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

Sarah DeMaio, MSWPhoto of Sarah DeMaio
Target Text

Principal Investigator

Sarah is Program Manager on AUCD’s Technical Assistance team 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.


Heike Boeltzig-BrownHeike Boeltzig-Brown, PhD
Target Text

Co-Principal Investigator

Heike is a senior research associate and program developer at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), a center based at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Heike’s research interests are disability, vocational rehabilitation (VR), employment, and higher education. At ICI, she has directed research activities under several VR research and training centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Before joining ICI, Heike conducted cross-national research on disability, the public employment service system, and employment policy at the University of Stirling in Scotland. She was the lead researcher on German disability and employment policy in a 15-country study funded by the European Commission.

Since May 2012, Heike has been working for ICI from Tokyo. There she directs the Leadership Institute on Serving College Students with Disabilities in Japan. Funded by the Nippon Foundation, the Leadership Institute brings disability and career services professionals from Japanese universities to Boston for training on ways to serve students with disabilities.

Heike also directed the Duskin Disability Leadership Program at UMass Boston. Established in 2014, the program funded Japanese individuals with disabilities, ages 18–35, to participate in a five-month Boston-based leadership and advocacy training. The program was sponsored by the Duskin Ainowa Foundation. In 2015, Heike secured funding from the U.S.-Japan Council and Northrop Grumman for the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Program, which is modeled after the Duskin Program.

In 2018, Heike secured funding from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo to establish the U.S.–Japan Collaboration on Disability and Self-Advocacy in Higher Education, partnering with the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and its Japanese affiliate, AHEAD Japan. The project is implementing two U.S.–Japan panel events in Tokyo, and is collecting 20 digital stories from Japanese college students about their disability and self-advocacy experiences, highlighting the unique role that Japanese culture plays in this context.

In addition to the Japan-focused programming, Heike has co-directed two U.S. Department of State-funded programs: the ADA International Fellowship Program, which ran from 2016 to 2018, and the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment (PFP-IDE), which is ongoing. responsible for all performance monitoring and evaluation, as well as reporting to the funder.

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.


Photo of Miwa Tanabe, MEd, ICI Boston

Miwa Tanabe, MEd
Target Text

Program Coordinator

Miwa is a Program Coordinator II at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston.

There, she manages and coordinates several disability-related programs with a special focus on Japan. This includes the Duskin Disability Leadership Program at UMass Boston sponsored by the Duskin Ainowa Foundation, the Tomodachi Disability Leadership Program at UMass Boston sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council and Northrup Grumman, and the Leadership Institute on Serving Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Japan sponsored by the Nippon Foundation.

In addition to the Japan projects, Miwa also has helped coordinate the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiatives (MAICEI). The MAICEI program supports colleges in Massachusetts to include students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Prior to the ICI in 2014, Miwa worked as a residential director at a nonprofit organization, serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this role, she managed crisis situations, supervised and trained staff members and managers, and implemented policy and procedures to create an inclusive community to maximize individuals’ strengths and abilities. Her expertise includes training program implementation and coordination, leadership and advocacy, and multicultural issues in disability.

Miwa holds a master of education in autism and applied behavior analysis from Endicott College in Massachusetts, and bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration with Asian American Studies from UMass Boston. Miwa is bilingual in Japanese and English, and hails from Chiba, Japan.


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

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.


Photo of Sarah Wang'ombeSarah Wang’ombe
Target Text

Program Coordinator

Sarah has five years’ experience in development and humanitarian work in the nonprofit sector. She serves as project lead for the professional fellows program on inclusive disability employment at Humanity and Inclusion (HI) and as a life skills training coordinator with Kakenya’s Mentorship Program under Kakenya’s Dream Organization.

Previously, Sarah served as project assistant in HI’s humanitarian work in Dadaab Refugee Camps, where she focused on disability mainstreaming through livelihood interventions including providing adaptive technology, facilitating formulation of village savings and loans associations, business management training and provision of personalized social support. She also served as project assistant in a Maternal Neonatal Health program, focusing on assisting women in establishing income generating activities to improve child nutrition, promote growth and development hence reducing disabilities.

Before joining HI, she coordinated a mentorship program with Global Give Back Circle in Kenya and South Africa and played a key role in fundraising as well as representing the organization in key global events e.g. the 2016 Gender 360 Summit in Washington DC.  She also led field implementation of a young women empowerment program through ICT, tertiary education and life skills, targeting girls at risk of early marriage and female genital mutilation in West Pokot Kenya.

Sarah earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Planning and Management at Kenyatta University and a certificate in humanitarian operations from Oxford Brookes University and Save the Children.