Meet the Team
Front Desk Staff
Lori, a graduate of Catherine Scott Secretarial School, has been a member of the ADS team for 24 years. Lori grew up with a several family members and friends who have disabilities - which made this a natural and rewarding field for her to enter. She began learning ASL in the 1980s for a friend who was going deaf and loved it. Her husband is Deaf-Blind and attended Harper before starting his own business. After serving as a department secretary for salespeople for twelve years, Lori started working for a psychosocial rehabilitation organization; her eyes opened to non-profit and she never looked back.
Samantha Almeida Ortega
Samy has gained her secretarial experience by working in K-12 institutions around the Palatine area. She moved from her country Ecuador on 2019 to pursue her higher education. Currently, Samy is a full-time student at the University of Illinois in Chicago where she focused on Political Science, but is now changing her major to Social Work. Outside of work, She enjoys spending time with her daughter ad her grandmother, reading and exploring new restaurants.
When Sara first set foot on the campus of Western Maryland College in 1998 she didn't know she'd begin a life-long journey into the Deaf Community. An American Sign Language interpreter for twenty years, Sara has worked in a variety of settings before coming to Harper. Sara also holds a Master's degree in Organizational Management. As a member of the Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority, volunteerism has always been important to Sara and she continues to serve in various volunteer roles.
Assistive Technology Staff
Eric Ross has been working with ADS as the Assistive Technology Specialist for over two decades. An alumni of Harper College, Eric graduated with his Associates of Science in 1995. He has a bachelor's degree from Illinois State University in Industrial Technology with a focus on manufacturing. Outside of work, Eric enjoys playing computer games, watching movies, and spending time with his family. Eric says, "as a disabled person myself who uses Assistive Technology I can bring a unique perspective to my position."
Katie discovered a passion for working in accessibility services as a graduate student at The Ohio State University, where she received her Master of Public Health. Prior to joining the team at Harper College, she worked as a Disability Services Specialist at Northern Essex Community College in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Katie loves working directly with students, focusing on academic skill-building, wellness, and mindfulness. Outside of the office, Katie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and volunteering in the community.
April (pronouns she, her, hers) is currently an Access Advocate at Harper College since January 2019. April notes that the greatest joy is offering support, engaging, empowering, and encouraging students to succeed during their time at Harper College. Her professional area of interest includes disability culture, inclusion and equity, mental health, social justice, self-advocacy, and universal design. When not in the office, April enjoys yoga, meditation, reading, check out new restaurants, spending time with fur-kid, and travel.
Anita has a bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies from Northern Illinois University and master's degree in Counseling/Higher Education from Emporia State University. Before working at Harper, she worked as a Hall Director in residence life, an Academic Counselor, and a Student Activities Director. Anita has been working at Harper since 2010. Before joining the ADS team, Anita worked in the Center for New Student as an Academic Advisor. In ADS, she enjoys working with ADS Students and encouraging each student's academic, personal, and professional success. In addition to serving as an Access Advocate, Anita coordinates the Transition Autism Program (TAP) and advises the ADS Success Club. When not working, Anita enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys. As a family, they love to camp, hike, and visit National Parks.
Robert Uhren grew up closely with his Apple Macintosh Classic and has always viewed technology from within the enabling scope. In terms of digital accessibility, Robert is fascinated with variability behind the end user, has worked with & observed a wide range of individuals with disabilities and has always observed how they use technology to enhance their quality of life. As a deafblind technology trainer intern briefly prior joining higher education disability services, it was then Robert realized that contributing to digital accessibility is equal to contributing to the enabling and transformative nature that technology is.
Jason has worked in the field of higher education for more than 12 years, with the last eight at Harper College. Jason comes from a third-generation Deaf family, so he is passionate about fostering an inclusive and accessible college experience for students with disabilities and other students of diversity. During his free time, Jason enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering his time for disability advocacy organizations, and rooting for the Packers and Badgers.
Rebecca Ramirez - Malagon
Rebecca has fourteen years of higher education experience spanning several different institutions and areas including disability services, admissions, and student involvement. She notes that her passion for serving students with disabilities began in her childhood, as her mother worked at a school that was specifically for children with Autism and Down Syndrome. Throughout her youth, Rebecca was able to volunteer at the school, even serving as an aide during their summer program. When she decided to go to college, Rebecca knew that her major had to focus on helping individuals with disabilities. She assumed that would lead her to becoming a special education teacher, but she landed on the higher education route instead. Fourteen years later, and in a position that allows her to review procedures and better serve students with disabilities, she is happy with her decision.