Picture of a group of people standing in a line together, holding hands, in front of sunset.
Picture of a group of people standing in a line together, holding hands, in front of sunset.

A Place For Us, a national student led organization that aims to unify disability rights activists in colleges across the country. We have created a digital network of students with disabilities and their allies across the nation, connect the high school students with disabilities college student mentors with disabilities, and empower students with disabilities to succeed in higher education and become disability activists. 

“Only 11 % of people with disabilities are enrolled in undergraduate colleges and of those only 5 % graduate college.”

Many students with disabilities do not know their rights or how to advocate for themselves because disability activism is barely visible in higher education. Too often, people with disabilities are made to feel like there is no place for them in higher education. A Place For Us wants to create that space of belonging, learning, and activism. 

The founders of the organization are all undergraduates in colleges or universities across the nation with various disabilities. They seek to create a space where they can share their experiences, knowledge, and support for disability justice with high school and college-aged, optimistic disability activists
like themselves.

Read about our policies below:

Our Staff

Ana Kohout | Co-Founder, Executive Director

Ana Kohout is currently a special education teacher in Wisconsin. She graduated from Beloit College in 2021 with a double major in Education and Youth Studies and Interdisciplinary in Disability Studies and got her Masters’ in Special Education at UW-Madison in 2022. Ana plans to continue fighting for the rights of students with disabilities by becoming a teacher and eventually getting a PhD in Disability Studies. Outside of work, Ana enjoys swimming, playing sled hockey, and spending time with her friends and family.

Alexis Kosik | Social Media Coordinator

Alexis has been involved with disability advocacy since she joined Best Buddies in seventh grade. She has a bachelors in psychology with a minor in studio art, and a masters in social work. Alexis is currently a residential staff at a transitional living program in Chicago for young adults with mental illness, and especially loves making art with her clients. In her free time, she likes to make jewelry and other crafts, shop at thrift stores, volunteer with kids at the zoo, and explore the city with friends.

A photo of Kai smiling at the camera and wearing a navy suit. He is standing in front of cherry blossom tree.

Kai Fox | Co-Founder

Kai Fox is a senior in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He majors in interdisciplinary studies: communications, legal institutions, economics, and governments. In addition to serving on the board of directors of A Place for Us, Kai is the Fellowship Coordinator for The Daniel Initiative SET Project, a nonprofit working to support, equip, and train fellows from historically marginalized communities. Kai lives in Washington, DC, where he is a member of Rosebrook Presbyterian Church. His faith in Jesus motivates him to be an advocate for social justice, including for people with disabilities.

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Nissly Design | Graphic Design and Illustration Services

Nissly Design is the personal brand of Nina Melchiorre, a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and artist. She worked for University of Wisconsin – Whitewater as a student graphic designer while in school. Since creating Nissly Design she has done a variety of branding, logo development, print and web design projects for various businesses and events.

Check out her current illustrative work here or view her portfolio here.

Follow Nissly Design @nissly_design on instagram for the latest illustrative work.

Our Board of Directors

Angelica Vega | President

Angelica Vega (she/her) is passionate disability advocate, currently employed as a Data Management Associate at JP Morgan Chase. She is a Afro-Latina with multiple disabilities, including a speech disability and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Angelica graduated from American University in 2020, earning both department and Latin honors in Philosophy. After college, she was inducted into the Coelho Center’s Law Fellowship program, from which she graduated in 2022. Today she continues her work with the Coelho Center as Chair of its Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access; a committee which she herself proposed and co-founded in the summer of 2022. She aspires one day to serve as a lawyer and legal advocate for people with disabilities, with the long-term goal of running for public office in her home state of New Jersey. Outside of work, her hobbies include playing, hanging out with friends, and trying out new restaurants with her partner, Maikol Perez-Matos.

Linda Rich | Vice President

Linda’s entire adult life has been influenced by an event that she witnessed (during her junior year of high school) in which she did not intercede nor did she do the right thing. Her locker was next to a cheerleader and a student with special needs. The cheerleader for the most part ignored us both, but one day she approached this student and made plans for the upcoming weekend. Linda saw a few members of the football team and other cheerleaders snicker in the corner, so she knew that this cheerleader had no intention of meeting her at the mall.  Linda stood there and did nothing. This event has had a profound impact on her life. Linda always knew she wanted to teach, but this thirty second event had helped her realize that she needed to become the voice for those who were unable to. She became a special education teacher and was a cheerleading coach. She has worked in elementary, secondary and collegiate classrooms during my professional career.  Linda has worked in self contained special education classrooms, resource rooms and regular education classrooms. She has created curriculums, worked in various leadership roles, worked with local community agencies and has been an advocate for students with disabilities since college.

Isabella Kohout | Treasurer

Isabella is a sophomore in Penn State’s selective joint-degree accelerated Science BS/MBA program. She has made so many new connections within the program and is excited to see where it takes her professionally. Currently, she is pursuing internships and co-ops in the wealth management industry. Outside of her academic and professional endeavors, she is a fitness junkie. She has numerous certifications to teach everything from cardio group fitness to yoga & meditation. Her favorite to teach is yoga. She loves to cook with her family in her hometown of Lake Forest, IL and spend the weekends traveling the Midwest.

Maikol Perez-Matos | Secretary

Maikol Perez-Matos is an aspiring creative writer, whose hobbies include game design and analysis and visual arts. He graduated from American University in 2019 with a bachelor’s in Law and Society, minoring in Literature. His interest in disability stems from time spent supporting the advocacy initiatives and endeavors of his partner, Angelica Vega; most prominently as an editor for her written materials.

Photo of Allie sitting outside in an orange shirt and flannel. She is smiling at the camera with her mid-length brown hair down.

Allie Grossmann | Board Member

Allie Grossmann is a Middle School Special Education Teacher in Albany, WI. She graduated from North Central College in 2015 with a BA in English Literature and earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from UW Madison in 2022. Always planning on being a teacher, Allie found her passion for working with and advocating for people with disabilities while working as a skills coach for Adults with disabilities. She is excited to expand her advocacy and understanding through working with programs such as A Place for Us.