Administrative Assistant - Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach; Project Manager - Disability Poetics, BS Human Development and Family Science with a Disability Studies Minor, Syracuse Universityrazubal@syr.edu
Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri is the Administrative Assistant of the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach at the Burton Blatt Institute. She is a recent non-traditional, cum laude graduate in the Human Development & Family Science program at Falk College, with a Disability Studies Minor, at Syracuse University (SU). Her current research interests include Self-Advocacy, Representations of Disability in Popular Culture, and Interdisciplinary Disability Studies.
Rachael has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people with disabilities, including broad-based support to multiple disability rights initiatives on campus, in the CNY area, and nationally, through many grant-funded projects and opportunities as well as via long-term relationships with community agencies and programs while working for over 30 years at SU’s Center on Human Policy. She is a founding member of the university’s undergraduate disability rights organization, the Disability Student Union (DSU). Rachael serves on the Disability Events Planning Committee, a subcommittee of the Disability Access and Inclusion Council at SU, and is Assistant Editor of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature. Rachael’s current activities include serving as Co-Advisor of the Self-Advocacy Network (formerly Self-Advocates of CNY), Project Manager for the Disability Poetics video series, and has previously served as a Board Member of Disabled in Action of Greater Syracuse, Inc.
Rachael is also co-creator (with Diane R. Wiener) of “Cripping” the Comic Con, the first of its kind interdisciplinary and international symposium on disability and popular culture, previously held at SU. Rachael is also co-coordinator of the Geek/Art CONfluence, a comic con focused on creativity, inclusion, and diversity in geek culture which is hosted at SU. At conferences and as a guest lecturer, she has for many years presented on the X-Men comic books, Deadpool. popular culture, and disability rights and identities. As a Neurodivergent parent to an Autistic son, Rachael also writes and presents about neurodiversity and autism parenting, seeking to debunk and disrupt traditional representations of “the autism mom.” Their most recent work includes poetry published in Wordgathering and two articles published in the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, co-authored with Diane R. Wiener.