Pac Rim 2024

Pre-Conference Events

Symposium STEM

Symposium on Postsecondary Transition of Neurodivergent Students Having Potential in STEM

Monday, February 26, 2024
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (HST)

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Campus Center Conference Room


Students with disabilities have been underrepresented in postsecondary STEM programs and the workforce, and their potential in STEM has been under-identified. To build a culture of belonging for neurodivergent students and provide effective support at school and transition to the workplace, this symposium is for educators, researchers, and practitioners. Attendees will learn important concepts and effective strategies through interactive lectures and hands-on activities.


Scott Bellman
Scott Bellman serves as Interim Director of the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) Center at the University of Washington, and Associate Director of Diversity at the UW Center for Neurotechnology. He is PI of Neuroscience for Neurodiverse Learners, and leads the West Coast Hub of the NSF INCLUDES TAPDINTO-STEM Alliance. He attended the University of Iowa, where he received a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. He is the editor of the book Perspectives of STEM Students with Disabilities, and has published several articles that share work promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Lisa Galloway, PhD
Dr. Lisa Galloway holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, and has extensive experience teaching and mentoring high school students. She worked for 20 years as a high school teacher in Canada, California and Hawai’i, and for 6 years has been at the Center on Disability Studies at UH Mānoa focused on developing curriculum supporting Native Hawaiian students, with and without disabilities, entering STEM fields. She lives on Lānaʻi and is currently working on projects Hōkūlani and CLD TEAMS to support Pacific Island students.

Ronda Jenson, PhD
Dr. Ronda Jenson is a professor at Northern Arizona University (NAU) with joint appointments in Psychological Sciences and Education Specialties. She also serves as the Research Director at the NAU Institute for Human Development. Dr. Jenson has spearheaded several projects funded by the National Science Foundation aimed at enhancing the participation of individuals with disabilities in STEM fields. Her research portfolio encompasses both K-12 and post-secondary education, focusing on themes such as access to education, effective models of professional development, knowledge translation, and inclusive practices.

Hye Jin Park, EdD
Dr. Hye Jin Park, Associate Professor at the Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, has directed and evaluated numerous federal grant funded projects, including three U.S. DOE Gifted and Talented Education Program grant funded projects that serve underrepresented groups of gifted students such as twice-exceptional students and culturally and linguistically diverse students. She also has taught gifted education courses at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and has provided educator and parent training. Her main research interest includes exceptional students, postsecondary transition, STEM education, and strength-based education.

Maya Matheis, PhD, M.S.W.
Dr. Maya Matheis, M.S.W., is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Associate Director of the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. She completed her MSW at Washington University in St. Louis, her PhD in clinical psychology at Louisiana State University, and her pre/postdoctoral training at the UC Davis MIND Institute, where she completed the Autism Research Training Program (ARTP). Her clinical specialization is in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research interests focus on community-based implementation of interventions for ASD, with particular emphasis on training and support for non-specialists such as teachers, parents, and community health workers.

Kiriko Takahaski, PhD
Dr. Kiriko Takahashi, is an Associate Specialist at the Center on Disability Studies (CDS), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She is a learning disabilities specialist with over 20 years of experience working with children and adults across the lifespan. Her research interests are diverse and includes topics on transition of students with disabilities in the STEM pipeline, culturally responsive curriculum and teaching, inclusive education, Universal Design for Learning, and use of assistive technology. She is also the Director of the Pacific Basin University Center for Excellence and supports communities across the Pacific region.

Patrick Gartside
Patrick Gartside is the founding executive director of Work Now Hawaii, a community based nonprofit employment training and contract service organization based on Oahu. As the president of the Hawaii chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (Hawaii APSE), he helps to lead the State in its Employment First initiatives. Patrick also serves on the Statewide Independent Living Council of Hawaii, which helps to advance independent living philosophy, or the belief that people with disabilities should have the same rights, choices, and opportunities as people living without disabilities.


How to Register

Please submit this registration form by February 9, 2024.


This symposium is co-sponsored by Project BEAM, CLD TEAMS, and NSF Includes.


Dr. Hye Jin Park
(808) 956-9994