Staff of the Office of Accessibility

Kathleen (Kelly) Kulick, M.Ed.,CRC

Kathleen (Kelly) Kulick is the Director for the Office of Accessibility. Kelly has 17 years of experience working with students with disabilities in higher education.  Fifteen years were spent at the Stark Campus of Kent State University where Kelly served as their Disability Coordinator.

Kelly previously served as the Director of the T.H.E.M.E. (Transitioning to Higher Education: Mentoring to Employment) Project at Stark State College.  The mission of THEME was to augment services supplied by Stark State’s Disability Support Services Office to at- risk students with disabilities.  During the two years as Director, the THEME Office had an 86% retention rate with students accessing services through THEME.

Kelly earned both her Undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Kent State University and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.  Kelly has worked extensively with the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation in Akron as well as other community agencies that work with individuals with disabilities. Kelly enjoys being part of The University of Akron family. 

Jessica DeFago, M.A.

Jessica is the Associate Director whose area of specialty is working with students with learning disabilities and ADHD. An alumnus of The University of Akron, Jessica has a Masters Degree in Higher Education Administration. Jessica is dedicated to helping students learn how to navigate and succeed in higher education through developing study skills and self-advocacy skills. Jessica also works closely with University students, faculty, staff and area high schools through department outreaches and educational opportunities.

Ashley Poulos, M.Ed.

Ashley is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility.   She works primarily with students who have physical disabilities, visual impairments, and chronic health disabilities, and also participates in campus outreach programs to help educate University students, faculty and staff about the office.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Kent State University and received her Masters of Education in Community Agency Counseling from Cleveland State University.

Latesha Bigford, M.A., CRC

Latesha is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility.  She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), specializing in serving individuals with disabilities in higher education settings.  Latesha holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Wayne State University.

Melissa Simmons, M.Ed.

Melissa received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Kent State University and a Masters of Education degree in School Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. Melissa has 4 years of experience working with students with disabilities and feels passionate and dedicated to partner with students in helping them reach academic success.

Leigh Sveda

Leigh is the Adaptive Technology and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is responsible for the administration and implementation of alternative media for students with disabilities, the supervision of student assistants and administration of STARS. Leigh also oversees the adaptive technology lab housed in the office.

Kaitlyn (Kait) Jackson

Kait is the Graduate Assistant at The Office of Accessibility. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Community Programs for Americans with Disabilities from Slippery Rock University. Kait is currently a graduate student at The University of Akron in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She has 5 years of experience working with adults and children with disabilities in educational and community settings. She works as an advocate for students with disabilities as they pursue their academic goals in higher education.

Virginia Donnelly

Virginia has twenty-five years of experience working at The University of Akron with a diverse range of students, faculty and staff including service as: Clerical Specialist in the Academic Advisement Center; Coordinator of Degree Completion in the Graduate School; Office Manager in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; and Office Manager in the Career Center. She joined the Office of Accessibility in 2010 and serves as Office Manager, responsible for the operational and physical needs of the office including coordinating services, scheduling and record keeping.