Oct. 4, 2022
Seven members of the University of Missouri community recently received Lee Henson Access Mizzou Awards in recognition of their achievements in promoting accessibility at MU.
The award, named after a former Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator at MU, honors Tigers working to make the university a more inclusive place for people with disabilities. This is the ninth year Mizzou has celebrated the award.
Learn more about this year’s recipients.
Student award: Kelly Wink
Kelly Wink, an MU senior, is president of the Mizzou Disability Coalition (MDC) and previously served on the Panhellenic Association accessibility committee.
“A lack of inclusion is truly an act of injustice,” Wink said. “I am thankful to have found opportunities to begin resolving some of these issues.”
Wink has visited over 450 restrooms on campus to ensure accessible signage is displayed. She also raised money to create Braille maps and helped efforts to repair inaccessible sidewalks in Greektown.
“Kelly truly cares about the disabled community and wants to make an inclusive, accessible environment for every individual on and off Mizzou’s campus,” said former MDC President Sophia Martino, who nominated Wink.
Faculty award: John Bowders, Jr.
John Bowders, Jr. is a retired engineering professor who incorporated accessibility in the classroom.
“Bringing the ADA information to the attention of our civil engineering students, especially during their senior design projects, was really rewarding,” Bowders said. “Once they realized the need for accessibility, the future professional civil engineers often had novel and excellent design solutions.”
Bowders said he is grateful to those who have helped make life easier for people with disabilities and glad he could also make a difference. “I just want to do what I can to expand accessible infrastructure for as many people as I can,” he said.
Staff award: David McReynolds
David McReynolds is the assistant director of custodial services/maintenance operations in facility operations. ADA Coordinator Amber Cheek, who nominated McReynolds, said his efforts to improve elevators, sidewalks and curb cuts make him an unsung hero of accessibility at Mizzou.
“I take my job seriously and help all of the campus community members when and where I can,” McReynolds said. “I try to be thoughtful and bring any relative accessibility items to the top of the list of priorities.”
Group award: David Glaab and Jerale Nichols
David Glaab and Jerale Nichols are movers in facility operations — often rearranging heavy items to make spaces more accessible.
“We continually get positive and unsolicited feedback from individuals about how nice and helpful the movers staff were,” said ADA Deputy Coordinator Mohamed Shahin, who nominated Glaab and Nichols.
“It is my belief that everyone should be comfortable and able to access campus,” Glaab said.
Group award: Cortney Fish and Jaclyn Benigno
Courtney Fish and Jaclyn Benigno are coordinators for the Self-Determined Transition Readiness Through Individual Vocational Experiences (STRIVE) program at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment. Connie Brooks of the Thompson Center said Fish and Benigno have been integral to STRIVE’s success — helping adults with autism spectrum disorders develop job-readiness skills to improve their chances of securing employment.
“Programs like STRIVE are so important because it gives individuals the chance to show off their amazing skills and talents while also exploring different educational paths and career opportunities,” Fish said.
“It is important to me to provide a neurodiverse and inclusive environment as part of the STRIVE program and beyond,” Benigno said. “I am honored to receive this award as a reminder of how important it is to promote inclusivity on campus.”