Posted On: March 28, 2022
Amid the pandemic, we are pleased to welcome Julia, Zoe and Elman to the SDI team. These three students at Washington University in St. Louis will learn about our mission, values and programs while gaining first-hand experience working with people with disabilities.
Julia Johnson is from Huntsville, Alabama and will graduate from Wash U this August. She is working with our Youth Programs team, assisting with Dream Big.
Julia is most excited about learning to empower youth with disabilities to achieve their goals and embrace themselves. She chose to intern with us because she’s been interested in working with people with disabilities.
“SDI’s values, mission and programs stuck out to me,” Julia furthers.
As Dream Big Camp Coordinator Danielle Giuffrida says, “Working with Julia has been a pleasure; she is willing to help out and bring her ideas to the table. She is a great asset to the Dream Big Team. She is not afraid to explore all parts of the Dream Big Program and help out with Access U. During her time here, she has organized our Career Club and Peer Events, leading several of those events.
Julia also helps plan for the 2022 Dream Big Career Camp, helping set the camp curriculum, completing outreach to corporate partners and leading virtual conversations,” Danielle infers. “I can’t wait for her to see the Dream Big camp in action.”
Zoe Goff is from St. Louis and will graduate from Wash U’s Brown School of Social Work in 2023. Zoe is a Youth Practicum student who is working with the Youth Programs Team on Access U.
Looking forward to learning to interact with and get to know students in the Youth Program, Zoe grew up relying on resources from the disability offices at their school.
“I am very passionate about equitable opportunities for people with disabilities,” Zoe proclaims.
“Zoe is wonderful to work with,” Katie Fields, SDI’s College Outreach Coordinator says, “especially because they bring a passion for disability justice into all that they do with us. Zoe is so creative, insightful, compassionate and patient,” she adds. “They make such a positive impact on our programming, from their engagement with our candidates, to the planning they conduct for our events and programming, to the wonderful insight and ideas they have about how our Access U can continue to evolve to meet the needs of all disabled students.”
Elman Suleymanov is from Azerbaijan, also graduating from Brown School at Wash U in 2023. He is a Teaching Assistant with the Career Academy team.
El has always been curious about the how-tos of employability for people with a disability. “Through an internship at Starkloff,” he explains, “I get more information on how to establish a relationship with the local companies to secure jobs for people with disabilities and help them improve their skills.” He is excited to learn about increasing employability opportunities for disabled people at both the local and national levels.
El chose to work with us because “SDI has an extensive history of working with companies and helping people with disabilities get jobs through professional training.” He’s sure doing an internship with us will give him a “new angle to create an employability system for people with disability in the area.”
Jason Hartsfield, our Career Advisor & Disability Inclusion Lead Consultant is “very excited to work with El. He is helping us teach candidates Career Advancement skills and working with our Corporate Consulting team developing workshops that will help employers become aware of disability bias in the workplace and how to address it.”