Young Adults shaping the Disability Social Justice Movement

Alyssia Jackson, Erin Mayo, Julia Nessman & Savannah Trevino-Casias

(Sponsored by the UMD President’s Commission on Disability Issues)

2021 Disability Summit
April 14, 2021 – 10:45 AM-11:15 AM


Young Adults are at the integral part of the disability social justice movement and are fighting for equity. We are the first generation that has had the experience of having ADA our entire lives. As four current/past members of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), we will share our experiences through advocating for IDEA waivers to not be allowed through the #MyIDEAMatters Campaign. In addition, we will discuss ways that you can support your employees who disclose in the workplace as we will share our experiences from disclosing and developing ERGS. We will also address pressing policy issues impacting LAI communities today including the perpetuation of racial inequities in school and classroom practices as well as the unique challenges that neurodivergent students are facing during COVID-19. Together, we will continue to push forward former Senator Harkin’s mission and remind young people “the doors are open, the barriers are down and now you have to go for your dreams, fight for them like anybody else, don’t take no for an answer and don’t take a back seat.”

Presentation (.PPT)


Alyssia Jackson (she/her)

Twitter: @alyssiajay
Instagram: @alyssiajay

Alyssia Jackson currently works as a People Analytics Specialist within Human Resource at a small startup. Alyssia helps managers and executives make decisions about their employees/ workforce. Alyssia received her Bachelors from SUNY New Paltz in Business Management and is currently working on her Master’s at NYU in Human Capital Analytics and Technology. Alyssia identifies as a triple threat, a “Black, Women, with a Learning Disability.” Because of her unique experiences, she served as a Young Adult Leadership Council member through the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Alyssia is also the founder of MyAbilityLens, an organization dedicated to creating safe spaces, amplifying underrepresented groups’ voices within the disability community, and bridge the equity and resource gap.

Erin Mayo (she/her)


Erin Mayo is a higher education professional who currently works at Penn State University – University Park. Erin received her undergraduate degree from Salem State University in Massachusetts and her master’s degree from George Washington University in Higher Education Administration focusing on policy and finance. Erin identifies as an individual with a NonVerbal Learning Disability (NVLD) and is a part of the Young Adult Leadership Council through the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Erin is currently the co-chair for social media for the Coalition on Disability through the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Erin enjoys implementing universal design in a higher education setting while helping students find their sense of belonging at an institution.

Julia Nessman (she/her)


Julia Nessman is currently working remotely in Washington D.C. as a Community Manager and Young Adult Leadership Council member through the National Center for Learning Disabilities. She received her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College in May 2020 where she majored in anthropology and minored in biology. Julia identifies as an individual with a learning disability due to her unique sensory challenges, which has inspired her involvement in disability advocacy efforts since college. At Bryn Mawr, she was president of her campus disability affinity group and conducted her senior thesis on how federal disability and education policies impact the transition to college for students with disabilities. Julia hopes to pursue a career in disability and education advocacy.

Savannah Trevino-Casias (she/her)


Savannah is currently working as a Content Developer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities. She is also in her second year of a Master’s of Counseling program at Arizona State University. She has her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Family and Human Development from the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. Savannah has dyscalculia, a math-based learning disability which inspired her research and advocacy work within the learning disability community. Savannah had been a member of the National Center for Learning Disabilities Young Adult Leadership Council and is also currently a consultant and content creator for the Understood organization. Savannah intends to remain working within the learning disability community as a mental health clinician specializing in the treatment and support of those with learning and attention issues.