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 and the Interim Director of Services and Education at the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Tech. In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of AT projects and programs, including the National Pass It On Center. Carolyn 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.
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 at the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation 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 also serves on the Board of Directors at NMD United, Inc., a non-profit organization led by adults living with neuromuscular disabilities and provides outreach and raises disability 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. 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 Marietta, Georgia with her hero of a husband.
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 | CIDI 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.
Educational Outreach Manager
Gina Gelinas is the Educational Outreach Manager for Tools for Life at the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation. She is responsible for assisting students, teachers, administrators and others within the K-12 setting in finding effective assistive technology (AT) solutions to improve student achievement, productivity, and independence.
Certified as a Speech-Language Pathologist (CCC-SLP), Gina has over 30 years’ experience in public education. She has experience as a practitioner and in leadership. Having served as the Program Manager for the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology, she understands the importance of creating a strong foundation for assistive technology at the administrative level. Throughout her career, Gina has worked on numerous assistive technology guides, resources and toolkits that have been recognized nationally.
Gina is passionate about helping individuals find the appropriate assistive technology to help them be successful in their education, employment, homes and communities. She also finds satisfaction in empowering educators to embrace and implement assistive technology for their students. When Gina isn’t working you will find her camping with her family. She lives in Monroe, Georgia.
Rachel Wilson is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and serves as an Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist for Tools for Life, the Georgia Assistive Technology Act Program. She provides assistance to feature-match individuals of all ages and all disabilities with assistive technology to enhance daily lives. Rachel is the lead when it comes to aging-well and aging with disabilities. Following a career of over 25 years specializing in rehabilitation, transitioning out of nursing homes back to the home of choice, and aging in place, Rachel provides her knowledge and experience to effectively support people to be independent and have fulfilling lives. Her interests include AT, advocacy, self-determination, and functional independence so individuals can live, learn, work, and play in communities of their choice. Rachel received her degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and her certification from the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapist (NBCOT).
Tori Hughes 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 also manages all Tools for Life social media.
Tori 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 has also commentated at the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race for the wheelchair division in 2014, 2016, and 2018 sharing her knowledge of the sport and the athletes with Atlanta. Tori lives in Rockmart with her fiancé 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.
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.
Dr. Ben Satterfield
Dr. Ben Satterfield is a Research Associate at the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Tech. His research is focused on measuring outcomes of AT use. Ben has a background as an instructional designer who participated in the design of several software titles for young children and children with disabilities. He is also a conference presenter and workshop instructor. Ben served as the President of the Dunamis Educational Foundation and the President/CEO of Dunamis, Inc. He taught in a public high school near Richmond, Va. for seven years and served five years as a Head Soccer Coach and in sports administration at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also worked for two years as a software designer at ChalkBoard, Inc.
Ben holds a BA in History from William & Mary, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Virginia. In 2007, Ben completed work on his doctoral program in Instructional Technology and Distance Education at NOVA Southeastern University. Today he is a Research Associate with GA Tools for Life at Georgia Tech and an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia College of Education teaching the graduate course in AAC in the Communication Science and Special Education Department.
As the Graphic Designer for CIDI and Tools for Life program, Kayla designs and provides unique solutions to help create innovative and inclusive experiences for others. Her responsibilities include the development and production of a variety of assets across multiple platforms from print to web. Kayla earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Arts and Design and Master of Science degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. She has been able to utilize her unique skillset by working in a variety of environments from broadcast news to higher education. Her most recent experience was in the Marketing and Public Relations department at a technical college, where she was responsible for the development and dissemination of assets internally and externally across three campuses, multiple satellite centers, and a one-of-a-kind veteran's resource center.