In honor of the 10th Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 20, we asked the Khan Academy team to share their favorite advocates. In their own words, team members share why they are inspired by these advocates.
Haben Girma, the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard law school
“Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer focusing on disability justice. Through her speaking and writing, she shares a crystal clear message about how ableism, not ability, is what causes discrimination against people with disabilities and denies them opportunities.”
—Jeanette, learning platform engineering team
Bryce Johnson, researcher at Microsoft and coinventor of the Xbox Adaptive Controller
“I first heard about Bryce’s work during a Super Bowl ad featuring the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It was an emotional and inspiring story of how accessibility allows people to do the things they love and value. Bryce and the Microsoft team continue to work on projects that make gaming more accessible. I enjoy following Bryce on Twitter and seeing all of the projects the team is working on and all the people who are benefiting from their work.”
—Stephanie, marketing team
Camila Pang, PhD, award-winning author and autism advocate
“Dr. Pang recently published a book, An Outsider’s Guide to Humans, that blends science and math as a way to understand autism.”
—Diana, legal team
Harry Wood, STEM Outreach Trainer at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Regional STEM Center
“Harry engages Deaf students and their teachers from several states in developing the problem-solving and teamwork skills to pursue STEM careers. Harry helped spearhead the first-ever student robotics tournament exclusively for teams made up of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in the Southeast. Harry gathers and shares the best practices in STEM education with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Harry has personally helped improve my teaching by modeling standards-based grading practices that I continue to use in my work at Khan today.”
—Charlotte, content team
Mark Ervin, a disability rights activist
“Mark writes the hilariously subversive blog, Smart Ass Cripple. As Roger Ebert writes, ‘using his wheelchair as a podium, he ridicules government restrictions, cuts through hypocrisy, ignores the PC firewalls surrounding his disability, and is usually very funny. Because he has been disabled since birth, he uses that as a license to write things that others may think but do not dare say.’”
—Julia, product team
Alice Wong, disabled activist, media maker, and consultant.
“Alice is the Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture. Alice actively cultivates space for the meeting point of storytelling, community, activism, and disability representation—through genuine curiosity, persistent dedication, and proactive thoughtfulness.”
—Diana, legal team
Sarah Seitzinger, quality engineer at Khan Academy
“Sarah joined our Quality Engineering team three years ago and has completely leveled up our organization in terms of how we think about accessibility. Now every feature that we launch is done with accessibility in mind, and she helps us keep track of detailed feedback on how our product could better serve the needs of learners with different needs. We are so lucky to have her at Khan Academy.”
—Julia, product team
At Khan Academy, we care a great deal about accessibility and know we still have work to do. Our goal is to help ensure that learners with varying abilities and needs are able to access our materials. On May 20, the Khan Academy team will be spending the day learning more about and contributing to accessibility projects at Khan Academy by participating in a variety of events and learning opportunities.
Want to join our team at Khan Academy? Our team comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, and we actively foster a cross-disciplinary environment because we believe that’s where the magic happens. Khan Academy currently employs around 200 full-time staff members, including the creators of our educational content, who come from teaching backgrounds. Learn more and explore open positions.