Meet the AUCD, ICI and HI staff coordinating the Professional Fellows Program for Inclusive Disability Employment.



Sarah DeMaio, MSWPhoto of Sarah DeMaio

Principal Investigator

Sarah is Program Manager on AUCD’s Technical Assistance team in providing support to the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Disabilities (LEND) programs and leveraging the expertise of the AUCD network to inform national efforts impacting people with disabilities.

She brings to this role 14 years of experience working with people with disabilities and their families. Immediately before joining the AUCD team, Sarah served as the Executive Director of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia where she led grant-funded initiatives to develop training materials for family members, service providers, and community groups. She also spearheaded an initiative to offer peer support and leadership development opportunities for autistic adults. Sarah has worked in grassroots advocacy on federal policy at the American Association of People with Disabilities as the moderator for the Justice For All action network. She started her career in special education, working with high school students in Miami, Florida.

Sarah earned an MSW from the National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of American in Washington, DC. During her studies, she conducted research into the effective implementation of person- and family- centered planning as a Ford Fellow. Sarah holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and has an older brother with Down syndrome.

Back to top

Photo of Heike Boeltzig-Brown, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator

Heike Boeltzig-Brown, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

Heike is a Senior Research Associate and Program Developer at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) in the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at UMass Boston. At the ICI, she has directed research activities under several rehabilitation, research, and training centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Before joining the ICI, Heike conducted cross-national comparative research on disability and employment at the University of Stirling in Scotland. She was the lead researcher on German disability and employment policy in a 13-country comparative study funded by the European Commission.

Since May 2012, Heike has been working remotely for the ICI from Tokyo, Japan, where she collaborates with researchers from the National Institute of Vocational Rehabilitation (NIVR) and others on research on public employment service delivery in the US and Japan.

More recently, Heike’s work focuses on disability, higher education, and transition to career and employment. Heike won a grant from the Nippon Foundation for a three-year Leadership Institute on Serving Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Japan that trains disability and career services professionals from Japanese universities at the ICI in Boston on techniques to better support students at the postsecondary level.

Heike serves as the co-principal investigator on the ADA International Fellowship Program that builds the leadership and professional skills of mid-career professionals in inclusive education from Peru, Brazil, Kenya and Tanzania. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) in partnership with the ICI.

Heike also directs several other disability leadership and advocacy programs at the ICI including the Duskin Disability Leadership Program and the Tomodachi Disability Leadership Program.

Heike holds a doctorate in public policy from UMass Boston and a master’s degree in applied social research from the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Back to top

Photo of Miwa Tanabe, BA, Program Director

Miwa Tanabe, BA

Program Coordinator

Miwa is a Program Coordinator at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. There she manages and coordinates multiple disability-related programs with a special focus on Japan: the Duskin Disability Leadership Program, the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Program, and the Leadership Institute on Serving Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Japan. In addition to the Japan project, Miwa also coordinates the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI).

Prior to joining the ICI in 2014, Miwa worked as a residential director at a community organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her expertise includes training program implementation and coordination, leadership and advocacy, multicultural issues in disability, and adult transition services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Miwa holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in Asian American Studies from UMass Boston. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education in autism and applied behavioral analysis at Endicott College in Massachusetts.

Back to top

Photo of Siddarth Nagaraj, MALD, Program CoordinatorSiddarth Nagaraj, MALD

Program Coordinator

Siddarth works at AUCD where he coordinates design and implementation of the ADA and Professional Fellows Program for Inclusive Disability Employment international fellowship programs. He also conducts legislative research and contributes to AUCD’s work for the National Coordinating Center Postsecondary Education Policy Project, which seeks to make information about higher education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities more accessible online. In addition, Siddarth also monitors policy issues related to international disability rights for AUCD.

Siddarth most recently served as the 2015-2016 AUCD Disability Policy Fellow. Prior to joining AUCD, he conducted research into primary healthcare and child nutrition in India and shared the findings of his first study with the Indian government. He also worked for City Year, an Americorps volunteer program that sends youth into underperforming schools to mentor and tutor at-risk students. While serving as a City Year Corps Member, he taught English and Math to children at an elementary school in South Carolina. He has a strong interest in policy issues related to education, healthcare and international equity, especially in developing countries.

Siddarth holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA in Global Studies and Political Science with a minor in Hindi-Urdu from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Back to top

Photo of Margaret NguhiMargaret Nguhi, BA

Head of Programs, Humanity and Inclusion TUSK (Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia & Kenya)

Margaret is the Head of Programs at Humanity and Inclusion’s TUSK program. In her role, she manages overall quality assurance of HI TUSK’s programmes in the region both in development and humanitarian contexts including technical sectors of the programmes interventions (protection, rights advocacy, reproductive health and livelihoods). She also leads HI’s programme design and development strategy in the region, including proposal development and together with the regional program director strategizes on fundraising and donor relations. Currently Margaret is dedicated to leading HI’s drought response intervention that aims at developing programmes in livelihoods to build resilience for vulnerable communities experiencing recurrent natural disasters.

She has a passion for reproductive health especially improving access for marginalized women and women with disabilities. She has over 10 years working experience with international relief organizations both in South Sudan and Kenya. She has extensive experience serving in public health in complex emergencies. During this period, she worked towards improving service delivery for the most vulnerable including persons with disabilities. She has participated in several studies aimed at promoting public health including: Epidemic cholera in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2009: importance of sanitation and soap; Epidemiology of respiratory viral infections in two long-term refugee camps in Kenya, 2007-2010 and a study that brought out specific challenges that women with disabilities face in accessing reproductive health services in Kakuma refugee camps.

Margret was a key note speaker during the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional workshop on improving access to SRH services for young people with disabilities. She spoke on the practices and strategies that HI TUSK employs to improve access to SRH services for persons with disabilities in Kenya.

Margaret is a registered nurse and midwife and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Development Studies from Kimmage Development Studies Centre (MS-TCDC Arusha).

Back to top