Second Life Participants


Key Staff

Photo: Steven E. Brown

Principal Investigator, Steven E. Brown, Ph.D., an individual with a disability, is an Associate Professor and Disability Studies Scholar at the Center on Disability Studies (CDS) and co-founder of the Institute on Disability Culture. He has served as Principal Investigator and Project Director on numerous CDS projects. A core faculty member in the graduate, multidisciplinary Disability and Diversity Studies Certificate Program, Dr. Brown has published books including Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame to Disability Pride (2003) and Surprised to be Standing: A Spiritual Journey (2011) and has produced more than 100 articles and monographs addressing disability studies, culture, and rights. He has presented over 150 presentations, workshops, and poster sessions. Dr. Brown has received two U.S. Department of Education Switzer Rehabilitation Research Fellowships and two lifetime achievement awards.

Photo: Megan A. Conway

Co-Principal Investigator, Megan A. Conway, Ph.D. has coordinated several projects at CDS focused on postsecondary education and employment and has published and presented widely in the field. Her additional areas of interest include access to technology, universal design, disability studies in education, and sociological approaches to disability. Dr. Conway is the Principal Investigator and Managing Editor for The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, a peer-reviewed disability studies journal. She teaches online graduate classes in the multidisciplinary Disability and Diversity Studies Certificate Program. In 2004, Dr. Conway received the Young Professional Award from the Association of University Centers on Excellence in Disability (AUCD). Dr. Conway received her doctorate in Special Education from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001.

Photo: Thomas Conway

Project Director and Builder , Thomas Conway, M.B.A. is currently a faculty member and the Media Coordinator for the Center on Disability Studies (CDS) where he oversee the production of accessible media for Federally-funded research grant dissemination. In addition to the application of virtual environments to education and employment, Mr. Conway's interests include using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles for creating accessible media and distance learning courses. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in Educational Technology.

Photo: Madeline L. Harcourt, M.A.

Employment Content Specialist, Madeline L. Harcourt, M.A. is a faculty member at the Center on Disability Studies. Since 2001, Ms. Harcourt has developed direct service projects, supported groups, and participated in community service projects. Ms. Harcourt has extensive experience in project development and mentoring and working with adults with hidden disabilities. She was instrumental in creating the initial hidden disabilities topic area for the annual International Pacific Rim Conference on Disability and Diversity. Ms. Harcourt received the CDS Outstanding Faculty Contributions to People with Disabilities award, and the University of Hawai'i's College of Education Faculty Senate nominated her for a leadership award. Ms. Harcourt is a person with multiple hidden and physical disabilities.

Photo: Marylou Matsuura

Administrative Assistant, Marylou Matsuura, B.B.A., has provided administrative support to projects in the Center on Disability Studies since Fall 2008. Ms. Matsuura has also worked in the health insurance and mortgage industries and is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in marketing. After spending 10 years in the Pacific Northwest, she returned home to the islands to be closer to family and friends.


Photo: Neil Jacobson, M.B.A.

Neil Jacobson, M.B.A. is the founder and CEO of Abilicorp. For the last 35 years, he strongly advocated for the civil rights movement for people with disabilities, focusing on their economic development. In 1975, Mr. Jacobson co-founded the CIL Computer Training Program. This 9-month course trained people with significant disabilities to become computer programmers. In 1978, Mr. Jacobson founded the Association of Rehabilitation Programs in Data Processing. In 2000, he helped create the Neil Jacobson Computer Center in Uganda. He was also the vice-chair of the President's Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities under the Clinton administration. For 29 years, Mr. Jacobson worked at Wells Fargo as a senior vice-president in the information technology division. He continues his work on economic development for people with disabilities as a board member and past chair of the World Institute on Disability.

Photo: Alice Krueger

Alice Krueger, M.S., is the founder and President of Virtual Ability, Inc. After a nearly 40-year career in education that spanned classroom teaching (regular and special education), program management, professional development, and research, Ms. Krueger became fully disabled with multiple sclerosis. To combat the isolation common with persons with significant disabilities, she founded a 501(c)3 whose mission is to bring people with disabilities into online virtual worlds by providing a supporting environment for them to thrive there. The Virtual Ability community in Second Life® has existed for five years, winning the first Linden Prize for "an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world." Virtual Ability collaborates with researchers in disability studies and with projects that enhance the lives of persons with disabilities. In Second Life®, Ms. Krueger is well known as the avatar Gentle Heron.

