 2019 Presenter Biographies
Eileen Bischof, who is certified as both a TVI and an O&M Specialist, has taught as an adjunct professor in both areas at FSU since before earning her doctoral degree in 2008. She currently is responsible for coordinating the O&M program and has spearheaded efforts to get the new online master’s degree approved in record time.
Kathryn Botsford, PhD.: is a COMS and NBPTS Certified TVI. She is the Executive Director of Vision Education Research. In addition to her work as a TVI and COMS she currently teaches FVA and LMA Assessment courses for San Francisco State University and Introduction to O&M for Dominican College in NY. She is president-elect of Oregon AER Chapter and serves on the ACVREP Subject Matter Expert (SME) Committee for O&M.
Anne Corn is Professor Emerita from Vanderbilt University where she held appointments in the Departments of Special Education, and in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. During her retirement, she serves as a volunteer Research Professor for the Department of Ophthalmology at The University of Cincinnati where she primarily works with the affiliated Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Also, she recently completed her term on the Governing Board of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In addition to being the senior author for Finding Wheels, she has had numerous publications in research and in practice. More recently, she has been writing for parents in the publication of the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.
Ben Cutler attended Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan earning degrees in Biology and Psychology. He then went to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan to receive master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. He has been serving at the Vision Education and Rehabilitation Center at Florida State College at Jacksonville since 2015. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bicycle, playing harmonica, and learning to play the guitar.
Samantha Kelly is a CVRT, COMS, and TVI in Broward County. She works for Lighthouse of Broward as the VP of Programs.
Sandy Lewis has coordinated the Visual Disabilities Program at FSU since 1993. Committed to the value of teaching the ECC, she has incorporated strategies for teaching these skills in coursework at FSU and is the co-editor of a book on the topic.
Judy Mathews is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT). She also has a background in music therapy. She is currently the vision Rehabilitation Supervisor at Lighthouse Central Florida, where she has been employed since August of 2003, and has been a supervisor since 2014.
For the last 14 years, Judy has been a member of the consumer advisory group at Dicapta Corp., a company dedicated to providing quality video description and closed captioning. She served on the Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) alumni board for over six years, and started a GDB Florida alumni chapter in 2007. Additionally, she served on the Lynx Transit Advisory Committee for five years. Judy has been instrumental in transportation advocacy efforts in Central Florida, regarding fixed route, para transit, and rideshare services.
Rajiv K. Panikkar
Rajiv K. Panikkar: is certified as a CLVT, COMS and TVI. He has been an AER member since 1990. He is the 2013 recipient of the AZ AER Margaret Bluhm Worker of the Year Award. He is recently the co-author of an article in the November-December 2017 Special Issue on Personnel Preparation and Professional Development of the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness (JVIB). In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife-Kirstin; two sons- Jaron and Devin; and cats- Luna and Gizmo. He also enjoys hiking, golf, tennis and tending to his vegetable and herb garden.
Tanoi Quraishi is a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and Orientation and Mobility Specialist, and the Lead Project Researcher of the Florida Low Vision Initiative. The Florida Low Vision Initiative is a FL-DOE discretionary project, currently in its 23rd year.
Alexis Read is a rehabilitation specialist with the Florida Division of Blind Services. She works with children and their parents advocating for equal participation in education and life. She obtained a Masters degree in vision rehabilitation therapy from Western Michigan University in 2012 and ACVREP certification in 2014. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to classical music, and playing with her guide dog Yankee, or Officer Yankee as he has been called by some of her close friends.
Kim Roberts is a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and the Project Coordinator of the Florida Low Vision Initiative. The Florida Low Vision Initiative is a FL-DOE discretionary project, currently in its 23rd year.
Maria F. Saavedra
Maria F. Saavedra has BS in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Social Work and is also certified as life and Integral Coach, certified in families, marriages and couples, grant writing and non-profit management. She is an experienced Client Services Coordinator for over five years at Lighthouse Central Florida working with individuals who are blind and visually impaired with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit management industry. In her home town Bogotá-Colombia, she worked for more than twelve years with different communities serving individuals with a variety of disabilities, planning several community projects promoting social integration and inclusion to the different social-cultural contexts. Maria F. Saavedra is also a dancer and choreographer for more than 26 years dancing, teaching, and performing using dancing as therapy and a source for creativity and empowerment.
