The Wagner Review Podcast Series Episode 04 – The American with Disabilities Act and the Disability Rights Movement

By Emily Finkelstein

July 26, 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While there has been tremendous progress made during the disability rights movement, there is still a long way to go. Emily Finkelstein talks with Nicole Jorwic, the Senior Director of Pubic Policy at The Arc, on the ADA in 2020 and her recommendations to strengthen the ADA.

Emily also sits down with Abigail Shaw, a mentorship coordinator at Learning Ally to discuss her hopes for the future of the disability rights movement as someone who is deeply and personally impacted by it.


0:00: Welcome from Emily Finkelstein

3:43: Nicole Jorwic discuss the most impactful parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

20:40: Abigail Shaw discuss how we can better support Americans with disabilities

Guest Speakers

Nicole Jorwic

Nicole Jorwic is the Senior Director of Public Policy at The Arc, a national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Prior to joining The Arc policy team Nicole served as Senior Policy Advisor for the state of Illinois. Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities where she continued the Institute’s mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities and assisted the leadership of the state of Illinois in developing public policy driven best practices in serving individuals with disabilities. Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities, with a focus on transition-aged youth. Nicole received her JD and Child and Family Law Certificate, from Loyola University Chicago. She received her BS from the University of Illinois. Nicole is also a sibling; her brother Chris is 31 and has autism.

Abigail Shaw

Abigail Shaw strives to educate the public on persons with disabilities through her hobbies and work. She received a BS in Music Industry Studies from Appalachian State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University. Abigail works at Learning Ally, an educational solutions organization primarily serving individuals with print related disabilities. At Learning Ally, Abigail serves as the College Success Program’s mentorship coordinator for college students who are blind and contributes her skills with audio and recording to the production process of Learning Ally’s audio books. As a long-distance runner, Abigail is a member and co-captain of the New York City chapter of Achilles International, an organization promoting mainstream athletics for people with disabilities. She has competed in several national half and whole marathons and triathlons. Since June of 2019, she has been on the Advisory Committee on Transit Accessibility for New York City Transit, and currently acts as the co-chair. Whether by plane, train, or automobile—Abigail’s preferred method of transportation is with her yellow lab guide dog from Guiding Eyes for the Blind by her side.


Emily Finkelstein

Emily Finkelstein is a first-year MPA student at NYU Wagner specializing in Public Policy. She is passionate about advocating for and with individuals with disabilities and is eager to share her enthusiasm for the disability rights movement with her fellow Wagner students. Emily currently works at Human Rights First, an action and advocacy organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. She has a professional background in development, data analysis and management, and program management.

Photo Credit: rosefirerising