2021 Forward in Access Awards

The McBurney Center Access Awards recognize faculty, staff dedicated to building an inclusive educational community

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, every student should have an equal chance to succeed in the classroom.  

The McBurney Disability Resource Center has been dedicated to pursuing that vision for over 50 years — working to ensure people with disabilities have equal rights, access, and opportunities on our campus. 

Over 3,600 Badgers are supported annually by the services offered by the McBurney Center — a critical resource guiding our campus in the important work of creating an accessible educational community.  

This fall, the McBurney Center recognized several of their outstanding partners who are leading the campus community forward in access for students with disabilities. Eight staff and faculty members were presented with Access Awards to celebrate their efforts in creating an inclusive educational experience for all students. 

Learn more about the achievements of this year’s recognized individuals and getting connected with the McBurney Center below:

Top Left – Rakshya Bhatta Top Center – Keith Brown Top Right – Jen Le Middle Left – Lauren “Lo” Klink Middle Right – Ozzyie Chen Bottom Left – Jessica Esse Bottom Center – Stevi Parmentier Bottom Right – Willem Weigel
Top Left – Rakshya Bhatta Top Center – Keith Brown Top Right – Jen Le Middle Left – Lauren “Lo” Klink Middle Right – Ozzyie Chen Bottom Left – Jessica Esse Bottom Center – Stevi Parmentier Bottom Right – Willem Weigel

Keith Brown, Assistant Director for Special Awards and Student Employment, Office of Student Financial Aid

Keith Brown and the rest of the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH) team have been instrumental in maintaining the McBurney Center’s Scholarship Program and supporting the financial needs of students with disabilities. 

Brown’s patience and dedication to managing the scholarship cycle during the COVID-19 pandemic was an invaluable asset in ensuring access and inclusion for students with disabilities in an unprecedented time. Whenever questions regarding access came up, the team was invested and quick to improve processes.

The McBurney Scholarships are necessary to help offset the costs of self-care, symptom management, and other financial burdens students with disabilities can incur while pursuing higher education. Without Brown and his team’s help, the McBurney Center Scholarship Program may very well have had to take a hiatus.  

Jim Franzone
Jim Franzone

Jim Franzone, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Program, School of Business Leadership

In his leadership role, Frazone continuously goes above and beyond to ensure equity for students at UW–Madison. Over the years, Franzone has been fully trusting of the McBurney Center staff recommendations and guidance, especially in more sensitive situations around late drops or student concerns. He is extremely communicative and supportive of students and accommodations.

Franzone’s actions show his dedication to building equal access for students in the program.  Over the long history of working together, Franzone always communicates with McBurney Center as well as directly with students in a compassionate way. Because of this positive behavior, students report they feel respected, and heard by Franzone and that he is seen as an invaluable resource and advocate for their needs. 

Top Left – Rakshya Bhatta Top Center – Keith Brown Top Right – Jen Le Middle Left – Lauren “Lo” Klink Middle Right – Ozzyie Chen Bottom Left – Jessica Esse Bottom Center – Stevi Parmentier Bottom Right – Willem Weigel
Clare Haden

Clare Haden, Lecturer, Department of Theatre and Drama

During a semester that was increasingly stressful due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haden stepped up to support her students with kindness and flexibility. 

Instructor Haden met on a weekly basis with a struggling student throughout the fall semester.  She assisted the student through her assignments and was providing support beyond what is required. She offered flexibility with all due dates and would respond extremely quickly when students reached out to communicate need or confusion.   

“Clare Haden is a wonderful campus partner and instructor,” said Access Consultant Jessie Kourliouros.  

Carey McAndrews is standing with Alfonso Morales, dept chair.
Dr. Carey McAndrews, standing with Alfonso Morales, dept chair.

Dr. Carey McAndrews, Associate Professor, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture.  

As the instructor for a class that had a mid-semester Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) request, Dr. McAndrews showed thoughtful open-mindness, and support,  creating an educational environment built on the foundation that inclusion is important, welcomed, and not burdensome. 

She is a great representation of faculty who take the responsibility of accessibility seriously and represent that belief to all students in the class. Her warmth and graciousness around this accommodation every class period had a direct impact on all those in the classroom and will continue to impact them in their future classes and workplace. In general, Dr. McAndrews is a sensitive, warm, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and professional instructor who represents the very best of inclusion and diversity on our campus.

Picture of Laura holding her award
Laura Schmidli

Laura Schmidli, Senior Instructional Technology Consultant, L&S Learning Support Services

Schmidli worked closely with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program to provide appropriate and timely Canvas access to her class during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schmidli quickly jumped in to ensure access to accommodations for students and get CART and Interpreter Service Providers access to the audio and preparation materials.  

Without Schmidli’s quick action and assistance, accommodations could have been delayed and students would not have had access to their classes.

Picture of Paul holding his award
Paul Stoy

Paul Stoy, Associate Professor, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

In his classroom, Stoy spends an enormous amount of energy to create an inclusive, welcoming, and flexible environment for learning which positively affects all students.By working closely with the service provider for his class, captioner Nicole Bresnick, he worked hard to ensure accessibility.

According to Bresnick, “Dr. Stoy repeatedly has shown an above-and-beyond dedication to all his students, with that extra eye on equal access at the same time.”

Justin Sukiennik, Associate Faculty Associate, Department of Math 

When students ask for help, Sukiennik is always willing to individualize his approach and works closely with the McBurney Center and students to ensure they have adequate accommodations in his courses. Sukiennik assisted a student experiencing a flare-up in symptoms with compassion and care. He allowed them an informal stop-the-clock break, stayed on the video with them until they felt better, allowed their mom to comfort them as well, and ultimately gave up an additional hour of his time to proctor the exam for the student. 

Sukiennik has also been an active member in the McBurney Orientation and Service Training program for first-year students. Serving on the faculty panel, he shares invaluable information with students navigating the transition to college life. 

“I, personally, light up every time I see Justin’s name pop through on my caller ID because I know our conversation is about to be productive, collaborative, and fruitful,” said Tessa Timler, the McBurney Center.  

Angela Zito stands with award
Angela Zito

​​Angela Zito, Faculty Associate, Department of English

In addition to being a liaison with the McBurney Center for the past three years, Angela Zito leads four different workshops each semester on writing with disability.  

Zito’s workshops provide an opportunity for people with disabilities, who have reported feeling under-supported time and time again, to connect with support for an area of academics that is often impacted by disability. In addition to skill-building, the workshops have given rise to community-building and normalizing the disability experience.  

Further, Zito has also led the charge to develop an Accessibility Statement for the Writing Center. She enlisted a team of individuals who identify as disabled to challenge the status quo of ableism and put accessibility into action. Zito’s work highlights an important step in acknowledging much of academia and academic writing is centered around ableism. 

Getting connected with the McBurney Center 

The McBurney Disability Resource Center provides a variety of services and support to people with disabilities and works collaboratively with students to provide effective student accommodations. 

The center works with UW–Madison students with physical, learning, hearing, vision, psychological, health, and other disabilities substantially affecting a major life activity. Many students have non-apparent disabilities such as depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, AD/HD, and health conditions such as Crohn’s disease or fibromyalgia.

The McBurney Center champions the decisions, processes, and policies that protect students’ right to reasonable accommodations, encourage personal growth, and support student self-advocacy and self-determination. 

If you are interested in applying for accommodations, read more about the process or schedule an appointment by contacting McBurney Center Access Consultants and Staff, who are available 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you would like to support the work of the McBurney Center by being a notetaker in one of your courses, find more information on their website