In 2010, Saint Louis University graduate student Anne Marie Carroll conceived the idea for Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit. The innovative project has evolved each semester as new groups of students enroll in Disability in Higher Education and Society, a course taught by Karen A. Myers, Ph.D.
The Ability Institute houses Allies for Inclusion: the Ability Exhibit, the Ability Ally Initiative international workshop, and the Ability Allies in Action Pre-Kindergarten-Eighth Grade Curriculum.
The Ability Exhibit team is the proud recipient of the ACPA's 2013 Student Involvement Program of the Year and the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ 2012 Ignatian Medal for Outstanding Campus Program. It also received national recognition at the 2011 American College Personnel Association’s College Student Educators International annual convention.
In 2010, while teaching a self-designed graduate course, Disability in Higher Education and Society, at Saint Louis University, Karen A. Myers, Ph.D., recognized the potential a project detailed an interactive exhibit to promote dialogue about disability. She found sponsors to fund and host the initiative, and encouraged a creative team of graduate students to take the project to the next level.
Myers, who is legally blind, has more than 30 years of experience in higher education as a faculty member and administrator and 20 years in disability education and services.
Mary Ann Borgesen is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Higher Education Administration in Saint Louis University’s School of Education. She learned about the Ability Exhibit while enrolled at SLU and joined the Ability Exhibit team through an internship. She continues to provide logistical functions for the exhibit. In addition, she is currently assisting with the creation of a new exhibit to promote international travel of the exhibit and spread the message of disability inclusion.
Stephen Kissel, Ph.D., helps ensure future components of the exhibit and initiative are accessible for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. He also arranged for Lighthouse for the Blind to purchase iPod Shuffles that improve the ease with which a blind or low-vision patron operates the Ability Exhibit’s audio tour.
Christine Luebbert is responsible for the marketing and execution of Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit and the Ability Ally Initiative workshop, marketing for Ability Allies in Action: Pre-Kindergarten-Eighth Grade Curriculum, and expansion of The Ability Institute’s programs into corporate and global markets. She joined The Ability Institute’s team in February 2018 and brings over 20 years of administrative and grantsmanship experience to this role. Luebbert has a Master’s in Health Administration and is completing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.
Dominique Masters is purusing an M.A. in Student Personnel Administration in Saint Louis University's School of Education. Dominique learned about The Ability Institute through a class lead by Karen Myers, Ph.D. Dominique is assisting the Ability Exhibit in making its way to the United Kingdom, from where she originates.
Diane Richter learned about the Ability Exhibit during her doctoral coursework at Saint Louis University and has been an advocate for inclusion throughout her career. She has promoted disability awareness in schools throughout St. Louis City and County. Currently she is coordinating Ability Allies in Action: Pre-Kindergarten-Eighth Curriculum which will allow schools to promote inclusion for all students. Diane is a Ph.D. student in Disability Education.
Mina Sagan is a Ph.D. student in the higher education administration program at Saint Louis University. She has a master’s in curriculum and instruction from SLU and learned about the Ability Exhibit while she was teaching at SLU as an adjunct instructor. Mina joined The Ability Institute team after becoming a Ph.D. student. She assists with the scheduling, arrangements and logistics of the Ability Exhibit SLU Bicentennial Tour in various locations throughout campus and in the community.
Aimee Wehmeier is the president and CEO of Paraquad, a nonprofit based in St. Louis focused on empowering people with disabilities. She has provided feedback based on her experience as a professional in the disability field as Paraquad continues to promote the exhibit in the community, and has developed a partnership program with the Ability Institute: 'AccessibleSTL'.
Created in January 2018, the Advisory Board provides knowledge, expertise, strategic direction, and innovative guidance to The Ability Institute. The Advisory Board’s charge: To assist The Ability Institute in living our mission, expanding our message, and reaching more people - taking The Ability Institute to the next level.
Donna Bess Myers, MA
Assistant Dean of Students, Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University Higher Education Administration Master’s student in student personnel administration; creator of the Karen A. Myers Ability Fellowship
Anastasios (Tassos) Kaburakis, J.D, PhD
Professor, Management: Board Member Emerson Leadership Institute, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business
Development Director, The Oberle Institute, Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Mirtha (Alice) Peralta, MA
President, St. John’s College, Belize
Scott and Diane Southard
Friends of The Ability Institute, Wells Fargo Advisors (Scott), donors, and sponsors of Ability Allies in Action: Pre-Kindergarten-Eighth Grade Curriculum
In Honor, in Gratitude and in Spirit: Ms. Mary Bruemmer
Friend of The Ability Institute, inaugural and ongoing donor