Photo: Ann Ludwig

Ann Ludwig, B.B.A., is the Vice President of Development for Virtual Ability, Inc. She directed the design and development teams responsible for the multiple innovative builds within the virtual world of Second Life®, including the award-winning Virtual Ability Island and its New Resident Orientation Course. Ms. Ludwig is a leading expert in creating virtual environments for people with disabilities using Universal Design. She works with grants awarded to Virtual Ability, including the Amputee Virtual Environment Support Space. Ms. Ludwig also has worked in the marketing and advertising field.

Advisory Board Members

Photo: Anita S. Aaron

Anita S. Aaron is the executive director of the World Institute on Disability, an international disability policy development and training institute committed to the economic and social inclusion of people with disabilities. Prior to joining WID in 2010, Aaron served for twenty years as CEO of the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco. There, she focused on local, regional and national policy and program concerns impacting individuals who are blind, visually impaired and/or deaf-blind. Aaron began her disability rights leadership career in 1981 as the deputy director of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living.

Photo: Ryan Christman

Ryan Christman, Doctoral Student in Technology, Eastern Michigan University

Photo: John D. Kemp, J.D.

John D. Kemp, J.D. is the President & CEO of the Viscardi Center, a national disability service, education, and advocacy organization. As a person with a disability who uses four prostheses, Mr. Kemp has partnered with or worked for nonprofit and disability organizations. In 1995, with Paul G. Hearne, Mr. Kemp co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2001, Mr. Kemp became a partner in the law firm of Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, P.C., developing an active federal legislative and lobbying practice in Washington, D.C. Kemp has served on the Medicaid Commission and the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities. In March 2006, Mr. Kemp received the Henry B. Betts Award, which was widely regarded as America's highest honor for disability leadership and service. Mr. Kemp graduated from the Washburn University School of Law in 1974 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the same institution in May 2003.

Photo: Katherine Li, Ph.D.

Katherine Li, Ph.D. is an assistant specialist at the Center on Disability Studies, and her research interests include trauma, resilience, and conflict transformation. She has a B.A. degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai'i and an M.A. in International and Comparative Education from Columbia University. For her doctoral dissertation, she investigated the readiness of the University of Hawai'i to address the needs of combat veterans on campus. She speaks several languages and has traveled widely.

Photo: Tammie L. McNaughton

Tammie L. McNaughton, B.S., is the Diversity and Disability Inclusion Consultant at HR Success Strategies. With over three decades of experience in manufacturing, service, and sales organizations, Ms. McNaughton consults organizations about marketing, branding, and inclusive management strategies for diversity and disability. She has chaired and held board-level positions with non-profit organizations and consulted on BLN start-up efforts. She is currently partnering to produce a PBS TV special about Wounded Warriors.

Photo: Adam Tanners, Ph.D

Adam Tanners, Ph.D., received his B.A. from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, M.A. from The University of Iowa, and Ph.D. from the University of Hawai'i at M?noa. His past experience includes working as a counselor at the Student Disability Services office at The University of Iowa and an assistive technology specialist at the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently working as an Instructional Designer and Instructor for the College of Education at the University of Hawai'i at M?noa. His research interests include universal design in education and use of everyday technologies as accommodations to students with disabilities. He can be reached by email at:

Photo: Corinna H. Stiles, B.A.

Corinna H. Stiles, received her B.A. from the University of West Florida and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho College of Law. She is completing her PhD at the University of Idaho through distance learning after moving to Washington DC in January 2012. Ms. Stiles was the Advocacy Director at DisAbility Rights Idaho, the Idaho Protection and Advocacy system (P&A), for twelve years. During this time she specialized in employment issues related to people with disabilities that included navigating the public vocational rehabilitation system, Social Security work incentives planning and assistance, independent living and workplace accommodations. A former U.S. Army helicopter engine mechanic, Ms. Stiles is also active in veteran’s issues related to employment and homelessness. Ms. Stiles is currently employed as a Vocational Rehabilitation Program Specialist in Washington DC at the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration. Additional biographical information may be found at