Edward Bell, Ph.D., is the director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University. He has extensive experience in the area of rehabilitation for the blind and visually impaired. He has presented widely throughout the United States and Europe. Dr. Bell has earned degrees in Rehabilitation Education and Research, Educational Psychology, and Human Development. In addition, he also possesses certification in educational statistics and research methods, rehabilitation counseling, and orientation and mobility.
Frances Mary D'Andrea, Ph.D., is an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, a reading specialist, and an educational consultant specializing in literacy issues related to students with visual impairments. Dr. D'Andrea began as a teacher of students with visual impairments in 1982. From 1995-2005, she worked at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and helped establish their National Literacy Center. She co-authored Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment; Instructional Strategies for Braille Literacy; Looking to Learn: Promoting Literacy for Students with Low Vision; and The Braille Trail books. She continues to serve as AFB's representative to the Braille Authority of North America.
Judith M. Dixon is Consumer Relations Officer at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. Dr. Dixon was the 2005 winner of the Francis Joseph Campbell Award from the American Library Association for her many years of excellent work in the field of library service for blind and physically handicapped persons, and for her pioneering efforts in the area of electronic braille materials on the internet through the NLS service Web-Braille.
Mr. Parravano is a Director of the Government and Community Affairs office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His role involves fostering communication between MIT and all levels of government, major constituency groups, and the surrounding community. Mr. Parravano also works to strengthen MIT's involvement in science education for K-12 teachers and students. He previously worked as a staff attorney in a civil rights consulting firm, providing advice and consultation on the implementation of civil rights regulations. He also serves as Chairperson of the National Braille Press Board.
Noel Runyan is founder and primary consultant at Personal Data Systems, Inc. Mr. Runyan holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and has been working in human factors engineering for over 36 years developing access technologies for helping people with visual impairments use computers and other electronic devices. His many accomplishments in this field include helping develop the original VersaBraille while at Telesensory Systems and serving as Director of R&D for Talking Solutions. While at IBM from 1973-1978, he developed the first text-to-speech program used on microprocessors and co-invented the first talking touch screen/tablet systems. He also serves on NBP's Center for Braille Innovation team.