Everything Old Is New Again! Welcome to the New APH ConnectCenter

Session Date: 
Friday, January 15, 2021 - 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST

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The APH ConnectCenter offers curated advice and resources to assist children, parents, adults, job seekers who are blind or visually impaired, and their associated professionals, leading to greater independence and success in their lives.

It connects agencies to those seeking information and services through its website, information and referral service, service directory, training programs, and more. This webinar discussed more about this hub serving the field of blindness and visual impairment and how your agency can partner with APH to improve your connections.


Headshot of Alan Lovell

Alan Lovell

Alan is the Information and Referral Services Coordinator for the APH ConnectCenter. Alan has been with APH for nearly 25 years. In that time, he worked in APH's first iteration of a Marketing Department, transitioning to Customer Relations a short time later, where he spent many years in sales, customer services, and technical support. Legally blind since birth, and after so many years working in the field of blindness and education, he was asked in 2018 to take on the role of I&R coordinator for the then newly formed APH ConnectCenter. His background in the field of blindness and his own experiences as a blind person helps him provide useful and empathetic information to those who struggle in just about any aspect of life pertaining to their visual impairment.

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Pris Rogers

Dr. Pris Rogers serves as a special advisor to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) on aging and vision loss. Before this role, Dr. Rogers was the Program Manager for VisionAware, an online program that helps adults who are losing their sight continue to live full and independent lives. She also served as the Director of eLearning for AFB and was the Commissioner for the Blind in KY. She has a Ph.D. in vision and aging, and a master's in gerontology.

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Olaya Landa-Vialard

Dr. Olaya Landa-Vialard is a National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities Fellow and Graduate of Texas Tech University. She was a Co-PI for the Early Learning Visual Impairment Services Training Advancement (EL VISTA) program at Illinois State University. She has been a Bilingual Educational Diagnostician for Students with Visual Impairment/Blindness/Deafblindness/Multiple Disabilities, TVI, University Professor, Bilingual Family Engagement Coordinator for the Illinois State Deafblind Project, Project Reach, currently serves as an Adjunct Instructor for multiple university VI programs, and is now the Director of APH ConnectCenter Programs.

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Melanie Peskoe

Melanie Peskoe, legally blind since birth from congenital cataracts and glaucoma, is the Digital Content and Engagement Specialist. Her primary roles are managing ConnectCenter websites, social media, and webinars. She holds a Master's degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Communication. Melanie loves listening to great books and crocheting in her spare time – often at the same time!

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Kathryn D Botsford

Dr. Kathryn D Botsford is the Digital Content Strategist and Senior Researcher with the APH ConnectCenter.  She is an ACVREP certified COMS and a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certified teacher for children with visual impairments. Kathryn has been an active AER member since 1997, serving on Chapter boards in Washington, Colorado, and, most recently, Oregon (where she is currently chapter president).  Outside of my day job, she is also an adjunct instructor for Dominican College and San Francisco State University and a University Supervisor for Texas Tech University.  Currently, she is the District 1 Representative to the AER Board of Directors.

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Richard Rueda

Richard Rueda has worked in the field of Human and Social Services specializing in Blindness and Low Vision since 1992. Since 2016, Richard works as Program Coordinator with Society for the Blind, based in Sacramento, California, overseeing CareersPLUS, a career exploration program for teens and young adults. Richard continues to work with various agencies in consulting on Transition best practices in serving blind and low vision youth, including the Earl Baum Center in Santa Rosa, Vista Center for the Blind based in Palo Alto, and the Center of Visual Enhancement (COVE) in Merced. When not working his day job, Richard Rueda joins the APH Connect Center and CareerConnect projects supporting the continued expansion and development of these rich critical resources.

Headshot of Joe Strechay

Joe Strechay

Joe Strechay is a consultant for the American Printing House for the Blind's Connect Center with a fantastic APH family. He is a consultant and producer for streaming television around characters who are blind—shows such as SEE with Jason Mamoa and Alfre Woodard, and Daredevil on Netflix. Joe has managed services for the blind or low vision in Pennsylvania; supervised and created content for CareerConnect for AFB; and provided services in New Jersey, New York, and Florida for individuals who are blind or low vision. He did his undergraduate work at East Carolina University and his graduate work at Florida State University.