The Boggs Center Celebrates New Jersey Partners in Policymaking 2024 Graduates

Friday, May 3, 2024

Partners in Policymaking NJ Logo

The Boggs Center, New Jersey’s federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service, celebrated the graduation of its seventh Partners in Policymaking Class on Saturday, April 20, 2024, in New Brunswick. New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities and family members of young children and transition age youth available through collaboration between the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights New Jersey. The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state.

New Jersey’s program is one of twenty-eight Partners in Policymaking programs across the country. This year’s class of nine people with disabilities and seventeen family members join more than 30,000 graduates across the country ready to collaborate with policymakers to increase the inclusion, self-determination, and well-being of people with disabilities. Graduates were celebrated in-person through empowering and inspiring remarks by Mercedes Witowsky, Executive Director of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities along with Gwen Orlowski, JD, Executive Director of Disability Rights New Jersey. Colleen McLaughlin, MEd, Associate Director of The Boggs Center and Partners Program Director, and Jaime Zahid, BA, Training and Consultation Specialist and Partners Participant Coordinator, also shared congratulatory remarks.

The event culminated with presentations from each of the graduates, who shared stories of learning and advocacy across the lifespan, relationship building, and future goals to creating meaningful change. This powerful group will lead the way toward advocating for lasting change that will help people with disabilities realize their vision for life.

Congratulations to this year's graduates:

2024 Graduates

Phillip Antone
Rachel Bhatia
Teresa Castellan
Talia Charles
Ali Haegele
Suri Hernandez
Sara Jablonowski-Kirk
Heather Kumor
Sarah Leuzzi
Dalia Lorenz
Kerry McGrath
Axel McNamara
Yana Mermel

Paul Migliore
Mary Fay Narin
Jynell Osbouren Belle
Anna Pickoff-White
Edyta PoplawskiJane Potter
Gina Rathjens
Nickiesha Samuels
Brandon Scott
Fei Shan
Vandana Sharma
Jake Simon
Amanda Villamar