Ann Wai-Yee Kwong
Transition Program SpecialistCompany: LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Role: Session Presenter Session: Recognizing One’s Inclusion “Blind Spot”: How Language Can Challenge Internal Assumptions and Cultivate Inclusive Ecologies (Spotlight 5)
Ann Wai-Yee Kwong is the transition program specialist at the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, Calif., and she is simultaneously pursuing her PhD in education with emphasis in special education, disabilities, and risk studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ann received her BA in psychology with a minor in education from the University of California, Berkeley, as a Gates Millennium Scholar.
Prior to her attendance at UC Santa Barbara, she worked as an education technician intern in Washington, D.C., disaggregating student suicidality data and analyzing its negative impact on both student and school excellence. Ann testified at the U.S. Senate hearing in 2014 to advocate for herself and others, informing policy makers of the attitudinal and tangible societal barriers that limit the potentials of people with disabilities.
Her research passions include creation of innovative workforce development curriculum for transition-age youth with disabilities, self-determination, and cultural implications of professional and family partnerships. She recently concluded a collaborative project with UCP Work, Inc., on designing and implementing curricula to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities and their families; she also participated on a project with the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) on implications of cultural reciprocity with the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and pre-employment transition services. In addition, Ann co-founded Survive or Thrive where she designs and facilitates workshops as well as mentors youth with disabilities and their families.
In a professional capacity, she also serves on various boards including the California Department of Rehabilitation’s Advisory Committee and the Association on Higher Education and Disability. Through her research and advocacy, Ann hopes to continue empowering others to envision, define, and achieve their future aspirations.