Meet The Interns

Jul 17, 2018

From left to right: Ansley Hopton, Deanna Ferrante, and William Elias

NOD is excited to welcome our three summer interns. Although this is only our third year of onboarding interns, we have truly benefited from their fresh perspective and excitement to learn. We are dedicated to helping our interns build upon their current skillsets by engaging in high priority projects. They have consistently proved to be exemplary additions to our team. Learn more about them here:

William Elias

Alan A. Reich Intern

William was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is the eldest boy of a family of eight. As a child, he was able to accomplish his dream of becoming a professional dancer. William worked in the industry for over thirteen years.  He has traveled extensively to Europe, Asia, South and Central America, as well as, Canada and throughout the States. He has performed with Toronto Dance Theatre, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Elisa Monte Dance Co. as well as other companies. Due to an acquired disability, he was forced to give up his dream.  William managed to remain active and worked as a flight attendant for companies such as, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, Tower Air, and Primaris Airlines.  He was an inflight instructor for Primaris, teaching potential flight attendants in Turkey, Trinidad, and New York. William is excited to be a part of the National Organization on Disability’s family for the summer.

Education: William graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2018 from CUNY’s Lehman College with a Bachelor of Arts and departmental honors. He majored in Sociology with a concentration in Urban Studies, Inequality, and Education. William also attended The Borough of Manhattan Community College where he earned his Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts studies. He is affiliated with Phi Theta Kappa, CUNY’s Golden Key International Honor Society, and Alpha Kappa Delta. He is the recipient of CUNY’s Mathew Goldstein Scholarship and Lehman College’s Hausknecht Award for Sociology.

Favorite Part of the Internship: The excitement of reporting to work and facing challenges on a daily basis is William’s favorite part of interning with the National Organization on Disability. The organization does a wonderful job in making him feel welcome.

What He Hopes to Gain from the Experience: William hopes to gain valuable office experience and insight into the workings of a non-profit organization.

Future Goals: William’s goal is to return to school in 2019 and attain a Master’s Degree in Social Work. In the interim, he is currently seeking employment in the social service sector and would enjoy doing advocacy work for those who feel they are not able to find their voice and rightful place in life.

Deanna Ferrante

ConantLeadership Intern

NOD found Deanna through our Campus to Careers program. Deanna is from Carver, Massachusetts. She has spent her whole life advocating for people with disabilities, as her little brother was diagnosed with autism a few years after birth. Since she was 12, she has been involved in the disability community as a teaching assistant for a small, therapeutic school for students in grades 5-12. She attended high school at Milton Academy, an independent school in Milton, Massachusetts. In her sophomore year of high school, she was diagnosed with a learning disability. Immersed in a school environment in which disability was adequately supported, but not frequently discussed, she began to look at her academic career in a whole new light, devoting more time to understanding the most effective way for her to learn. The addition of this new label to her identity was pivotal in how she thought about herself and her accomplishments. Now, she prides herself on the big impact that she has made on the disability community at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is enrolled. This past semester, she interned in the Assistive Technology Center, where she created an accessible handbook of all the assistive tools that are offered to UMass Amherst students. By disclosing her whole identity, she hopes to empower people to do the same. This summer is her first time living in New York City, and she is excited to explore the many unique opportunities.

Education: Deanna is a rising junior in the Commonwealth Honors College of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a candidate for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minor in Education, and certificate in Developmental Disabilities & Human Services.

Favorite Part of the Internship: Deanna’s favorite part of the internship is how she has been assigned tasks that are individualized to her strengths and interests. She has particularly enjoyed staying up to date on news pertaining to the disability community and bringing her college-student perspective to the Campus to Careers program.

What She Hopes to Gain from the Experience: Deanna hopes to learn more about the process of building and executing a public awareness campaign, particularly surrounding the branding, funding, and creative development.

Future Goals: After completing her undergraduate degree, Deanna hopes to continue her education to obtain a Doctorate Degree in School Psychology or Disability Studies. Deanna ultimately aspires to work at an independent secondary school advocating for students with learning disabilities.

Ansley Hopton

Returning NOD Intern

This is Ansley’s third summer as an intern for NOD. Ansley was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2001. Only several months old, her family moved to New Jersey where she was raised alongside her siblings. Ansley was four when her younger brother, Braden, was born. It was soon discovered that Braden was born with Down syndrome, a common genetic disorder. Having little experience and involvement with the disability community, Ansley and her family would embark on a new endeavor of uncharted territory. Throughout childhood, Ansley and Braden developed an everlasting bond that would provide Ansley with the immeasurable drive and momentum that pushed her to get involved as an advocate and activist for disability inclusion. Growing up with Braden, Ansley has approached life in a unique way, and this has given her qualities such as patience, compassion, and kindness. Ansley is a Student Ambassador-Mentor for the Arc of Essex County, the Junior Board Fundraising and Community Outreach President for the Candle Lighters, and participates in many clubs offered at her school, including the Special Olympics Program. Ansley, now approaching her senior year of high school, plans to be a student volunteer for the Special Education program of Madison High School.

Education: Ansley will be a graduate of the Class of 2019 at Madison High School in Madison, New Jersey. She is looking to attend a highly competitive university where she can further her education and continue to develop the strengths and qualities of a well-rounded individual.

Favorite Part of the Internship: Ansley’s favorite part of the internship is the invaluable experience she has gained as a result of working in an office throughout her time in high school. Her several summers with NOD have allowed Ansley to expand upon her role each summer, taking on new tasks and roles within the office. The independence, interactions with others in the office, and job experience have provided Ansley with the tools she needs to confidently enter college, participate in future internships, and excel in the workplace.

What She Hopes to Gain from the Experience: Ansley seeks growth of her job experience, maturity, and overall character development. She plans to use the tools she has learned at NOD to advance in college and the workplace.

Future Goals: Ansley is looking to obtain an undergraduate degree in business and later attend law school. She is considering minoring in political science due to her interest in U.S. government and politics. After furthering her education, Ansley hopes to enter a competitive work environment where she can use the skills she has acquired and create change in the world. Ansley sees herself continuing her involvement alongside individuals of all abilities and advocating for equal opportunity, acceptance, and inclusion for all.

The NOD team is excited to help William, Deanna, and Ansley reach their goals this summer, and we cannot wait to see what else they bring to their positions.

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