Staff of the Office of Accessibility


Jessica DeFago, M.A.

Jessica DeFago is the Director of the Office of Accessibility. Jessica's area of specialty is working with students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and students with pervasive developmental disorders. An alumnus of The University of Akron, Jessica has a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration. Jessica is dedicated to helping students learn how to navigate and succeed in higher education through developing study skills and self-advocacy skills. Jessica also works closely with University students, faculty, staff and area high schools through department outreaches and educational opportunities.


Tess Miller, M.Ed., CRC

Tess is the Associate Director of the Office of Accessibility. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The Ohio State University and earned her Masters of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling from Kent State University. Tess is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, with strong interests in student advocacy, disability policy research and writing, and helping others. She is dedicated to both supporting students in the process of adapting to the post-secondary setting, and assisting them in working towards their higher education goals. Her specialty area is working with students with Chronic Health, Medical, and Physical disabilities.


Ashley Haas, M.A.

Ashley is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She earned a Master of Arts in Psychology from Cleveland State University. Ashley has experience in Special Education, assessments, and counseling. She is an advocate for students with disabilities. Ashley seeks to assist students in self-advocacy skills and towards achieving their full potential.


Heather Rose, M.A.

Heather is a Disability Specialist and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders and her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology, both from the University of Akron.  As a speech-language pathologist, she specialized in working with children and teens with hearing loss.  She has worked in private practice, schools, universities and hospitals.  Heather is excited to use her skills at the adult level, helping college level students fulfill their academic and career aspirations. 


Leigh Sveda

Leigh is the Adaptive Technology and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is responsible for the administration and implementation of alternative media for students with disabilities, the supervision of student assistants and administration of STARS. Leigh also oversees the adaptive technology lab housed in the office.


Rachael Kosar

Rachael is the Captioning and Service Coordinator for the Office of Accessibility. She received her degree in Organizational Supervision from the University of Akron. She is responsible for the captioning and transcription of videos for students, along with helping in various areas around the office. Rachael really enjoys helping those around her and seeing them achieve their goals.

 

Natalie Bendel

Natalie is the Office Manager for the Office of Accessibility, where she manages the front desk and coordinates testing. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hiram College, and decided to pursue a career in higher education after completing an internship in the field. Natalie is passionate about helping students succeed in their post-secondary goals.


Student Employees

 

Lauryn Grass

Lauryn is from a small town, Shelby, OH, and is studying Biomedical Engineering here at the University of Akron. She is working towards a career in prosthetics and orthotics. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, spending time with family, and hanging with friends.

 

Claudia Krah 

Claudia is from Medina, Ohio and is currently studying Speech-Language Pathology . She has an Associate's degree in both Science and Arts. In her free time she enjoys doing karaoke, playing with her dog, and going to concerts.

 

Sarah Perkins

Sarah is originally from Vermont and is studying Psychology here at the University of Akron. She is working towards a career in clinical or counseling psychology. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, hiking, and playing with her puppy.