CSA STAFF STORIES
Hi. I'm Andrew. I have CP and worked as a Program Coordinator for the Center for Self Advocacy since 2016. I grew up in Alabama where most of my family still lives. In 2005, I finished a Master's Degree in American Studies at University of Alabama and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I completed a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of New Mexico in 2014. In 2012, I received a fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution and went to Washington, D.C. to complete my dissertation research on the history of disability in the United States. I came to Buffalo in 2015 to work as a researcher at the Center for Disability Studies at the University of Buffalo. In addition to working at the Center, I also teach disability history courses online for the City University of New York and work as a project assistant for the First Responders Disability Awareness Training Program at Niagara University. When I am not working, I like cooking, gardening, spending time with my cats, and advocating with my friends for a more accessible community!
Hello, my name is Lemseh Carothers-Abdullah and I am a Peer Mentor at Center for Self Advocacy. I want to share with you that I have a learning disability. With this disability, it has not stopped me from achieving my goals. During the IEP meeting, it was hard for me to speak up for myself in order for me to graduate from high school. In 9th grade I was placed in all mainstream classes and I was having difficulty with the classes that I was in. The administrators did not want to listen to me at all. My grandmother supported my right to get accommodations for my education for getting extra time to take tests. She made phone calls and assisted me to to get accommodation letters and have them signed by teachers and counselors. The tools that I needed to take the test by someone reading the questions out loud and rephrase the questions. I have a bachelor's degree in Natural Science and Art. I am also a self-taught graphic designer for over three years. I have a passion for exploring color schemes to communicate visually. I would like to continue pursuing being an artist. As a Peer Mentor at Center for Self Advocacy has helped me applied my skills to art by drawing out landmarks for a mentee to have a better understanding of how to use public transportation and contributing to their independence to live a productive life. I want to help others to not be afraid of expressing themselves and to believe in themselves more.
Hi. my name is Paul Barczak. I have an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts from Erie Community College. I also attended Daemen College for Elementary Education.
As someone who has Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD, I chose to work in this field in order to help individuals with disabilities.
My employment experience at Center for Self Advocacy includes being a Transportation Mentor and a Peer Facilitator. My goal is to continue to grow in this field. As this is my vocational passion, I want to help others with disabilities, like myself, become more independent, and reach their own goals. What satisfaction it is to see people with disabilities succeed and learn to advocate for themselves.