The National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) is pleased to announce Madelynn Wellons as the inaugural Dinah Cohen DREAM Fellow. Madelynn is a junior at Johns Hopkins University, double-majoring in Sociology and Psychology. Active in campus life, Madelynn is President of Adoremus (an a cappella group), Vice President of Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Junior Class Senator in the Student Government Association, and a member of the Sexual Assault Resource Unit.
As a person living with disabilities, Madelynn is also the proud Co-Founder of Advocates for Disability Awareness, a John Hopkins University student advocacy organization. She coordinated student-led efforts calling on the university to support the rights of students with disabilities as well as including disability as a key part of the diversity programs on campus. Working with the Johns Hopkins administration, Madelynn and her group have generated progress on many of the specific demands.
As the first Dinah Cohen Fellow, Madelynn will serve as the first student representative to NDMC and DREAM while also completing a project she designed on disability disclosure. Of her hopes for the program, Madelynn said:
“I’m very excited about every aspect of the fellowship, but the main part that I’m looking forward to is creating the disability disclosure toolkit. Disability disclosure is a very important component in the life of a person with a disability and it’s a skill that will never stop being relevant. I am hopeful that my work will help mentoring programs – specifically mentees with disabilities – disclose in safe, supportive and appropriate ways. This will help them build confidence and also impact their identity as someone with a disability during the program, and in the life that is ahead of them.”
Her long-term objectives focus on the one third of female college students with a disability who report being sexually assaulted – and an even higher percentage for people with intersecting identities. Madelynn plans to either go on to graduate school for a PhD in Sociology, or work for a disability and/or sexual assault advocacy group.
“Madelynn’s experience, leadership, and passion for mentoring and activism will enhance our mission to improve college life for Deaf and disabled students” commented DREAM Coordinator, Kim Elmore. “The DREAM Board is excited to welcome her as our newest member and the first Dinah Cohen DREAM Fellow!”
Derek Shields, Director of NDMC, noted: “Having Madelynn as the first Dinah Cohen DREAM Fellow has already been a delight. Dinah brought passion to her work and her colleagues in a similar manner that Madelynn does. We are thrilled to have her impact our inclusive mentoring work and look forward to using the disability disclosure toolkit in trainings for mentoring organizations later this year.”
Learn more about the Coalition and the Fellowship Program at www.disabilitymentors.org.
About the Dinah Cohen DREAM Fellowship Program The National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC), in partnership with the student-led organization, Disability Rights, Education, Activism and Mentoring (DREAM) at the National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD), created the Dinah F. B. Cohen DREAM Fellowship Program to provide college students and recent graduates with disabilities with professional skills and leadership opportunities. The program is named after Dinah F. B. Cohen, former NDMC Member and long-time disability rights leader. As the daughter of holocaust survivors living with a disability, Dinah Cohen dedicated her life to networking, mentoring and guiding the careers of others. When speaking at the Pentagon, President George W. Bush called Dinah an “enthusiastic soul” and thanked her for her leadership in making opportunities available to more people with disabilities.
About Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM) DREAM is a national online organization that connects and supports students to become leaders and agents of change on their campuses through programs such as DREAM Chapters and Affiliates, Mentor Monday webinars, and Disabled & Proud student conferences. DREAM members strongly advocate for disability culture, community, and pride as well as the interests of college students with disabilities and strive to develop into an online disability cultural center for students who want to connect with other students and the disability community.
About the National Disability Mentoring Coalition The National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) is a membership organization that raises awareness about the importance and impact of mentoring in the lives of people with disabilities and increases the number and quality of disability mentoring programs around the country. Established in December 2014, NDMC transitioned in March 2018 to become an initiative of Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD).