Check back soon for 2020 speakers.


Accessible Instruction Materials - Virginia (AIM VA)

AIM-VA provides accessible instructional materials to eligible Virginia K-12 students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Accessible instructional materials are alternate print materials, (e.g., braille, electronic files) used by students who are not able to use traditional print formats.


Dr. Ali Andalibi - George mason college of science

Dr. Andalibi is the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Science at George Mason University. Prior to joining GMU, Dr. Andalibi held the position of Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Connecticut and Stony Brook University and served as the Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

 Dr. Andalibi received his PhD from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at UCLA and later joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine in UCLA. Subsequently, he was involved in several early stage biotechnology companies. He then joined the House Ear Institute (HEI) as the Director of New Technology and Project Development and held a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. Dr. Andalibi then served as a Program Director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, where he oversaw the NSF’s medical biotechnology SBIR/STTR grant portfolio and subsequently moved to the National Cancer Institute, where he served as the head of the Therapeutics and Diagnostics Section in the NCI’s SBIR Development Center.


gibby booth

Gibby Booth Jasper is a dyslexic entrepreneur, life coach for neurodiverse children, speaker, author, and host of the Dyslexia Is Our Superpower Podcast. After discovering that her own dyslexia wasn’t a death sentence and actually the exact opposite Gibby began a journey to re-frame the way dyslexia is seen. Her mission is to create a word where no dyslexic thinks they are stupid because their brain works differently.


Alissa Brower-Severini - Lime connect

Lime Connect is a global not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that's rebranding disability through achievement.  Alissa Brower-Severini is responsible for the organization's overall outreach and communication focus, building broad awareness of the Lime Connect brand. In her role, she works closely with university partners, Lime Connect Fellows, campus ambassadors and other constituents and avenues to attract highly accomplished candidates to The Lime Network. Alissa also manages the organization's valuable corporate partner relationships. Prior to joining Lime Connect, Alissa served as a Program Coordinator for Futures and Options, empowering NYC’s underserved youth through career exploration and professional development. She previously held the position of Affiliate Relations Manager at Dress for Success Worldwide, an international organization dedicated to helping women achieve economic independence. Alissa is a graduate of George Mason University, where she received both her B.A. in Government & International Politics and her M.S. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution.


Laahiri Chalasani - SciGirls

The Children's Science Center is Northern Virginia’s first interactive museum where children, families and school groups can explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging hands-on exhibits, activities and programs. Laahiri Chalasani is Program Manager at the Children's Science Center in Fairfax, VA. She has developed her expertise in informal education through growing different programs that support various communities in Northern Virginia. Her coursework at George Mason University fueled her to create inclusive experiential programming for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite programs, Latina SciGirls and Family Science Nights, have enabled her to integrate herself as a community member.


deanna doan - eleccion

In an increasingly complex and fast-paced world, the myth of solitary genius is quickly being debunked.  The secret to future innovation lies in teams.  And the secret to successful teams lies in diversity.  In this session, Deanna Doan, co-founder of Eleccion LLC, will share emerging workforce trends; how leading corporations are embracing ethnic, gender, economic, and neuro diversity to their competitive advantage... and what it all means for our dyslexic learners. 


Dr. James A. (Jim) Egenrieder - Qualcomm Lab

We are engineers, scientists and business strategists. We are from many different countries and speak many different languages. We come from diverse cultures and have unique perspectives. Together, we focus on a single goal—invent mobile technology breakthroughs. Jim has worked in schools for just over 20 years and among the first to formally integrate secondary science and technology courses. He is also among the first educators nationwide to have "STEM" in their title, and regularly participates in international partnerships and research collaborations. He has worked for local, state and federal agencies to coordinate STEM education outreach. He helped to develop the National Institute for Aerospace Center for Integrative STEM Education and has been a regional nonprofit volunteer leader, and is President Emeritus of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

Since 2016 Jim has been Director of the Qualcomm-Virginia Tech Thinkabit Lab in Falls Church, VA. He is also on the faculty of the College of Natural Resources and Environment faculty in the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and a leader in project-based learning driving meaningful, transformative graduate education. Jim is the PI or Co-PI in multiple relevant federal research grants in computer science, data science and engineering education.



Emily Miller is an assistive technology coach. Stemming from her own challenges with dyslexia, Emily has learned to use assistive technology as a life-changing tool. She has presented on a range of assistive technology devices and services at Decoding Dyslexia and Sliding Doors: Science Saturdays. When not helping to build awareness and evangelizing the use of assistive technology for students with learning differences to empower them to reach their full educational potential in her community, Emily is a special education teacher and assistive technology tutor in the summer. Emily is finishing a graduate certificate in assistive technology.


Catherine Read - Read Think Act

Catherine Read has a BA in Government & Politics from George Mason University. She’s a well-known speaker, emcee, moderator and facilitator here in the Washington DC Metro area. She sits on the Boards of Directors for Britepaths and GrandInvolve, and was recently recognized by the Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children (VAAEYC) with their 2019 Media Award. Catherine also hosts two local television shows every week: Inside Scoop and Your Need to Know, which can be viewed at www.ReadThinkAct.com


Mary Stowe

Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed. works with teachers, administrators, instructional coaches, directors and coordinators of Special Education through the Virginia Department of Education and the Training and Technical Assistance Center at William and Mary as an educational specialist and adjunct professor. Mary is certified as a SIM™ Certified Learning Strategy Professional Developer, Certified Local LETRS Trainer, and currently working toward Orton Gillingham Certification at the Associate Level.


Dr. Rachna Varia - Mindwell

MindWell Psychology is a Northern Virginia's premier testing center that specializes in neuropsychological assessment. We have a strong expertise with dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and executive functioning disorders. We have 17 doctoral level psychologists on staff that do both testing and therapy. Rachna Varia co-founded MindWell Psychology in 2004. She received her bachelors degree with highest distinction and highest honors from the University of North Carolina her Master degree in Education from University of Virginia and her doctoral degree (PhD) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. She has been a practicing psychologist for over 20 years. She specializes in neuropsychological testing - particular with the early detection of dyslexia. She prides herself on examining all the nauances and subtleties when examining a child's learning profile. She highlights strengths and determines what may be getting short circuited to inform recommendations for accommodations, remediation, and modifications. She is a past board memory of the DC branch of the International Dyslexia Association.


thomas g. west

Thomas G. West is the author of In the Mind’s Eye — Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies, selected as one of the “best of the best” for the year by the American Library Association (one of only 13 books in their broad psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience category). A second edition was released in 2009 with Foreword by Oliver Sacks, MD, who states: “In the Mind’s Eye brings out the special problems of people with dyslexia, but also their strengths, which are so often overlooked.  Its accent is not so much on pathology as on how much human minds vary. It stands alongside Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind as a testament to the range of human talent and possibility.”


Marilyn Zecher - Multisensory math

The Multisensory Math approach is a union between best practices in teaching students with language based disabilities and best practices in math. It offers a conceptual approach to mathematics instruction aligned with the principles of Structured Literacy Instruction, the NCTM, the CCSS, the What Works Clearinghouse and evidence from neuropsychology. Instructional practices utilize the Concrete-Representational-Abstract instructional sequence with modifications to traditional instruction which support all students but are essential for those with language based deficits.

Adding more speakers all the time. Please check back!