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People of The Ability Institute

In 2010, Saint Louis University graduate student Anne Marie Carroll conceived the idea for Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit while taking the course Disability in Higher Education and Society taught by Karen Myers, Ph.D., now Professor Emerita. The innovative project has evolved each semester as new groups of students enroll in Disability in Higher Education and Society. 

The Ability Institute houses Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit, the Ability Ally Initiative workshop, and the Ability Allies in Action Pre-Kindergarten-Fifth 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.

Ability Exhibit Staff

Mark Pousson, Ph.D., Interim Director

Mark Pousson is responsible for overseeing the operation of Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit and the Ability Ally Initiative workshop, marketing for Ability Allies in Action: Pre-Kindergarten-Fifth Grade Curriculum, and expansion of the Ability Institute’s programs into elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions, corporate and global markets. He has been affiliated with the Ability Institute since 2015 and brings over 20 years of clinical and student affairs experience to this role. Mark is on faculty in the School of Education’s Higher Education Administration program and is the faculty liaison for the Ability Institute. Mark’s terminal degree is a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. 

Diane Richter, Ph.D.

Diane is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Autism Services at Saint Louis University. She has developed the Ability Allies in Action: Pre-Kindergarten-Fifth Grade Curriculum. This curriculum offers learning activities on disability awareness aligned with Missouri Learning Standards.​

Ability Exhibit Intern

  • Meng Zhang

The Ability Institute Advisory Board

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.

Karen A. Myers, Ph.D., Board Director

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 of  a student project that outlined an interactive exhibit designed 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. Though Myers retired in 2019, she remains as the Board Director of the Ability Institute Advisory Board.

Board Members

  • Donna Bess Myers, M.A.
    Assistant Dean of Students, Saint Louis University  

  • Garvaundo Hamilton
    International Engagement Leadership Advisor, Highline College

  • Anastasios (Tassos) Kaburakis, J.D, Ph.D.
    Professor, Management: Board Member Emerson Leadership Institute, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

  • Andrew Oberle
    Development Director, The Oberle Institute, Saint Louis University School of Medicine

  • Mirtha (Alice) Peralta, M.A. 
    President, St. John’s College, Belize  

  • Scott and Diane Southard
    Friends of The Ability Institute, donors and sponsors of Ability Allies in Action: Pre-Kindergarten-Fifth Grade Curriculum

  • In Honor, in Gratitude and in Spirit: Mary Bruemmer
    Friend of The Ability Institute, inaugural and ongoing donor