Anna Schirripa is a TVI & Early Intervention Specialist and Jennifer Brooks is Program Manager at the Lighthouse for the Blind & Low Vision in Tampa. In their years of experience, they have had the privilege of walking straight into clients’ homes to build rapport and help bring lessons to reality. Effective communication with families who may be in intense stages of adjustment is vital. Building these connections and trust is an area that Anna and Jennifer have become passionate about.
Marty Schultz founded Blindfold Games – over 80 accessible audio games played by over 25,000 BVI people of all ages. He is the cofounder of ObjectiveEd, which builds Core and ECC Curriculum-based games for pre-K to 12th grade students, used by TVIs, O&Ms and ATs. Marty holds degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and a certificate from Harvard Business School.
Sidnaya Schweitzer is a TVI and OMS for Broward county schools.
Joanne Szabo: is a pediatric clinical specialist in physical therapy. She works full-time at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind and part time in the Arizona state early intervention program. She received a post-graduate certification in School Based Physical Therapy from Drexel University and her doctorate in Physical Therapy from AT Stills University. Joanne has served as a Board Member for AER Arizona. She publishes and presents on topics related to serving children who are deaf, blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities. As a clinician, she was honored by receiving the Knowledge Translation Lectureship Award from the Pediatric Section of the American Physical Therapy Association in 2015.
Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky
Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Ph.D., CRC, CATIS is the Technology Training and Vocational Coordinator for the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches, where she oversees services for a 5-county territory. She has been appointed by the Google Accessibility team as a Chromebook Accessibility Ambassador. Additionally, she is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass). She teaches a course in the Assistive Technology Certificate Program at UIC and she has developed programs through UMass to prepare professionals for the new CATIS credential through ACVREP. Dr. Sessler Trinkowsky holds a B.A. degree in Special Education and a Master of Health Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Florida. She has also earned an Educational Specialist and a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University’s College of Engineering and Computing in Computing Technology in Education. Her dissertation topic focused on accessibility awareness and practices in online learning environments.
Dr. Sessler Trinkowsky has been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) since 1999 and she was the recipient of the Florida Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Florida FAER) award for Outstanding Rehabilitation Professional for the Blind Award (2017). She was honored to be a member of the Subject Matter Expert (SME) Committee for the development of the new and much needed specialization, called Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments (CATIS) through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP). She is the co-Strand Advisor for ATIA for the Vision & Hearing Strand (2019 and 2020).
Jolene Sessler Trinkowsky
Jolene Sessler Trinkowsky has been working for Broward County Public Schools as a highly qualified teacher since 2002. She is currently employed as a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI). Her previous roles through Broward County Public Schools includes working as a media specialist for about 13 years, as well as a Language Arts teacher, Critical Thinking teacher, Intensive Reading instructor, and Personal/Career Development Teacher. Jolene has earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida, and a Master’s in Education: Visual Disabilities from Florida State University.
Susan Yarbrough was recently awarded her PhD and has eagerly joined the FSU Visual Disabilities Program, for which she will teach courses in O&M, reading, and working with children with multiple disabilities. She is been a favorite professor of students in the program and will bring a strong orientation towards working with families to her work at FSU.
Glenn Yeary has an A.S. degree in Human Services from St. Petersburg, College, a BS degree from Florida State University (FSU) in Visual Disabilities, a M.Ed. in Varying Exceptionalities from the University of South Florida (USF), and Orientation and Mobility course work from FSU. He is currently certified in Florida as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired K-12 (TVI) with a Florida Indorsement in Orientation and Mobility (O&M). This is his 32nd year of teaching, 31 of those years has been as a TVI. He has also taught as a TVI in four states, but most of his time has been in the state of Florida.