July 13 | General Session
Kevin is a Product Manager at Waymo focused on Rider Experience and the Waymo One Rider App. Through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inclusive Design Challenge, Kevin is leading a team to build tools to help riders achieve independence through access to Waymo technology. The Challenge seeks solutions to improve passenger vehicle accessibility, encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations, incentivize development of new designs and technologies, and tap into the creativity and knowledge of the disability community, researchers, advocates, and entrepreneurs.
Before Waymo, Kevin was a full-stack Software Engineer (responsible for the front and back-end of websites) at Google working on telephony voice-assistants for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). He also worked on infrastructure and applications at Google Brain, and crowd-sourced motion maps in Android. Kevin holds a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science and a Masters in Computer Science, all from University of California Santa Barbara.
July 14 | General Session
Professor Tom Shakespeare
Tom Shakespeare is Professor of Disability Research in the medical faculty at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) where he currently focuses his efforts as a sociologist and bioethicist. Professor Shakespeare served as a technical officer (TO) at the World Health Organisation (WHO), where he co-authored ‘The World Report on Disability’ (2011).
Publications include Disability Rights and Wrongs (2006), Defying Disability: The Lives and Legacies of Nine Disabled Leaders (2009), while his academic publications number well over one hundred.
Tom is Chair of an International NGO — Light for the World (https://www.light-for-the-world.org) which works to break down barriers to unlock potential. Tom has been involved in the disability movement for decades and became even more focused upon completion of his PhD at King’s College, Cambridge, subsequent to studies in history, art, political science, & philosophy.
Prior to the LSHTM appointment Tom was Professor of Disability Research in the medical faculty at the University of East Anglia (UEA). At UEA, he conducted research, including one regarding group singing and its beneficial effects against depression and anxiety; the findings were published in the academic journal Medical Humanities.
He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in July 2018.
In 2016 Tom was featured on the ITV show 500 Questions, winning £14,000 by answering 42 out of 50 questions.
July 15 | General Session - Colin McLaurin Lecture
Dr. Jan Miller Polgar
Jan Miller Polgar was a full-time faculty member in the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University from 1983 to 2018, where she taught the assistive technology course for several years. Her research focused on mobility technology (wheeled mobility and vehicular technology) involving users across the lifespan, and included product development and technology transfer, product evaluation at both the conceptual stage and after technology transfer and evaluation of different aspects of assistive technology use and outcome evaluation. Further, her work investigated consumers’ perspectives on technology use (both assistive and vehicular technology). She was a member of the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence since its inception, leading projects investigating different aspects of older adults’ perceptions and use of vehicular technology. She participated as a co-investigator on two Canadian Institutes of Health Research team grants: CanDRIVE investigating driving in older adults and CanWheel, investigating different aspects of older adults’ use of wheeled mobility devices. She was also a member of AGEWELL NCE, which focused on assistive technology to support the lives of older adults. She is the co-author of the last three editions of Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practices, the leading textbook on the subject, globally. With her co-authors, Dr. AM Cook and later Dr. Pedro Encarnação, she refined the Human, Activity, Assistive Technology model that is used to guide assistive technology development, evaluation and service delivery.