Sep 22, 2022

Featured Work From Eye To Eye 2022 Fellows

We would like to express our gratitude to the 2022 Eye to Eye Fellows Langston Bealum, Maddi Stapp, Thomas Koester, William Wallace, Cole Smith, and Zoe Zitner. The six of them have been doing independent research projects specific to the neurodiversity landscape. This fellowship is core to Eye to Eye’s mission of having our young leaders carry out the values of our organization. As our students head back to school, we wish all our families within the Eye to Eye community a happy and healthy school year. Learn more about our young fellow projects below.

Langston Bealum

Is a senior at The College of Wooster majoring in sociology with a minor in education. Langston wanted to explore issues facing neurodiverse students of color, and the barriers that they face when attempting to gain access to academic accommodations. 

Langston has created and distributed a survey to gain insights into the various obstacles neurodiverse students of color encounter when seeking out the help that they need. To his surprise, he found a lack of data related to this topic and found that many similar studies don’t take race into account. Langston is still doing the final touches on his work and will be distributing his survey to respondents in the coming weeks. 

Eventually Langston would like to continue his research using a combination of both surveys and interviews. We look forward to reviewing his upcoming survey results and will soon be sharing them with the Eye to Eye community. His survey is linked here.

Maddi Stapp

Is a freshman at Vanderbilt University studying psychology and theater. Maddeline’s research project focuses on the intersectionalities between neurodiversity and mental health conditions. She explores her ADHD and personal history with anxiety in a series of recorded interviews shedding light on the ways in which her ADHD and anxiety interact with one another while identifying the ways her ADHD can become a strength in certain contexts. 

Her interview series explores the different perspectives of her family, friends, and therapist as they reflect on how Maddie’s ADHD and anxiety influenced her upbringing. Through her findings, Maddie believes that her ADHD directly correlates with her heightened levels of empathy and emotional intelligence. We look forward to sharing her work soon.

Thomas Koester

Is a junior at Suffield Academy in Connecticut, while he himself is not neurodiverse, each of his three brothers are. Thomas wanted to see what he can do to become a better ally to his siblings and gain a better understanding of the challenges that they face as a result of their learning disabilities. He put together a flowchart of stories related to his different siblings specific to ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia. His flowchart can be viewed here.

William Wallace

Is a junior at Collegiate School in New York. William is working on a slideshow presentation to illustrate what being a student is like before and after receiving their learning disability diagnosis. He hopes his research and presentation can help raise awareness and empower the LD community while reducing the stigma surrounding neurodivergence. 

William has performed multiple interviews specific to dyslexia. He hopes that by spreading awareness, it will become easier for more people to become diagnosed early in life and remind members of the LD community that they are not alone. 

William was surprised to discover in his research that 80% of dyslexic students are not diagnosed correctly. He wants to ensure that students can become accurately diagnosed early on so they can gain the help that they need. His presentations can be viewed here.

Cole Smith

Is a senior at Dublin High School in California. Cole is researching the subcultures that exist within the tabletop gaming space and has discovered that the Dungeons and Dragons gaming community over indexes on neurodiversity. His survey found that neurodiverse individuals use gaming to create a safe space where they can be their true authentic selves. Cole hopes people with LD’s are able to openly share the neurodiverse aspects of their identity with others in an open and accepting society. Hear Cole discuss his research here.

Zoe Zitner

Is a junior at Connecticut College studying dance and psychology. Zoe decided to create a guidebook for K-12 neurodiverse students helping to prepare them for their transition into higher education. Zoe wanted students to understand the legal differences between K-12 and higher ed. Her guidebook provides both self advocacy and mental health tips for neurodiverse students throughout the different stages of their educational journey. 

Zoe also has information within her guide on the significance of The Rise Act and what students need in order to gain proper academic accommodations within the higher education setting. Her guide is available for download here.

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