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 Master’s 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.


Tess Miller, M.Ed., CRC

Tess is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The Ohio State University and earned her Masters of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling from Kent State University. Tess is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, with strong interests in student advocacy and helping others. She is dedicated to both supporting students in the process of adapting to the post-secondary setting, and assisting them in working towards their higher education goals.


Ashley Haas, M.A.

Ashley is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She earned a Master of Arts in Psychology from Cleveland State University. Ashley has experience in Special Education, assessments, and counseling. She is an advocate for students with disabilities. Ashley seeks to assist students in self-advocacy skills and towards achieving their full potential.


Heather Rose, M.A.

Heather is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders and her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology, both from the University of Akron.  As a speech-language pathologist, she specialized in working with children and teens with hearing loss.  She has worked in private practice, schools, universities and hospitals.  Heather is excited to use her skills at the adult level, helping college level students fulfill their academic and career aspirations. 


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.


Natalie Bendel

Natalie is the Office Manager for the Office of Accessibility, where she manages the front desk and coordinates testing. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hiram College, and decided to pursue a career in higher education after completing an internship in the field. Natalie is passionate about helping students succeed in their post-secondary goals.


Student Employees


Delaney Monroe 

Delaney is from Macedonia, Ohio and is starting her sophomore year at Akron studying Special Education. In her free time, Delaney is a Special Olympics Coach, Young Life Capernaum Leader and an Emerging Leader Alumni.


Stephanie Noeller 

Stephanie is from Avon Lake, Ohio and studied Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Biology from the College of Wooster. Stephanie is currently a second-year doctoral audiology student through the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium and in her spare time enjoys going to Cleveland sporting events, especially Cleveland Monster’s hockey games.


Nichole Santangelo

Nichole Santangelo is a third year student double-majoring in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and Spanish with certifications in Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions and First Responders and Manual Communication. She is a member of many student organizations including Delta Zeta Sorority, The University Ambassadors, and The Panhellenic Council. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and painting!


Morgan Swinehart

Morgan is a senior majoring in Criminal Intelligence Analysis. She is planning to go to Graduate school for Forensics and is hoping to join the FBI in the future. She is involved with the American Sign Language Association (ASLA) here on campus. Aside from school, Morgan loves traveling and playing tennis.