The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

Advisory Board

Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship Advisory Board

The Advisory Board meets to identify and nominate candidates for the Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship. The Advisory Board members also offers mentorship and guidance to the fellow during the fellowship term. The members of the Advisory Board for the second year of the fellowship are Laurie Bertram Roberts (the inaugual Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship recipient), Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Heather Watkins, and Colleen Flanagan.

Laurie Bertram Roberts, Inaugural Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship recipientLaurie Bertram Roberts is the recipient of the 2023 Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship.

A Black, queer, disabled grassroots reproductive justice activist, Laurie is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. Laurie is a tireless advocate, working directly with Mississippians to provide holistic reproductive care.

Find out more about Laurie and the inaugural Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship.

Access the keynote address

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, member of the Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship Advisory Board, 2022–2023Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, PhD(c), MA (she/they) is a global advocate, educator, disabled person of color, non-binary woman, and parent of children with various disabilities in a neurodiverse, multicultural, twice-exceptional serodifferent family.

A prolific writer and social scientist/activist whose work focuses on intersectional justice, meaningful community involvement, human rights, and inclusion, Morénike, raised in the U.S. by immigrant parents and diagnosed with ADHD and autism in adulthood, is a recognized leader in various human rights endeavors. Morénike, a Humanities Scholar at Rice University, is also founder and principal operator of Advocacy Without Borders and holds leadership positions in various organizations, including Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network, Foundations for Divergent Minds, and Dove Orchids.

Heather Watkins, member of the Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship Advisory Board, 2022–2023Heather Watkins is a disability activist, author, blogger, mother, graduate of Emerson College with a B.S. in Mass Communications. Born with Muscular Dystrophy, loves reading, daydreaming, chocolate, and serves on a handful of disability-related boards and projects including Disability Policy Consortium, advisory boards National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, Open Door Arts. Heather is also a former chairperson of the Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board. Her publishing experience includes articles in MDA's Quest magazine, Mass Rehab Commission's Consumer Voice newsletter and has blogged for sites like: Our Ability, Art of Living Guide, Disabled Parenting, Grubstreet, Rooted In Rights, Women's Media Center, Medium, and Thank God I. Heather's short story, “Thank God I have Muscular Dystrophy,” published in 2013 as part of compilation in the Thank God I…Am an Empowered Woman® book series. Her blog Slow Walkers See More includes reflections and insight from her life with disability.

Colleen Flanagan, member of the Carrie Buck Distinguished Fellowship Advisory Board, 2022–2023Colleen Flanagan is a longtime activist for disability rights and justice. As a disabled woman, she brings important lived experience to her position at the Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities as the Outreach & Engagement Specialist, leading community engagement initiatives to make sure Boston’s disability community can access all that the City of Boston has to offer. Colleen also manages the Commission's social media and other digital platforms. She is an expert in making digital content accessible to people with disabilities. At the Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities she creates content that tells the story of Boston's disability community and illustrates resources available to the people with disabilities and the general public.