We are incredibly proud of the team of experts with and without disabilities that make MIUSA a powerful organization and an invigorating place to work.
As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange and leadership programs for persons with disabilities. Susan, a wheelchair rider, has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women's issues for more than 30 years. She has co-authored numerous publications in the area of international exchange and international development opportunities for persons with disabilities and co-produced several award winning videos. Susan has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange and disability rights.
Susan has received numerous awards for her passionate advocacy for disability rights. In 2013, she became an Ashoka Senior Fellow and received recognition of her work in 2011 by being awarded the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Matusak Courageous Leadership Award and receiving an honorary doctorate from Chapman University. In 2000, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. In 1995, Sygall received the President's Award from President Bill Clinton for her dynamic leadership in international exchange programs for people with disabilities, for her mentorship of young people with disabilities, and for her active role throughout our country and the world in empowering people with disabilities. Sygall has also been honored with the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award, the Humanitarian Award from the Jewish Federation, and a Women to Watch Award from the Jewish Woman Magazine. She was also awarded a Graduate Rotary Scholarship and the Kellogg National Fellowship, which is awarded to approximately 40 outstanding leaders each year in the United States. Email Susan
Cindy is the Director of Programs at Mobility International USA and a senior staff with more than 20 years of experience at MIUSA. She is the co‑author and producer of numerous books and videos. Cindy spearheaded the International Symposium on Women with Disabilities at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, and co-created MIUSA's signature program, the Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD). She brings expertise in project management, writing, and international development; and is widely recognized as an expert on gender, development, and disability inclusion. Cindy holds a master’s degree and is conversational in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). She lives in Oakland, California. Email Cindy
Susan is a Program Manager for Mobility International USA's exchange and development programs. She has conducted international training and technical assistance in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and has authored several articles on topics such as women with disabilities and leadership, inclusive international development, and inclusive emergency response. She regularly co-teaches the University of Oregon course, Global Perspectives on Disability. She also coordinates MIUSA's Gender, Disability and Development Institute, which brings together senior level representatives from humanitarian/development agencies and women with disabilities from throughout the world. Susan currently serves as President of the Zonta Club of Eugene, an international service organization dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide. She holds an M.A. in International Development from the University of Oregon, with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Email Susan
Monica Malhotra is a Project Manager with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA, which aims to increase participation of people with disabilities in inclusive international exchange programs. Previously, Monica worked for 10 years at The University of Texas at Austin, where she assisted with admission, immigration, student counseling, and sponsored student programs as the Senior International Student Coordinator for ESL Services and as International Student Advisor at the International Office. Her past experience includes serving four years on the board for the Multicultural Refugee Coalition and interning with the EastWest institute in New York. Monica earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington and her Masters degree in International Studies from the University of Exeter, UK. Email Monica
Lydia is Project Manager for MIUSA's RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project, working with a U.S. consortium of partners and stakeholders in Armenia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of disability rights legislation and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Lydia is an expert in cross-disability inclusion and has managed U.S. Department of State-sponsored exchange programs for professionals, youth, and women with disabilities, and led delegations on outbound programs to Bahrain, Costa Rica, Jordan, and Spain. From 2006 - 2013 she also organized MIUSA's signature international Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) programs, which brought together grassroots women leaders with disabilities from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. Lydia has an International Studies: Comparative Community Development degree from the University of Oregon. Born in the U.S., she grew up in Rotorua, New Zealand and studied in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Email Lydia
Susie Grimes is a Project Specialist for MIUSA’s RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project, and the Advancing Disability Rights-Based Legislation in Armenia project. For over 22 years, Susie has worked in the fields of international development, international disability rights and international cultural exchange. She has worked closely with numerous disabled people’s organizations around the world, including cross-disability groups and women with disabilities. Susie has led training and technical assistance teams to countries such as Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia and Ethiopia, and has worked on U.S. Department of State and USAID funded projects on the inclusion of people with disabilities in international development programs across sectors such as political advocacy, gender based violence, health, livelihood and economic empowerment, HIV/AIDS, sports and recreation and inclusive education. Her 2011 graduate field research on the intersection of HIV/AIDS and women with disabilities in Zimbabwe was funded by grants from the University of Oregon’s International Studies Department, the Oregon University System Graduate Fellowship and the Center for the Study of Women in Society. Susie is a Paralympic Gold and Silver medalist wheelchair basketball player and was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Oregon Disabled Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Ashley serves as the Executive Specialist to the CEO and is a Project Specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she works with MIUSA's CEO to carry out special projects and also develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange. As a Rotary Group Study Exchange participant, Ashley visited disability organizations and alumni in Malaysia to learn about the country’s disability rights issues and movements. Ashley graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in International Studies and Economics with a focus in International Comparative Development and Africa, which led her to intern with a non-profit organization in Dakar, Senegal. Email Ashley
Michele is a Project Specialist for the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and has been at Mobility International USA since 1998. She initiates and leads projects involving development and management of the website, database, communications, initatives, and research. She has written and edited many publications and resources, provided technical assistance and advising to people with disabilities and international education professionals, and facilitated and presented at many national level conferences and meetings. Michele completed her M.A. in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota, where she did research on students with disabilities in education abroad. She has studied abroad with the School for International Training and volunteered as a teacher for Deaf children in Kenya. She has also visited with disability organizations in Northeast Thailand on a Rotary scholarship, and presented at conferences and traveled throughout Europe. Email Michele
Debbie is a Project Specialist for MIUSA’s RightsNow! Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project. She worked on MIUSA’s Building an Inclusive Development Community project in 2010/2011 and MIUSA’s Including Children and Youth with Disabilities in Africa project in 2012. As part of these initiatives, Debbie led training and evaluation teams to Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Uganda, and Zambia, engaging with local Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs), international development agencies, community stakeholders, and USAID Missions. Debbie previously worked for United Way and holds Master’s degrees in International Relations and International Studies as well as a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has lived and worked in the non-profit and education fields in South Africa, Japan, the U.S., and Canada. Email Debbie.
Program and Project Coordinators
Justin is a Project Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange by providing information and resources to both individuals with disabilities and international professionals. He is the host of NCDE’s podcast, Ripple Effects: Travelers with Disabilities Abroad. Previously, Justin worked for two years in disability community organizing and policy in the foothills of Northern California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Latin American History and Spanish Literature from University of California, Berkeley. During his studies, he studied abroad at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago Chile, where he researched and wrote a thesis on the history of the blind in Chilean society. In 2008, he spent 10 weeks immersing himself in the culture and language of Michoacan, Mexico. Email Justin
MIUSA is also supported by additional administrative and program staff, consultants, and interns.