IDPP Student Spotlight: Kathryn Scavuzzo


Kathryn Scavuzzo is a Research Assistant at the American University Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP).

She is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and will graduate with a B.A. in Anthropology in Spring 2019. She is also a member of the CAS Leadership and Ethical Development Program, where she has learned to develop skills regarding ethics and philosophy.

How would you summarize the focus of your work at IDPP?

The focus of my work is based on the implementation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). My focus is to look for literature that is related to their implementation and to understand what key ideas and concepts are being discussed in the context of disability.

What inspired you to pursue work with IDPP?

I was inspired to work for IDPP after attending the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the CRPD this past June as a rapporteur. I was able to take detailed notes on the conference and attend the breakout sessions that were held as well.  

It inspired me to reach out to IDPP and continue the work I was learning about over the summer. I want to be able to learn how we can make our world more accessible for persons with disabilities and I hope to continue to work on research to understand where more countries need to be accessible.

What do you find most rewarding about your work for IDPP? 

The most rewarding part of my work is that I am contributing to supporting the disability community. As someone with a learning disability, I understand first-hand the struggles it takes to making sure you have the accommodations and accessibility you need.

We live in a society where disabilities can be misunderstood and there can be very prejudiced structures built around making areas inaccessible. I feel that the work and research we are doing at IDPP will be a part of the solution of removing barriers against persons with disabilities.

What do you hope to pursue after your time at AU/IDPP?

I am hoping to return home to New York City and continue my work there. I will seek to continue my work in disability research and advocacy after my time at AU and IDPP. This summer, I will hopefully again be able to attend the COSP of the CRPD again. I hope my next job or research project will be disability advocacy related.