ADA Amplified

IUFW ADA Amplified Symposium Spring 2024: Intersectionality

Join us for our Spring 2024 ADA Symposium where our keynote speaker will describe intersections of the broader disability community. 

Event details

Thursday, March 21 
10 a.m.-2 p.m. (doors open at 9:30 a.m.)
PFW/IU Fort Wayne Campus
International Ballroom
Walb Student Union, Union Circle Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46815

Parking is available in Parking Garage 2 (P2)

Register for the ADA Amplified Symposium

Lunch, provided by the Genesis Health Bar, will be served to all attendees at noon. Each attendee will receive a copy of the award-winning book Disability Visibility, which is edited by renowned activist Alice Wong. 

What is intersectionality?

There is tremendous diversity and multiculturalism that exists within the disability community (Disability Visibility Project, n.d.). Disability is not a homogenous category as there is significant and important heterogeneity that exists under the disability umbrella (CDC, 2020). An essential part of understanding and addressing health inequities that people living with a disability face is to learn more about the different experiences of diverse groups that add to the multi-cultural makeup of the disability community (Administration for Community Living, 2020). 



10-10:15 a.m. - Welcome and opening remarks

10:15- 11 a.m. - Aaron Eckhardt

11- 11:45 a.m. - Dr. Schavalla Rivera 

11:45- 12:30 p.m. - Lunch & attendee table discussion

12:30-1:30 p.m. - Panel discussion: Aaron Eckhardt, Dr. Rivera, Kris Wise, Jomale Collier

1:30-2 p.m. - Questions and closing remarks


Aaron Eckhardt

Recently, started as the Deputy Director of the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) in Indianapolis. Aaron brings 25+ years of social work practice and experience working with multiple populations and communities. As well as 17+ years of Nonprofit Senior Leadership and governance experience. Aaron also served as a member of the Governance Committee of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) for six years. Aaron is the most recent past chairperson for the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Council, which advises the Ohio Governor on all matters relating to family violence. Aaron has spent years developing and delivering cultural competency/humility and anti-oppression training. In addition, over the past 20 years, Aaron has developed and provided training and program technical assistance throughout the United States. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, they graduated from Upper Arlington High School and Capital University. They began their career in Kentucky working in child protection social work. After graduating with their Master of Social Work from Spalding University, they moved to Chicago, IL, and worked for seven years developing and providing services to those experiencing homelessness. They also have and currently serve on many boards, coalitions, and community committees. Aaron lives in the Victorian Village neighborhood of Columbus, OH, and enjoys all things baseball, amateur photography, listening to music, and singing whenever possible. They also love spending time with their partner and two dogs, Nieko and Regina.

Schvalla R. Rivera, Ph.D., CDE

Schvalla R. Rivera, Ph.D., CDE, serves as the inaugural Director for the United Front Initiative,  an organization under the umbrella of Fort Wayne United. Dr. Rivera is the founder and CEO of Consiliaris LLC, a coaching and consultant firm.  She brings 20 years of experience in higher education administration, policy, Inclusion, and Belonging. Dr. Rivera is a Certified Diversity Executive and collaborates with executive leadership to create institutional policies and respond to bias-related incidents. She also collaborates with leaders to increase cultural competency by facilitating dialogues, increasing self-awareness, and providing opportunities for people to engage across differences. 

Dr. Rivera is passionate about mentoring and career advocacy. She holds a B.A. in Social Science from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a Master's in Political Science and International Relations, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana State University. A firm believer in servant leadership, her work is her passion and calling. She hopes to change the world through education, engagement, grace, and humor. 


I was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is a connective tissue disorder. I have lived in Fort Wayne for the past 12 years. I'm originally from South Bend, IN. Since being in Fort Wayne I have tried multiple sports and gotten into weight which I have done for the past 10 years. I have also received two bachelor's degrees. My first being from Purdue University Fort Wayne in Biology with a concentration in genetics, molecular, and cellular biology. My second degree from Purdue University Global in Nutrition. Currently, I am preparing to take my board exam to become Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition. I hope to use my experience in practicing clinical nutrition later on for PA school.

Ally Counseling & Consulting

Kris is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked in Northeast Indiana for over 20 years. His passion for social change found him at home in non-profit and higher education arenas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of St. Francis and a master’s degree in social work from Indiana University. Clinical practice specialties include substance use, trauma, families, sexuality, and gender. He was a trainer for the National Association of Social Worker’s HIV Spectrum Project providing training across the United States in high incident areas, Partnership for Health Trainer, educating providers in Motivational Interviewing, and has provided LGBTQ+ diversity training for non-profits and the public as we work towards inclusion and equity in our community. Kris has over 20 years of experience in direct practice, leadership, program evaluation, implementation science, and advocacy. He has served as clinical director at SCAN, Allen County Drug & Alcohol Consortium (DAC), and was director of Client Services for the Positive Resource Connection. Kris has received recognition for his leadership in HIV services by the Indiana Department of Health and was named NASW Social Work of the Year in 2018 for Indiana Region 3. His passion for evidence-based practice and research took him to the IU School of Social Work where he was a lecturer for 3 years, after previously serving as an adjunct faculty, field supervisor, and practicum liaison for over 10 years.  Kris’s higher education experience also includes Manchester University and the University of St. Francis. He is currently continuing social work practice as the co-founder of Ally Counseling & Consulting, as well as therapy services at the BRAVE Alliance serving LGBTQ+ youth, adults, and families.

Thank you to our partners

  • AWS Foundation
  • GiGi’s Playhouse
  • Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Redbird Studios
  • The League
  • Turnstone
  • United Front