NFB EQ is developed and facilitated by an interdisciplinary team of professionals from three organizations: the National Federation of the Blind, Utah State University, and the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Team members have expertise in numerous applicable fields including blindness, K-12 education, special education, informal education, engineering, STEM, engineering education, art, and research.
In addition to the individuals below, blind adult mentors work with NFB EQ participants. These mentors travel from all over the country to share their unique skills and life experiences. The mentoring relationships that develop at NFB EQ are frequently maintained for years after the program.
Anil Lewis currently serves as the executive director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and the principal investigator for the National Federation of the Blind’s Spatial Ability and Blind Engineering Research Project. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1964, he became blind from retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal degenerative eye disease, in 1989. He subsequently earned his bachelors of business administration in computer information systems at Georgia State University (GSU), and earned his master’s degree in public administration with emphasis in policy analysis and program evaluation from GSU in 2003. Mr. Lewis was employed at a local community rehabilitation center as a Braille and assistive technology instructor, and within a year he was given the greater responsibility of job development/placement specialist, helping clients develop employment skills and get jobs. Mr. Lewis went on to develop and manage a job placement program for people with disabilities as the manager of the Disability Employment Initiative with Randstad Staffing, one of the largest employment staffing companies in the world, during the Atlanta Olympic and Para-Olympic Games in 1996. From then until early 2006 he was employed by the law offices of Martin and Jones as the Georgia Client Assistance Program (CAP) counselor/advocate, representing people with disabilities every day.
Dr. Wade Goodridge is an assistant professor in engineering education at Utah State University and is the principal researcher for the National Federation of the Blind’s Spatial Ability and Blind Engineering Research Project. Wade has 20 years of teaching experience spanning almost all education levels. Wade began teaching technology education at junior and senior high schools in the state of Utah where he received a license for secondary education from the Utah State Board of Education. After a few years of coaching students towards STEM fields, he returned to college to continue his education as a civil engineer. Wade has a BS in civil engineering and an MS and PhD. in hydraulics and fluid mechanics. Wade has worked with junior high and high school robotics programs and advised a university team in a NASA robotics competition. Wade has taught blind students engineering content centered on hydrostatics as well as design for a number of years. As a faculty member at Utah State University, Wade conducts a great deal of research in the field of engineering education, but he remains passionate about teaching, particularly mentoring the next generation of STEM professionals. Wade has eight teaching/mentoring awards for his work with students and was most recently awarded the “Teacher of the Year Award” for the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Society of Engineering Education. When not teaching or researching, you may find Wade daydreaming of his commercial fishing days back in Alaska or in the outdoors with his family.
Natalie is the project director for the National Federation of the Blind’s Spatial Ability and Blind Engineering Research Project and the program director for the associated NFB EQ summer programs. Natalie holds teaching licenses in special education and the education of blind students for grades K-12. Natalie has taught blind students and students with autism and other disabilities in a wide range of settings including: charter schools, large urban public schools, residential schools, and informal educational settings. Natalie’s professional experiences, as well as her lived experiences as a blind person, have engendered a deep devotion to supporting the needs of all students with disabilities. The merit of Natalie’s work has been recognized by the bestowment of several awards including the New Leader Award from The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology and the Towson University President’s Diversity and Inclusion Award. When she is not working, Natalie loves to cook (and eat!), read, and get outside!
Mya Catherine Taylor
Mya Catherine Taylor (formally Jones) is the assistant to the executive director of the Jernigan Institute, Anil Lewis, and the logistics coordinator for NFB EQ. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Mya graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor of arts in english literature and a double minor in philosophy and theology. During her college years, she worked at Georgetown's Davis Performing Arts Center undertaking a broad range of secretarial and administrative duties. Upon graduation, in 2011, Mya served as a legal assistant at Morris, Hardwick, and Schneider LLC drafting mortgage foreclosure legal complaints. In 2013 Mya decided to change her career path and joined the public service sector at the National Federation of the Blind. In her roles, Mya has gained extensive experience with all administrative tasks and is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of various responsibilities.
Peter Anderson is the instructional coach at the Science Museum of Minnesota and a lead instructor for the National Federation of the Blind EQ summer program. He has a master’s in education focusing on science instruction and is licensed to teach physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science courses to high school students. He has tutored for ten years, taught in K-12 classroom for seven years, and taught at the Museum for seven years. Peter has been an instructor in several National Federation of the Blind science and engineering programs. At the Museum, Peter works on the cutting edge of hands-on science and enjoys going where none have gone before in teaching science to learners of all ages. Recently, Peter became a father and spends most of his spare time parenting.
Ann Cunningham is an award winning author, artist, teacher, and innovator recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (Benjamin Franklin Award - gold), the Denver Botanic Gardens (Sydney Parkinson Award), and the National Federation of the Blind (Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award). Her work spans these diverse areas as she develops connections for people to fine art through touch. Ann passionately believes that tactile access to properly formatted art can play the same role for blind people that visual art plays for sighted people. Ann’s passion for art and nonvisual access are apparent in the energy and attention to detail that she brings to her work as a teacher. Ann has been teaching art to students at the Colorado Center for the Blind since 1999. Additionally, Ann has taught art to students in numerous National Federation of the Blind science, technology, engineering, and math programs over the last decade. Ann will be a lead instructor at this summer’s National Federation of the Blind EQ program.