Stephanie Hurd, President
I have been a resident of Portsmouth for 30 years, where my husband Gary and I raised our two daughters. Over time, I have been involved in the community in different ways such as our local Lions Club which performs vision screenings in schools, provides need based vision exams and glasses vouchers, Thanksgiving baskets, and so on. As a member of Middle Street Baptist Church, I have taught Sunday school, am a current deacon, share music as part of a worship team during services, and serve on various boards and committees. My professional career currently as an Assistive Technology/Activities Specialist, began in 2007 with prior roles as Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Community Relations Coordinator for Future In Sight, a nonprofit organization providing services to people who are blind and visually impaired. I am also affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of NH and the Coalition of Blind and Visually Impaired Voters in NH. I am a passionate advocate, who believes all people should live out their dreams. In 2022, I competed in Seacoast Skating with the Stars (an opportunity of a lifetime), leading by example for others with vision loss to hold onto their sense of “vision” that speaks about confidence, perseverance, thriving, and fulfillment! “Vision” sees way beyond “sight”!
Emma Miller, Vice President and Arts and Crafts Lead
I am an undergraduate at Keene State College with majors in legal studies, holocaust, genocide, studies, and history, and I am also in the honors college. I am president of the Pre Law Society and a member of Delta Xi Phi and an Aspire tutor. My goal is to obtain a master's degree in Mediation, and Genocide Prevention, and to go to law school for human rights. I have been blind, since I was six years old due to a brain tumor on my optic nerves, causing the majority of my vision to be lost. I have been a braille and auditory learner since I was six.
Madeline “ Maddie” Babcock, Vice President and Sports and Recreation Lead
I’m a freshman at Fairfield University, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Education. I want to get a master's in Education and then go to law school for disability rights with a focus on education. I am an ambassador of my school's Office of Accessibility Ambassador’s Team, an orientation leader, and am on the board of the Massachusetts Association of Blind Students. I have a female German Shepherd guide dog and love to go on walks with her. I was born legally blind and have attended many blind camps along with having worked at a camp for blind teenagers.
Andrea Bilello, Treasurer and Previous President
I am an itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and a Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist (CATIS) at the Strafford Learning Center in Somersworth, NH. I have a master's degree in special education from UMaine, Orono, and Vision Studies from UMASS, Boston. I have presented at several international and regional conferences about students with visual impairment, technology, and college entrance exams. With over 18 years of experience in education, I enjoy teaching students who are blind and visually impaired and providing instruction in assistive technology. In my spare time, I enjoy walking, kayaking, and spending time outdoors with my daughter and husband.
Rebecca Weber, Secretary and Website/Accessibility Specialist
My name is Rebecca but everyone calls me Becca. I work as an Assistive Technology Teacher at Overbrook School for the Blind and graduated from Kutztown University in 2021. I am a Teacher of Blind and Low Vision Students and work with students between the ages of 3 and 21 to use a variety of technology including screen readers, screen magnification, braille displays and notetakers, and accessibility features of phones and tablets. I volunteer with the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Library in New York where I facilitate technology workshops for library patrons. In my free time, I enjoy baking and spending time with my siblings and nephew.
Drew Crook, Website/Accessibility Specialist
I am a forward-thinking Software Engineer with a passion for accessibility and its transformative impact on technology. My goal is to empower individuals with education, employment, independence, and a better quality of life through accessible technology. I have a unique understanding of the relationship between accessibility and technology, having lived with a degenerative retinal condition since birth that has resulted in a gradual loss of vision. Despite this, I have learned to leverage various tools and technology to lead a full and fulfilling life.
As an accessibility architect, I have shaped native mobile experiences across Android, iOS, and tvOS, ensuring that users of all abilities can have seamless and accessible experiences. My journey with accessibility began with web accessibility, but I have since expanded my expertise to native mobile platforms. I have a deep understanding of the importance of accessibility in the development process and am committed to incorporating it into every project I work on.
My passion for technology stems from its ability to create meaningful change for individuals facing various challenges. After starting my career in the financial sector, I discovered a lack of resources to succeed and made the difficult decision to transition to a career in technology. I am a proud graduate of the General Assembly Software Engineering Immersive program and The Seeing Eye® located in Morristown, NJ, where I was paired with my guide dog, Don. The impact that my guide dog has had on my life is immeasurable, providing me with independence and access to opportunities that were previously out of reach.
I am eager to share my story and knowledge with others, using technology, optimism, and companionship to help individuals live full and independent lives. I believe that with the right tools and support, everyone can reach their full potential.
Kelly Spain-Kelly, Parent Member
I am an ACVREP certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist who has been working in the field since 2017. I received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education which I obtained from Salve Regina University and subsequently earned my Master of Education in Vision Studies from UMass Boston. My passion for my career stems from my own personal experience of having a daughter who is visually impaired. When I am not working I love spending time with my family and friends or being active outdoors. I live in Southern NH with my husband, three daughters, and two dogs.
Sean Kelly, Parent Member
I am an Executive Sales Agent at an insurance company and have a daugther who is visually impaired.
Leanne Merren, Member at Large
I am Camp Assistant at Michigan Department of Education Low-Incidence Outreach and Camp Tuhsmeheta (Camp T). Prior to being a camp assistant, I was a BVI counsultant and camp counselor at Camp T for several years. I have played and coached goalball with my husband, Tyler, and together we have four children. Lastly, i have held leadership positions with several BVI-related organizations while homeschooling my children full time.
Tyler Merren, Member at Large
I am a motivational speaker, Paralympic athlete that plays goalball, and personal trainer. I am the owner and creator of Revision Fitness LLC, the audio fitness app and live with my wide, Leanne and our children.
Kwaku Darko, Counselor
My name is Kwaku. I was born in Ghana, West Africa, and came to the States when I was 5 years old. As I'm legally blind, the States taught me braille and encouraged my not yet discovered passion for music. I went from drumming in music class in fourth grade, to teaching myself piano, drum set, bass, guitar, and taking saxophone lessons, all in my middle school years. Now I'm finishing my fourth semester at Berklee, having just studied at our Spain campus. When I'm not doing music, I'm keeping creative with poetry, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, traveling, consuming YouTube and Netflix, and working on my Spanish.