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.
Send an email to Carolyn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Program and Outreach Manager
Liz Persaud is a nationally recognized keynote, public speaker, and advocate addressing the need to build bridges and solidify the gaps between individuals living with and without disabilities. Liz currently serves as the Program and Outreach Manager 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 within the College of Design at Georgia Tech. Additionally, Liz provides online and in person training and public awareness for TechSAge 2, 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 as well as the nonprofit group Living United with NMD, providing outreach and raising awareness to numerous groups and organizations across the globe. 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 two-time recipient of the 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. She is a graduate of Georgia State University and lives in Alpharetta, Georgia with her hero of a husband and supportive family.
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Assistive Technology Access Team Manager
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 Access Team Manager for Tools for Life | AMAC at Georgia Tech. Ms. Rust has presented at numerous international, national, regional, and state conferences on assistive technology and serves on several disability related committees.
Send an email to Martha: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistive Technology Acquisition Manager
Danny Housley is the Assistive Technology Acquisition Manager 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.
Danny is an executive board member of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia's Atlanta chapter, is a board member of the Disability CDFI Coalition, he serves on the board of disABILITY LINK, the Center for Independent Living that serves the Metro Atlanta area and serves on the Community Advisory Council for the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University. Previously, Danny has worked at 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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Ben Jacobs is a retired Staff Sargent 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 Base Republic of South Korea, and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. Focused on Special Projects and emerging technologies at Tools for Life, Ben brings his knowledge and drive for technological advancement to the team. His experience with network management, Android OS and devices, along with subject expertise on the Internet of Things (IoT), drives his passion for enhancing independence for people of all ages and abilities. His focus on universal design and mainstream technologies that can be leveraged by people with disabilities provides a unique perspective on the use of assistive technology for everyday living. An avid gamer himself, Ben advocates for education on the importance of gaming and its effect on social connectedness. Ben is originally from Maine and currently resides in Alpharetta, GA with his wife, his Xbox, and PlayStation.
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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.
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Sam Peters currently serves as the Program Specialist at Tools for Life. As the program specialist Sam assists in coordinating state leadership activities such as trainings and outreach, as well as assists in overall daily programmatic activities. This includes trainings for various grants and organizations throughout Georgia and assistive technology labs at state and national conferences. Sam enjoys getting to pursue her passion of educating individuals with disabilities, parents, teachers, professoinals and caregivers about the many possibilities of assistive technology. She loves TFL’s mission to Live, Learn, Work and especially Play independently in the community of your choice. Sam Peters is a graduate from Clemson University with her Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Currently, Sam is pursuing her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Georgia with a concentration in Public Policy. Sam is interested in health and education policy and the intersection between the two. Particularly, how these policies effect individuals with disabilities and their ability to live independently.
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Tori Holder 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. As Outreach Specialist for Tools for Life, Tori is part of the Training & Outreach Team. She assists with organizing statewide projects, conferences, trainings, exhibits, etc. to share information about the services offered by Tools for Life. Tori is newer 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 with her husband, Cody, and she hopes to continue to share her knowledge of AT with smaller communities so people are aware of their options when it comes to living and working independently with a disability.
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Ciara Montes graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Certificate in Music Business. She completed her Master’s in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at Georgia State University in May of 2018. Ciara has both her Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor Certificates. Ciara began as an intern with Tools for Life in the last year of her Master’s program and found a passion for working with people of all ages and all disabilities. She enjoys finding different resources, researching new technologies, and coming up with solutions to help people become more independent. As an AT Specialist, she is responsible for demonstrating assistive technology, assisting in technology recommendations, and completing assessments in the field. Ciara is very interested in transition work with students who have disabilities and want to pursue higher education. She has worked closely with individuals in the inclusive program here at Georgia Tech and looks forward to making more connections with other programs in the future.
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DeeDee Bunn is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who specializes in augmentative communication and assistive technology. She has over 30 years’ experience working as a Speech-Language Pathologist and is the augmentative communication specialist for Tools for Life and AMAC at Georgia Tech, assisting individuals with speech/language and communication difficulties in finding communication systems to help them succeed in school, work and play. DeeDee has presented at numerous national, state and regional conferences on augmentative communication and assistive technology, with an emphasis on helping individuals increase their language, literacy and communication skills.
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