Virtual Event | International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 6, 2021 (7:00 pm - 8:00 pm)

Location: Virtual

In acknowledgement of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, join a panel discussion with members from the community who have experience with and are involved in projects that support persons with disabilities.

Register HERE.

Presenter bios:

Melanie Jackson ('99, '01)

Melanie Jackson (’99, ’01) is a proud alumnum and Senior Alumni Officer in the Office of Advancement at Acadia. Although she wears many hats, she is most proud of her role as a mother and advocate. Her son, Ewan, has autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, and is a long-time participant in the Acadia Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program. The genuine relationships her son has formed with his S.M.I.L.E. buddies have turned into lifelong friendships and Melanie feels extremely fortunate and proud to have this remarkable program at Acadia and in the Annapolis Valley.

Bailey Feltmate ('20)

I have been truly grateful to be able to experience the east coast. I was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, where I attended Moncton High School before moving on to Acadia University. It was there where my core values and passions were aroused and I have continually put forth effort in pursuing my passion of becoming a medical doctor, achieving the highest level of football/sport that I can, and giving back to local communities where I can.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve had the privilege of attending and graduating from Acadia University while pursuing a bachelor of kinesiology with a concentration in sports injury assessment and management. There was seemingly never a dull moment during my four years at Acadia. I was a part of the Acadia Axemen football team, the sports injury assessment and management (SIAM) program, the Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program, as well as other community and volunteer initiatives. I was an Academic All-Canadian for three years, a Top-8 Academic All-Canadian nominee and the Dr. Hugh A. Noble Award in Kinesiology recipient, which recognizes students for their contributions to the university through academic excellence, citizenship, and fair play.

I have always been a driven individual that, as mentioned before, has always wanted to give back to the community and excel academically and athletically. Acadia gave me that opportunity and I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone at this institution and in the Wolfville community who helped me and pushed me to grow as a student-athlete and human being.

I am now currently a professional football player in the Canadian Football League (CFL), playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I was selected 17th overall in the 2020 draft after graduating earlier that year. I have to say, throughout the past five years, I have experienced first-hand that your initial thought or expected pathway is not always the one you end up pursuing. I say this as I am now working to become a physician assistant or a chiropractor on top of playing football professionally.

I have continued to educate and advocate for physical activity and health (in all aspects) to youth in my community through coaching multiple sports teams and having conversations with the players. I plan on continuing to pursue professional football as well as continue to be involved with or create an organization like that of the S.M.I.L.E. program at Acadia where children, youth and adults with disabilities can engage in physical, cognitive and social activities, and continually improve those skills on a weekly basis.

Emily Duffett ('11, '13)

Emily graduated from Acadia University in 2013 with her MA in sociology, focusing on barriers to employment for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia. She also completed her undergraduate degree at Acadia and when she graduated in 2011 was the first full-time student in a manual wheelchair without a full-time assistant to graduate from the campus. She returned to Acadia in 2017 to work as the testing coordinator with Accessible Learning Services. Now in her current role, she coordinates the Work Integrated Learning Program to support student employment opportunities for students with disabilities at Acadia. She provides education/workshops on work readiness, helps students to develop career goals while connecting the goals to what is being learned in the classroom, and partners with campus and community employers to facilitate subsidized work placements. She has been heavily involved in the community, having spearheaded a youth with disabilities leadership summit, serving on numerous boards and as an advocate/advisor around accessibility/disability issues.

Dr. Emily Bremer

Dr. Emily Bremer is an incoming Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Acadia University. She received her PhD in kinesiology from McMaster University in 2019 prior to completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Her research seeks to improve the health and well-being of children and youth through increased participation in physical activity, with a particular focus on individuals experiencing disability. Emily’s passion for adapted physical activity began during her undergraduate studies through classes and research, and most importantly through her time as a volunteer hockey and soccer coach for children experiencing disability. This passion has driven Emily’s interdisciplinary and community-engaged program of research that focuses on the study of motor development, physical literacy, and adapted physical activity. Her research includes both lab- and community-based studies, with a strong emphasis on intervention design, program evaluation, and measurement.

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