Blindness/Visual Impairment


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Sandra Lewis |

Sandra Lewis, a Professor in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University, currently is the Program Leader for the Visual Disabilities major. Dr. Lewis previously worked as an educator of individuals with visual impairments of all ages in a variety of educational, home, and community settings. Immediately before starting at FSU, she worked as a member of a team that conducted comprehensive assessments of students with visual impairments attending public schools in California, including students whose severe disabilities included visual impairment. Dr. Lewis is known for her publications and presentations that support quality services to meet the needs of adults and children with visual impairments and recently published a book on strategies for teaching the expanded core curriculum. She serves on numerous national, state, and local committees and was honored as the Mary K. Bauman award recipient—one of AER’s highest honors—in 2010. She is the director of a long-term state grant to support quality innovative services to students with low vision and has been awarded six OSEP-funded personnel preparation grants and several personnel preparation grants funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. She recently was selected as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.

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Tessa McCarthy |

Tessa McCarthy is an assistant professor in the Department of Instruction and Learning in the vision studies program at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 with a PhD in special education with an emphasis on visual disabilities and has more than a decade’s experience as an instructor and consultant in orientation and mobility and visual impairments. McCarthy’s research has recently been published in Journal of Visual Impairments and Blindness, the International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, and The Journal of Special Education. In the last year, she presented on the use of artificial intelligence in reinforcing braille instruction.

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Tiffany Wild.jpg
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Stacy Kelly.jpg
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Robert Wall Emerson |

Rob Wall Emerson is a Canadian ex patriate, living in the U.S. since coming down for his doctoral studies in 1994. He was trained as an English and science secondary school teacher and worked as a Teacher for Children with Visual Impairments in northern Manitoba (he is also ACVREP O&M certified) before heading south for his doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University. He has been in the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies at Western Michigan University since 2004 and currently holds the rank of full professor. Rob has conducted research in a wide range of topics such as brain plasticity, early braille literacy, spatial hearing, complex intersections, accessible pedestrian signals, hybrid and electric vehicles, math education, descriptive video, and long cane biomechanics. He lives with his wife (also an O&M) and two children (future O&Ms) in Kalamazoo, Michigan.



Tiffany Wild |

Dr. Tiffany Wild began her education career as a middle school science and math teacher.  Her interest in visual impairment began when students with visual impairments were placed in her classroom without any support.  Those students inspired Dr. Wild to become a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI).  As a TVI, she has worked as a teacher’s aide for students with visual impairments in an early learning center and as an itinerant teacher for Project PAVE.  Dr. Wild was awarded a prestigious doctoral fellowship with the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairments to pursue her doctoral degree and her dissertation was awarded the “Dissertation of the Year” by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Visual impairment. 

Currently Dr. Wild is an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology and coordinates the program in visual impairment.  She also is the president-elect for the Division on Visual Impairment and Deafblind and President of the Ohio Chapter for the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.   Her research focuses on science education for students with visual impairments.  Dr. Wild has published and presented both nationally and internationally. It is through her research endeavors that she has been asked to be a co-founding member of the National Center for STEM Education for students with visual impairments, complete research on national STEM programming for the National Federation of the Blind, invitations to present at national, state, and local conventions.   



Michael Behrmann |

 Dr. Michael M. Behrmann is a local, state, and national leader/innovator in special education. He has devoted 35 years to improving services and personnel preparation in the field of special education with his innovative work in teaching, research and service. He believes in collaborative research/training enhanced by technology. An early adopter of microcomputer technology, his pioneering pursuits are known worldwide. He wrote two of the first books on assistive and instructional technology. His over 80 publications and 250 presentations span nearly three decades. Since 1979 at George Mason University (GMU), he has secured nearly $70 million in external grants and contracts, $30 million in revenue-based projects, and $4.5 million in gifts for special education to the university. In 2007 he recieved the ARC lifetime achievment award. In 2008 he was awarded the Council for Exceptional Childrens (CEC) J. Wallace Wallin Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Technology and Media Divison Leadership Award. In 2009 Dr.Behrmann was honored with the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching with Technology. In 2010 he was awarded the Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning by the United States Distance Learning Association.

