National Coordinating Center Team Members
Meet the Think College National Coordinating Center (NCC) Team!
The NCC is housed at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Our staff, consultants, and partners have years of experience in research, technical assistance, and training, as well as program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Clare Papay, PhD
Senior Research Associate/Project Manager
Knowledge Translation and Dissemination Team
Technical Assistance and Training Team
Maria Paiewonsky, EdD
Technical Assistance Provider
Technical Assistance Consultants
Assistant Professor, Western Carolina University
Kelly directs a successful program for students with ID at Western Carolina University and is a member of the special education faculty there. In her role with the NCC, Kelly provides technical assistance related to program development and operations.
- Email: email@example.com
Senior Program and Policy Specialist
Neil McNeil is a senior program and policy specialist for the ICI. Since 2010, he has provided technical assistance, consultation, and training to state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies in New England and in several states across the country. Prior to joining the ICI, Neil spent his professional career at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission as a VR counselor, supervisor, and administrator.
Brian Freedman, PhD
Unit Director, University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies
Dr. Freedman leads postsecondary transition programs at the UD Center for Disabilities Studies. In his role with the NCC, he provides technical assistance on all aspects of program development.
Executive Director, LeadLearnLive
Ms. Lackey is the Founder and Executive Director of LeadLearnLive and the parent of a student with intellectual/developmental disabilities. She offers technical assistance to families and professionals on grassroots organizing for program development.
Lisa Pluff, MA
Director, Office of Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Education, UNC Greensboro
Lisa’s experience includes over 20 years in postsecondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and non-profit and program management. She serves as the Program Director for UNCG's CTP program.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
External Project Evaluation
Teresa Grossi, PhD
Teresa has extensive background in secondary transition and employment for individuals with disabilities and evaluates the activities of the NCC in her role as external evaluator.
- Email: email@example.com
Think College National Coordinating Center Partners
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Denise Rozell, Senior Policy Strategist
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. Denise Rozell is the Policy Strategist at AUCD, working primarily on post-secondary education, employment and independent living and is the lead staff person for the NCC/AUCD partnership. Denise has twenty-five years of experience in disability policy at the federal and state level. In her role with the NCC, Denise provides technical assistance and support around public policy development in the area of postsecondary education for students with ID.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
Stephan Smith, Executive Director
AHEAD is the leading professional membership association for individuals committed to equity for persons with disabilities in higher education. Stephan Smith, the Executive Director of AHEAD, is the primary contact for the AHEAD/NCC parternship. In addition to serving as the chief staff officer at AHEAD, Stephan has taken on increasingly complex roles in local, state, and national arenas advocating for the total and equitable inclusion of people with disabilities in higher education and the workplace. He also serves on numerous national and international advisory boards and executive councils related to people with disabilities, education, employment, transition, social justice, and civil equity.
- Email: email@example.com