World Blind Herald is proud to have this group of people from a variety of backgrounds supporting and working with us each in their own way. Some of these individuals have names you've heard before; others may not be famous but help the WBH project by providing perspective, criticism and advice on our work from their own experiences. We've put this list in alphabetic order by last name as we're honored to have all of these people working with our team and all are important to our success.
Founder of the inclusive design firm Prime Access Consulting (PAC), Sina Bahram (he/him) is an accessibility consultant, computer scientist, researcher, speaker, and entrepreneur. In 2012, Sina was recognized as a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for his doctoral research work enabling users with disabilities to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Believing that accessibility is sustainable when adopted as a culture, not just a tactic, Sina and his team work with executive management, policy makers, engineering teams, content creators, designers, and other stakeholders within institutions to promulgate accessibility and inclusive design throughout the fabric of an organization. Under Sina's direction, PAC has helped over 100 organizations to meet and exceed their inclusivity goals, from the creation of accessible websites, mobile apps, mixed reality experiences, and immersive environments to achieving a comprehensive inclusive design methodology across the enterprise. In addition to serving on and chairing various boards, conferences, committees, and working groups across corporate, non-profit, and research entities, Sina collaborates with the United Nations and serves as an invited expert on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) working group where he helps shape the next generation of digital accessibility standards and best practices. In 2021, Sina was selected to be a Mission: Astro Access ambassador, which aims to make space and space travel accessible to all. Consequently, Sina and his fellow ambassadors tested various accessibility and inclusive design strategies in microgravity aboard a 0G flight. In 2022, Sina was honored as a Thea-award winner being named as one of the two inaugural Catalyst award recipients by the Themed Entertainment Association.
After getting a degree and working in IT for years, Kei Best (they/them) is studying Japanese and Asian studies in Tucson, Arizona. They will be writing articles for WBH about differences between being blind in the US and in other nations as well. They are studying the Japanese language and they will also write about traveling to Japan.
Scott Davert (he/him) is the Coordinator of the Technology, Research and Innovation Center, which is housed in the Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults. In this role, Mr. Davert works with companies to create more accessible products for those who are DeafBlind, publishes reviews on devices which can benefit the DeafBlind community, and trains professionals in the field both in and outside of the agency. He also publishes articles of technology. You can read the current list of articles published on the department's blog.. Since 2011, Mr. Davert has also been a member of the Editorial staff forAppleVis a community driven website which aims to provide information and resources to individuals who are low vision, blind or DeafBlind. His career encompasses
His passion for technology and braille. “Braille and technology are two things that open so many doors for those who are DeafBlind. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to function in my daily life,” he says.
Jim Fruchterman (he/him) has a Master’s Degree from CalTech. He is one of the individuals who invented modern artificial intelligence based optical character recognition and his master’s thesis built the first known device that could scan a document and then read it aloud to a blind or otherwise print disabled person. Jim Fruchterman is the founder and former CEO of Benetech, the non-profit with the subdivision called Bookshare that provides hundreds of thousands of books to blind people in a format they can enjoy. Jim is now founder and president of TechMatters, another social enterprise. He is one of the most well known social entrepreneurs in the world. Jim is also a MacArthur Genius Fellow.
Precious Perez (she/her) is a classically trained pop/R&B and Latin vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with a double bachelor’s degree in music education and vocal performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston. She is also a published children’s author. Her goal is to make a difference through doing what she loves and showing the world that blind people are as capable as everyone else. She hopes to inspire future generations to pursue their dreams and be successful in the same way that she has, because she knows that anything is possible, and giving up is never an option. As an artivist and music educator, she will be able to make a difference by using her reach as a Puerto Rican Spanish speaker to crush stereotypes by sharing her experiences across cultures and doing what has not been done while advocating for all of the communities she represents. Precious aims to be the first blind Latina artist at the forefront of the Latin music industry. She is confident that she can lead, she can achieve, and she can be the one who alters the way people see.
Marinelle Soriano (she/her) was born in Manilla, The Philippines and moved to Florida with her family when she was six years old. Marinelle would graduate with a degree in Computer Engineering with honors from University of Florida where she was also president of their chapter of ACM. Marinelle's senior project at UF was building what would later be released as JAWS Tandem. After graduation, she would come to work for Freedom Scientific where she would take on the role of team lead on the OpenBook project. Marinelle now lives in California and provides World Blind Herald with advice on literacy and related matters.
Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden
Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden (he/him) received his PhD from University of Wisconsin. There, he would start the first research and development center (the Trace Center For Rehabilitation Research And Development), making it the first lab dedicated to studying the science behind how access technology should be designed for nearly every disability. Before Gregg started the Trace Center, access technology was all designed by a combination of guesswork and available technology. It was often designed without considering the needs of many of its potential users. The Trace Center was the first of its kind and Gregg has assisted in starting similar research centers at universities all across the United States. Gregg is a founder of the CSUN Conference on Disability and Technology and has sat on too many standards groups to list in a short bio. Gregg has recently relocated to Seattle where he is working to start a new and (at this point) secret project.
World Blind Herald Writers
World Blind Herald has been and will continue recruiting writers who are blind, work in the blindness field, are parents or family members of blind people and others with something interesting to say about our primary topic. This is a diverse group of individuals from various parts of the world who will bring their perspectives to our readers.