Dr. Behrmann received his Ed.D. in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1978. As part of his post doctoral activities, Dr. Behrmann was a participant in the Professional Leadership Program on assignment to the Governmental Relations Unit of the American Educational Research Association. In 1979, he came to George Mason Universitys Special Education Programs as Coordinator of the Graduate program in Severely Multi- Handicapped. He began his research with assistive technology in special education in 1981 and designed and implemented a masters degree program in Assistive/Special Education Technology in 1986, followed by a doctoral program in Assistive/Special Education Technology. In 1998 he implemented a 15 credit Assistive Technology Certificate Program. Dr. Behrmann was also a charter member for CECs Technology and Media Division (TAM).

He is currently the Helen A. Kellar Professor of Special Education in the Graduate School of Education and the Director of the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities (KIHd). The institute has  over 90 funded faculty and staff of which over 15 percent of the full time employees have disabilities. Current professional activities include the directorship of a state funded training and technical assistance center (TTAC) for Superintendents Region 4 of Virginia; a state grant to prepare teachers in the area of vision impairment. He is the PI on the Virginia Accessible Instructional Materials program which provides free accessible materials (electronic, print, braille, etc) to students in Virgina who have a print disabilitiy. He is also continuing to develop the Kellar Instructional Handheld System, a data collection system for collecting and automatically charting frequency, duration, accuracy and fluency data by teachers for children with disabilities. He is also working on state funded web based professional development sites, and The Virginia Family Special Education Connection ( to expand the capacity of VADOEs parent and professional projects to online services.

Dr. Behrmann also has advanced collaborative intra-university and intra-agency projects across Virginia that have reached thousands of professionals. He developed programs that uniquely prepares teachers and other professionals in ABA, mild disabilities, severe disabilities and vision impairments. Through state funded collaboration in distance education, advanced technology helps deliver a common curriculum to students at 7 state universities and at home.



Stacy Kelly |

Stacy Kelly is an Associate Professor in the Special and Early Education Department in the area of Visual Disabilities at Northern Illinois University. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University in the area of Visual Disabilities. She completed her doctoral degree at Northern Illinois University as a National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment (NCLVI) Doctoral Fellow. She has also worked as a disability policy researcher in Washington, DC. She taught students who were blind or visually impaired as a teacher of students with visual impairments (TSVI) in the Chicagoland area. She is also a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and a certified school administrator. Most recently, she has been appointed as an Assistive Technology Certification Subject Matter Expert (SME) by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).



Laura Bozeman |

Laura Bozeman entered the vision profession in 1974 as an Orientation & Mobility Specialist in Texas. After working in direct service for 20 years, she received her Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Texas-Austin. Dr. Bozeman has served as a faculty at the University of Texas-Austin, North Carolina Central University, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand, and UMass-Boston. She has worked with all ages and been fortunate to teach in Taiwan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, American Samoa and the US.  She is currently the Director of the Vision Studies program in the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Dr. Bozeman has been involved with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI) on the Chapter, Division, and International levels for many years. She has served multiple terms on the international and chapter boards of directors as well as the chair of divisions and committees.

Dr. Bozeman serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness (JVIB) and as a reviewer for JVIB, Insight: Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness, International Journal of Orientation and Mobility (IJOM) as well as the Blasch Scholarship awards.

Dr. Bozeman holds certification in Orientation & Mobility, Low Vision, and was licensed as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment.




Sunggye Hong |


Dr. Sunggye Hong, associate professor of the department of disability and psychoeducational studies and the program coordinator of the visual impairments teacher training program, received both his master’s and doctoral degrees from The University of Arizona in Special Education/Education of Students with Visual Impairments. He took a faculty position in the Department of Special Education at San Francisco State University and at the University of Northern Iowa where he served as a coordinator of the visual impairment programs. He has conducted research in the areas of braille reading, assistive technology, and expanded core curriculum of students with visual impairments. His research agenda is aimed at promoting equal access to educational opportunities including curriculum materials, classroom activities, and other school programs of students who are blind or visually impaired with or without additional disabilities.  Dr. Hong has engaged in several grant activities through the Office of Special Education Programs and attracted over 2.5 million external funding. 



Paula Conroy |

Dr. Paula Conroy is a Professor at the University of Northern Colorado and the coordinator of the Visual Impairment and O&M programs. Paula is a certified TVI and COMS with 26 years experience working with children from birth to age 21. She has secured and administrated several Personnel Preparation grants focusing on different aspects of cultural and linguistic diversity among children with visual impairments and their families.



Cheryl Kamei-Hannan |