tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

The MCDD is excited to sponsor several trainees this fall.

Amanda Furman

Amanda Fruman is a second-year student at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science and law and policy from Dickinson College. She is passionate about advocacy and looks forward to exploring education law through Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law).

Katherine Fasanando

Katherine Fasanando is a second-year law student at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of Houston, where she also worked as an elementary school tutor in underrepresented communities. She is passionate about enhancing student resources and promoting student success in schools. Katherine will graduate in May 2025 and hopes to pursue a career in education law.

Cindy Ibarra

Cindy Ibarra is a senior at Towson University, majoring in public health, with a strong interest in advocating for people with disabilities. She is passionate about helping and supporting diverse communities, especially those often misrepresented or misunderstood. She is excited about the opportunity to participate in various projects at the MCDD, including the Community and Professional Development Training program. Through this program, she aims to enhance her skills in translating scientific evidence into practical applications and effectively advocating for individuals with disabilities. She is eager to build on her knowledge of health education and develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and their families. With her passion, dedication and the experiences gained during her internship, Cindy is determined to make a positive impact in the field of public health and contribute to creating an inclusive society for all people.

Aiswarya Suriaprakash

Aiswarya Suriaprakash is a first-year student at the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in epidemiology and biostatistics. Aiswarya developed an interest in working with people with disabilities through her experiences at school, exposure to peers with varying abilities and the lack of knowledge and discussion about disability among her fellow students. She is eager to engage in various learning opportunities during her internship at the MCDD and including participation in several of the MCDD’s projects, such as the Community and Professional Development Training program. She eagerly anticipates acquiring the skills to translate scientific evidence into practical applications and to be an effective advocate for individuals with disabilities, all while further developing her expertise in health education. After completing her master’s program, Aiswarya plans to pursue a PhD in biostatistics. Her goal is to continue working and advocating for others, including people with disabilities and their families, using infectious disease epidemiology and statistical methods.

The MCDD also hosted additional trainees during the summer of 2023.

Lauren Adams.

Lauren Adams was a junior at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a pre-med track while majoring in psychology and minoring in legal studies. She was a scholar in the Maternal Child Health-Leadership Education, Advocacy, and Research Network (MCH-LEARN) and worked under the supervision of Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, director of training for the MCDD. Lauren was actively involved in the Faith, Disability, and Inclusive Practice project, which aims to foster inclusive faith support in Maryland faith communities and equip faith community leaders with inclusive practice tools to better support individuals with disabilities and their families. She has an interest in attending medical school to study psychiatry after she earns her bachelor's degree. Lauren aspires to become a psychiatrist, focusing on public health to enhance mental health resources in low-income areas in Baltimore City and beyond.

Manan Sharma

Manan Sharma was a second-year student, pursuing a master’s degree in counseling at Johns Hopkins University. He aspires to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor within the next four years and is interested in working with LGBTQ+ populations, specifically on issues related to grief and trauma. He is also interested in research at the intersection of mental health, politics and identity. While at the MCDD, Manan was involved in projects aimed at promoting meaningful inclusion of children with disabilities within faith communities. He envisions pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology, and this internship provided him with valuable experiences to begin working toward that goal.