Tools for Life Team
Carolyn P. Phillips
Program Director and Principal Investigator
Carolyn P. Phillips is nationally recognized in the field of assistive technology and disabilities. Carolyn serves as Director and Principal Investigator of Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program at Georgia Tech | AMAC. In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of AT projects and programs, including the National Pass It On Center. Ms. Phillips teaches a graduate class at the University of Georgia in the College of Education. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and guest lecturer at other universities. She has published articles in journals, chapters in books in AT and poetry focused on living with disabilities. Carolyn has dedicated her time and energy to promoting independence of all people, including those with disabilities through advocacy, education, assistive technology and systems change. Among other awards and recognitions, she has received the National Rehabilitation Association’s Belle Greve Award for “outstanding contributions and major positive impacts” in the disability community. The Department of Labor in Georgia also gave her the Director’s Award for “extraordinary and diligent service on behalf of people with disabilities.” She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, and her Master's Degree from the University of Kentucky. Carolyn lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Tori earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Shorter University in 2012 and her Master of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. When the news business didn't live up to her expectations, Tori turned toward her passion of disability advocacy for a new career path. There she found Tools for Life and joined the team in January 2017. Tori is new to the wide world of assistive technologies, but she has been involved in adaptive sports, particularly wheelchair racing, for most of her life. Tori is a committee member for the Cedartown Wheelchair Athlete Training Camp and 5K in Cedartown, Georgia and also commentated at the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race for the wheelchair division in 2014 and 2016 sharing her knowledge of the sport and the athletes with Atlanta. Tori lives in Rome, a small town in Northwest Georgia, and she hopes that as the Outreach Specialist with Tools for Life she will be able to share her knowledge about assistive technology to smaller communities.
Send an email to Tori: firstname.lastname@example.org
AT Funding and Resource Specialist
Danny Housley is the Assistive Technology Funding and Resource Specialist with Tools for Life, Georgia's Assistive Technology Act Program overseeing Credit-Able, Georgia's Alternative Financing Program. He finds funding solutions and resources for people with disabilities to increase or maintain their independence. Previously, Danny has worked at the Center for Independent Living in Atlanta, disABILITY LINK, to support people with disabilities to live in the community of choice. Danny is a graduate of Georgia State University, where he received his MA in Applied Linguistics.
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Assistive Technology Lab Specialist
As an avid music lover, Justin brings a different perspective to assistive technology; he is currently building a music lab stocked with music education and therapy technology. Justin relies on assistive technology in his everyday life, so he has a very personal background in his field. As a lab tech, he catalogues and provides feedback and insight on the latest tech. Justin combines his deep knowledge of assistive technology with a passion for music in his current project, an interactive music lab.
Send an email to Justin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Jacobs is a retired Staff Sgt. serving 10 years in the United States Air Force. During his time in the USAF he provided information technology support and network security at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, Osan Air Force Base Republic of South Korea, and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. Ben brings to the Tools for Life team his passion and drive for technology and enhancing independence for people of all ages and abilities. His experience with Android devices and software development will enhance the TFL AT Solutions Lab at Georgia Tech. Ben currently lives in Alpharetta with his wife.
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AT Initiatives PI
Joy Kniskern obtained an M.Ed. in Community Counseling from Georgia State University, a BA from Vanderbilt University and is certified as a rehabilitation counselor and level one mediation specialist. Joy has spent over 34 years securing and leading innovative state, Federal and private grants to increase access to and acquisition of appropriate assistive technology. She pioneered development of a computer education program for individuals with severe disabilities in the 1980s, launched and directed Tools for Life in the 1990s and established Georgia's Alternative Finance Program, Credit-Able. She has co-authored publications on assistive technology service delivery, has presented widely, peer-reviewed many grants, and continues to serve in leadership roles on many state and national advisory groups to assist in strategic planning and resource development for assistive technology. In 2006, she received the Touch the Future Visionary Award for her leadership in advancing assistive technology services, and has received many other awards for her work over the years.
Send an email to Joy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asha Kumar graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology. She is currently working on her Masters degree from in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, from Georgia State University. As an intern at Tools for Life, she is always absorbing new information about the world of assistive technology, especially since this world seems to be changing constantly. Asha always knew she wanted to work with people with disabilities, and is happy she is able to connect that desire with a love for technology.
Send an email to Asha: email@example.com
Speech Language Pathologist
Krista Mullen, MS CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Krista brings 18 years of experience working with people across the life span to Tools for Life, Georgia's Assistive Technology Act Program | AMAC Accessibility Solutions at Georgia Tech. Her work has focused on using a functional approach to communication in a variety of settings including schools, rehab, and private practice. Krista enjoys providing solutions to persons with complex communication needs especially when it involves alternate access methods. Krista is a certified member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and a member of the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC).
Send an email to Krista: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Persaud is a nationally recognized keynote, public speaker, and advocate addressing the need to build bridges to solidify the gaps between individuals living with and without disabilities. Liz currently serves as the Training and Outreach Coordinator for Tools for Life (Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program) and the Pass It On Center (The National Assistive Technology Device Reutilization Coordination and Technical Assistance Center) at AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech. Additionally, Liz provides online and in person training and public awareness for TechSAge, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center focused on successful aging with a disability. She is a sought-after guest lecturer at numerous universities speaking on the power of assistive technology. Liz is an active advocate with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Atlanta, providing outreach and raising awareness to numerous groups and organizations across the country. Her passion lies within education about generations of adults growing up and living independently and successfully with childhood neuromuscular diseases. She is also the proud recipient of the 1999 and 2005 Muscular Dystrophy Association Personal Achievement Award in Georgia. Liz has dedicated her life to increasing independence for individuals with disabilities by educating on self-determination and advocacy with a focus on technology and disabilities. Liz is a graduate of Georgia State University and lives in Alpharetta, Georgia with her hero of a husband and supportive family.
Send an email to Liz: email@example.com
Sam Peters is a graduate from Clemson University with her B.S. in Sociology. As the Program Specialist at Tools for Life, Sam assists in coordinating trainings and public awareness activities throughout Georgia. Sam enjoys getting to pursue her passion of increasing independence for people with disabilities through assistive technology in all aspects of their life. She loves TFL’s mission to Live, Learn, Work and especially Play independently in the community of your choice. Sam is always eager to grow her skills in AT as technology is continuously evolving.
Send an email to Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org
AT Specialist and Services Coordinator
Martha Rust completed her masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Tennessee and received her CRC. She also is a RESNA certified ATP and earned a certificate in Assistive Technology Applications from California State University at Northridge. Ms. Rust is the Assistive Technology Specialist for Tools for Life/ AMAC at Ga Tech. She also works on the Tech Support Team for AMAC, working with college students who have disabilities and use AMAC services. Ms. Rust has presented at numerous international, national, regional, and state conferences on assistive technology and serves on several disability related committees
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Rachel Wilson is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) who has been practicing for over 23 years. She specializes in Rehabilitation and has a strong background in Transition and Aging. She has worked with numerous individuals with disabilities to transition back to their home or highest level of independence in the most appropriate environment. Her interests include assistive technology, advocacy, self-determination and functional independence so individuals can live, learn, work and play in communities of their choice. Rachel serves as an AT Specialist for Tools for Life, the Georgia Assistive Technology Act Program. She received her degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and her Certification from the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapist (NBCOT). Rachel lives in Marietta, Georgia.
Send an email to Rachel: firstname.lastname@example.org