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Elizabeth R. Taets Von Amerongen

Elizabeth R. Taets Von Amerongen

Director

Email: ersierra@syr.edu

Elizabeth R. (Sierra) Taets Von Amerongen (Dr. TVA) was appointed as the director of the Disability Cutural Center in April of 2019. Prior to joining the DCC, Dr. TVA was a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor at Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Canada. She brings extensive experience as a counselor, professor and student advisor throughout her career. In addition to her teaching experience at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, the State of Texas community college system and Binghamton University, Dr. TVA served as director of student support services at SUNY Farmingdale and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

During her time as a graduate student at Syracuse, Dr. TVA was a counselor and personal coach with the SummerStart and SUccess Initiative Learning Communities, a counselor intern at Nottingham High School and a counselor intern at Onondaga Community College’s Educational Opportunity Program and Collegiate Science, Technology and Engineering Program. She also served as an instructor in the Department of Child and Family Studies in the Falk College. She has written chapters on inclusive pedagogies and disability studies in peer-reviewed texts for Syracuse University Press and Palgrave Macmillan. Her current research interests include applications of logotherapy, Integrative Meaning Therapy, and narrative therapy to addictions and mental health, especially as it pertains to intersectional identity development and agency in marginalized populations. 

Dr. TVA earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Midwestern State University in Texas, a master’s degree in counseling at Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in philosophy, interpretation and culture at Binghamton University. She is a national certified counselor, a master practitioner of clinical counseling, a registered professional counsellor with the Canadian Professional Counselling Association and a licensed professional counselor.

She was the first in her family to attend college and grew up working/poverty class. As a disabled Chican@ and former teen parent of very modest means, Dr. TVA brings a deep understanding of the lived experience of disability at the intersection of race, class, gender, and age in the US. As such, Dr. TVA's teaching, scholarship and practice have centered on the empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable populations no matter her role.  


Kate Corbett Pollack

Kate Corbett Pollack

Coordinator

Email: kjpollac@syr.edu

Kate received her M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies from the School of Education at Syracuse University in May of 2017. She received her B.A. in History from Hunter College, where she focused on prehistory through the Middle Ages, and religious studies. Kate also has a degree in Fine Arts from Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York, and has worked as a professional cartoonist for publications in Eugene, Oregon.

Kate has a background in antiques, Historic Preservation, archival and genealogical research, and spent three years researching and writing for a Syracuse-based genealogical association about an 18th-century psychiatrically disabled man and his family. She has written professionally about the history of 17th-19th C. Early American women, religion, epidemic disease, disability and psychiatric history, and social reform, with a focus on institutions and asylums. Her more recent scholarship and activism focuses on disability and crime, particularly in d/Deaf communities, prisons, criminal justice, and civil rights. Kate is active in the local Deaf community in Syracuse, and attends meetings about civil rights and criminal justice issues. 

Kate is originally from Oregon, where she still visits, and has family in Syracuse going back 100 years on the West End. 


Austin McNeill Brown, LMSW

Access Mentoring Program Collegiate Recovery Specialist

Email: abrown48@syr.edu

Austin is a current PhD student in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, as well as a research affiliate in the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion.

Austin is the former Associate Director for Research and Programming at the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta Georgia. Mr. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus in addiction studies from Texas Tech University. He also holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Vermont in Burlington. He has served on the board for the Association for Recovery in Higher Education and is a co-founder of the Recovery Science Research Collaborative. He has numerous journal publications on recovery support systems, recovery theory and collegiate recovery. Austin has worked in CRP management since 2015, first as the program coordinator at the Catamount Recovery Program at UVM, then as the associate director at Kennesaw since 2016. He is also a proud graduate of the Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities at Texas Tech, where he was a collegiate recovery student. Austin identifies as a person living in long-term recovery from substance use disorder since 2010.


Jennith Lucas

Access Mentoring Program Sepcialist

Email: jelucas@syr.edu

Jennith Lucas (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) is a first-year master’s student in marriage and family therapy. They coordinate the Access Mentoring Program at the DCC, a program she worked on proposing while an undergraduate at SU. Their undergraduate degree is in sociology and citizenship and civic engagement, with a minor in disability studies. Their undergraduate work focused on disability community, including an original thesis about unionization in sheltered workshops by blind workers.

Her work in disability community is guided by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s words from their poem “cripstory: 'we are dangerous when we find each other.'" As a multiply disabled queer woman and single parent, she understands the importance of support from each other in surviving and thriving wherever we may be.


Taj Harris

Office and Events Assistant

A data scientist at heart and anthropologist by training, Taj has served as an Americorps volunteer, a National Science Foundation REU fellow and a McNair Scholar to begin exploring how big data can be both informed by and equitable for marginalized identities. She is especially interested in how this awareness can improve cultural heritage policy. Outside of her role at the DCC, Taj likes to spend her free time chatting, meeting new people and procrastinating from homework by cooking elaborate meals.

Paisley Skeith

Office and Events Assistant

Paisley grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she attended Booker T. Washington High School and participated in the International Baccalaureate program. She currently is a junior studying in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs majoring in broadcast and digital journalism and political science. She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and holds positions as the social planning chair and social media chair. Paisley is also a part of NCC News and does web stories and radio reports on local news stories. She has held internships at Riggs Abney Law Firm and a U.S. House of Representatives congressman's office. She is interested in all things news, social media and photography and hopes to one day become a news anchor.


Summer Stubbman

Office and Events Assistant

Summer Stubbmann is a first-year student majoring in communications and rhetorical studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She's served as the vice president for her local Future Business Leaders Of America chapter. As a firm believer in community involvement, Summer spends her free time reaching out to at-risk youth about decision-making and the importance of education. She was also the head counselor at North Shore Holiday House, a camp for disadvantaged girls. Looking towards the future, Summer hopes to become an activist and humanitarian and help those in need.