Dr. Kirk Adams
Kirk Adams (he/him) is a Professional Speaker and the founder of Innovative Impact LLC., focusing on
groundbreaking, high-impact projects that accelerate the inclusion of people with disabilities in
the workforce and supercharges a company’s bottom line. Kirk Adams earned his PhD in leadership and change. He is known as a master connector of key
decision-makers in government, corporate America, the nonprofit sector, and disability advocates guiding them to create collaborative solutions that have a real impact in increasing the employment of people with disabilities. Dr. Adams is also the former CEO of American Foundation of the Blind (AFB).
Jennifer Adair (she/her) is a licensed social worker living in Oklahoma. Jennifer will be writing the "Ask Jenna" advice column, to be a regular feature on World Blind Herald.
Trevor (he/him) is a writer, musician, teacher, accessibility tester, and community organizer, currently residing in Portland, Oregon. He also has a background in environmental science, ornithology, and geography, and can proudly gnaw your ears off on these subjects if prompted. Passions include birding, jazz, blues, symphonic rock, and travel, and Trevor is rarely satisfied if he is not engaged in one of these. To Trevor, knowledge is power – the power to keep his attention.
Michael (he/him) is a blind concert organist who lives and performs in and around Sarasota, Florida. He has a masters degree in music from Catholic University and writes articles for World Blind Herald.
Emily (she/her) is aged 28, is a London based journalist, content creator and disability advocate. She began her blog “Fashioneyesta” back in 2012 with the aim to create a space to challenge perceptions of sight loss through her love of beauty and style. Since then, she has written for many publications including Cosmopolitan, the Guardian, Metro, HuffPost and Disability Horizons. She has also appeared as a TV reporter for Channel 4 News and regularly works as a disability spokesperson on TV news. She now works with brands to help make their products more accessibility as an accessibility consultant and champions accessibility in the beauty and fashion industry.
Ann (she/her) is a blind author whose blog posts, published books and stories come straight from her heart. She is the proud mother of a precious little girl named Sharen. She is the inspiration for many of Ann's stories, especially the ones that feature children as characters in them. Ann is a published author and will be writing articles about blindness and advocacy for World Blind Herald.
Pranav Lal (he/him) is a blind small businessman in New Delhi, India. He is a writer and works on projects involving sensory substitution about which he has written for World Blind Herald.
Laura Legendary (she/her) is the founder and head of Elegant Insights Braille Jewelry and, in addition to helping launch WBH, has written some terrific articles for the publication. She is blind and lives in Nevada.
Ashley (she/her) is a PhD candidate studying STEM education with a focus on delivering scientific information to disabled students. She works as an accessibility specialist for ViewPlus and also works for Independence Science which is an entire company of blind and low vision scientists.
Joseph Stephen (he/him) has been a software engineer at Freedom Scientific for 25 years where he was first hired by WBH publisher Chris Hofstader. AT FS, Joseph implemented features JAWS users enjoy daily and was the inventor of the JAWS Speech and Sounds Manager. Joseph has many interests and will be writing about them for World Blind Herald.
Keri Svendsen (she/her) is 30 years old and has a masters degree in criminal justice. As far as we can tell, she is the only blind woman to ever work behind the walls of prisoners helping convicts with their plans to be released back into society. Keri writes about her experiences with blindness and helps edit articles for WBH.
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After a career as a real estate lawyer in local government in Scotland, Paul (he/him) is now a software developer, having also provided training in assistive technology for people with a visual impairment. When not fighting with inaccessible applications, he enjoys music production, learning languages and travelling.
The People Who Bring You WBH Each Week
These are the people who work on WBH every week doing a lot of work to bring this publication to our readers. A lot of what these people do is behind the scenes but some of them also write articles and do some public related activities as well. We should also mention that Sina and Itto from our advisors participate very frequently but as their bios are above, we won't duplicate them here.
Amanda Carson (she/her) is one of the founding members of World Blind Herald's team and has been with the project since February 2022. Amanda's full time job is as a web development contractor where she focusses on WordPress and the accessibility needs of her clients. At WBH, Amanda wears a lot of different hats helping out with the web site, writing articles, handling social media and doing pretty much anything else that needs to get done when necessary.
Aaron Espinoza (he/him) is the World Blind Herald Executive Assistant and performs many different tasks for WBH. Aaron Espinoza is a DeafBlind advocate. He is the current President of the California Council of Blind Students (CCBS). He is the former President of the American Council of Blind Students (ACBS). He is a member of both the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) because he believes in both organizations work and philosophy’s. He is a college student majoring in computer science and sociology.
David Faucheux (he/him) has reviewed more than one hundred audiobooks for Library Journal and received their Audiobook Reviewer of the Year Award for 2018. He holds an MLIS Degree from Louisiana State University. He helps edit Blindness and Science Briefs for WBH.
Chris (he/him) is a long time activist, blogger, writer, social critic and occasional public speaker in the blindness space. He is most well known for his long running blog where he wrote about a wide variety of topics usually related to blindness. He is blind himself and is the founder, publisher and editor in chief of World Blind Herald.
Howard Minsky (he/him) runs a number of businesses in South Florida. He writes about wildlife, conservation and is working on the early stages of a project that will bring groups of blind people to experience safari style travel. Howard also works closely with WBH on developing relationships with sponsors, advertisers, and contributors and plays a large role in these areas.