Staff of the Office of Accessibility


Jessica DeFago, M.A.

Jessica DeFago is the Director of the Office of Accessibility. Jessica's area of specialty is working with students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and students with pervasive developmental disorders. 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 the Associate Director of 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, disability policy research and writing, 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. Her specialty area is working with students with Chronic Health, Medical, and Physical disabilities.


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. 


Shawn Bixler, M.Ed.

Shawn Bixler is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in both Education and Psychology, and her Master of Arts in Counseling from Malone University. She holds a state of Ohio teaching license as well as a reading endorsement and has taught in both K-12 and higher education.  In addition, she worked in the field of vocational rehabilitation for the Veteran’s Administration as well as in private practice.  Shawn looks forward to supporting and guiding students to success in their higher education career.

 

Natalie Martin

Natalie is the Office of Accessibility’s Coordinator of Accessibility Services. She coordinates several accommodations and works with students experiencing temporary medical conditions. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hiram College, and is working toward continued education in the field of accessibility services. Natalie is passionate about helping students succeed in their post-secondary goals.  

 

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 implementation of alternative media for students with disabilities and the administration and operation of STARS. Leigh also oversees the adaptive technology lab housed in the office. 

 

Rachael Kosar

Rachael is the Captioning and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She received her degree in Organizational Supervision from the University of Akron. She is responsible for the captioning and transcription of videos for students, along with helping in various areas around the office. Rachael really enjoys helping those around her and seeing them achieve their goals.

 

Student Employees

 

Kayla Brewer

Kayla was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. She is majoring in Child and Family Development with a certificate in American Sign Language. She is working towards a career in the medical field, and her end goal is to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Kayla is also a licensed pharmacy technician. In her free time, she enjoys hanging with friends and family, makeup, and baking!

Lauren Cummons

Lauren grew up on a large farm in Central Ohio. She is studying Biology here at The University of Akron and is pursuing a career in Genetic Counseling. In her free time, she typically reads, crochets, and spends time with her cat.

Hannah Kovalik

Hannah is studying Exercise Science and Psychology here at The University of Akron. She aspires to become an Occupational Therapist working in the pediatric disability field. Hannah is a big animal lover - mostly dogs, horses, and fish! In her free time, you will find her hanging out with her dog, playing music on her acoustic guitar, or working out.

Sarah Perkins

Sarah is originally from Vermont and is studying Psychology here at The University of Akron. She is working towards a career in clinical or counseling psychology. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing with her puppy.