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for Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials


The Joy Zabala Fellowship

for Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials Fellowship 

APPLICATIONS for 2024-2025 open on JANUARY 25, 2024:

MENTEE application

MENTOR application

Joy Smiley Zabala (1946-2021) was an inspiring leader, a gifted communicator, a passionate advocate, and a beloved friend. The Joy Zabala Fellowship will support emerging, early career professionals who, in collaboration with a seasoned mentor, will a) strengthen their expertise and skills in services supporting assistive technology (AT) and/or accessible educational materials (AEM) and b) share what they learn with the larger community of stakeholders. The focus of this fellowship is to expand and guide the provision of services of AT and/or AEM.

The steering committee of the Joy Zabala Fellowship in Assistive Technology (AT) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) is pleased to announce the 2023-24 class of JZ Fellows. The JZ Fellowship was established in 2021 to actively honor the legacy of educator Joy Zabala, whose work helped to create solutions that expand opportunities for all learners, especially those with disabilities. This is the second cohort of JZ Fellows. 

The JZ Fellowship selects AT/AEM expert applicants to serve as mentors to emerging practitioner mentees. The selected pairs then jointly create a work plan that reflects the collaboration and investment in learning that epitomized Joy’s approach to education. The inaugural cohort of JZ Fellows leveraged these partnerships to inform work in their local areas, as well as the field, in general. 

During the 2023-24 academic year, a new group of JZ Fellows will collaborate with mentors, connectors to the field, and previous fellows to develop, enhance, and disseminate AT and AEM-focused practices designed to widen educational opportunities for struggling students.

The 2023-2024 Joy Zabala Fellowship pairs are: 

Marsters & Grant, Ashton & Hayden, Worketin & Stewart

  • Dr. Aaron Marsters (mentor), an Assistive Technology Instructional System Specialist for the Department of Defense Education Activity in Europe, and Jayme Grant (mentee), an Educational and Assistive Technology Specialist  in the Beaufort County Schools in Beaufort, South Carolina, will work to increase educator and leadership capacity to implement effective and data-driven AT consideration and  implementation processes at high-risk K-12 schools.


  • Darla Ashton (mentor), an Instructional Interventionist Coach in Indiana, will work with Candace Hayden (mentee), an AT Specialist in Texas, to increase understanding, skills, tools, and resources in AT and AEM, improving procedures for providing thoughtful consideration of AT in primary and secondary schools.


  • Dr. Danalyn Workentin (mentor), an Occupational Therapist and AT Professional in Florida, will work with Megan Stewart (mentee), a Speech Language Pathologist at a school in Florida, to facilitate a school-based AT team while building AT knowledge with families and staff.


Joy Zabala Fellowship Inaugural Cohort, 2022-2023

  • Matthew Newton (mentor) & Kristin Blain (mentee)

  • Elisa Wern (mentor) & Susan Key (mentee)

  • Stacy Springer (mentor) & Bethany Britt (mentee)

Celebrate and ensure Joy’s legacy, please make your tax-deductible gift  to the Joy Zabala Fellowship today!

All donations go directly to the Joy Zabala Fellowship to support the activities of the mentorship partners. CAST, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, serves as the fiduciary agent of the Fellowship. CAST and the QIAT Leadership team donate their time and administrative support to the Fellowship.

Mail donation checks payable  to CAST, Inc. Please note Joy Zabala Fellowship on the check & mail to:
Joy Zabala Fellowship Fund, c/o CAST, Inc.178 Albion St., Suite 210 Wakefield, MA 01880

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