Webinar: Professionals with Disabilities in International Education

4 women, including 2 wheelchair users, sit at a panel table looking and speaking to the audience.
The field of international education offers a world of opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
October 15, 2021

As part of National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM Oct 2021), the NCDE hosted a webinar discussion with three professionals with different disabilities about their experiences working in international education.

Panelists shared experiences with:

  • What is the best way to disclose or not disclose your disability?
  • What kinds of work opportunities are there in international education?
  • How do you negotiate reasonable accommodations?

The recording has captions and ASL interpretation. 


Callie Rouse (she/her)

Callie works in the University of Michigan's largest study abroad office, the Center for Global and Intercultural Study, as the team's Health & Safety Assistant. She works specifically with students on issues around health and safety requirements to study abroad, as well as helping students with allergy, medication, disability, etc. concerns. Callie enjoys learning new recipes to cook, playing with her dog and cat (and preventing them from fighting each other), and hanging out with friends and family. Audience members should feel free to ask about study abroad and thoughts on the changing realm of international education.

Justin Harford (he/him)

Justin is a Program 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. 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. 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.

Nicholas Hoekstra (he/him)

Nicholas Hoekstra (Nick) is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas, where he researches strategies to promote inclusive education in low-resource and low-income environments, as well as student perceptions of inclusion. Previously, Nick worked in international development, including two years in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the Accessible Books Consortium and two years as an advisor on inclusion in Ecuador. Thanks to his work, Nick has had the opportunity to live in five countries outside of the U.S. and collaborate with NGOs serving individuals with disabilities in over 20 countries. For fun, Nick trains Judo and Brazilian Jiujitsu, hobbies that have helped him make friends and build community around the world. Depending on whether you want to ask Nick a serious or interesting question, you may want to ask Nick how having a disability can be an advantage when seeking work abroad, or about his international martial arts wedding.

Nicole Meanor (she/her)

Nicole is a University Relations Manager at ISEP Study Abroad. She works closely with coordinators in her regions to promote mobility, develop new programs, and facilitate strategic initiatives. Nicole holds a B.A. Cum Laude in East Asian Studies from Agnes Scott College and an M.S.Ed. in Intercultural Communication from the University of Pennsylvania. She participated in two study abroad programs in Japan as an undergrad, and then returned there to teach English as a Foreign Language for three years as a member of the JET Program. At any given time, Nicole is usually found with at least one cat on her lap. She enjoys taking time out from the world by cross-stitching, attempting to write, playing video games, and singing her lungs out at karaoke (or in her car). Ask her about living abroad with chronic (mental and physical) illnesses, advocating/standing up/showing up for yourself in a professional setting, and digital tools for staying organized at work.