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The Joy Zabala Fellowship

The Joy Zabala Fellowship logo and a photo of Dr. Joy Smiley Zabala

The Joy Zabala Fellowship in Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials celebrates the life and work of Joy Smiley Zabala, EdD, who had a substantial impact in her 40+ year career in promoting inclusion for learners with disabilities in K-12, postsecondary, and workforce settings.

Joy worked as a general educator, special educator, and leader of a statewide network. She also served as the principal investigator and director of several federally funded technical assistance centers supporting equity, inclusion, and access for individuals with disabilities. Read more about Joy’s work.

Help Support Joy's Legacy

Joy was a remarkable and much-loved professional, advocate, mentor, and colleague. To celebrate and ensure her legacy, please make your tax-deductible gift to the Joy Zabala Fellowship Fund today.

Donate online now

Learn more about donating

Please make checks payable to:

CAST, Inc.
50 Salem St.
Building B, Ste 303
Lynnfield, MA 01940-0030

Please write Joy Zabala Fellowship Fund on your check.

Corporate Sponsorship Levels & Benefits

Each tier of sponsorship not only helps us continue Joy’s work, but it also ensures funding to support the next generation of leaders.

Benefits Gold
Website logo & featured listing (CAST & Fellowship page) Included Included Included
At CAST's conferences 2 conference access passes, keynote acknowledgement, and digital signage 1 conference access pass and digital signage 1 conference access pass and digital signage
Logo acknowledgement on one of CAST's free webinars Included Included Not Included"
Logo inclusion in CAST's quarterly e-newsletters 2 1 0

Fellowship Applications

Joy Smiley Zabala (1946-2021) was an inspiring leader, a gifted communicator, a passionate advocate, and a beloved friend. This fellowship will support emerging, early career professionals working with students with disabilities from birth through transition, who, in collaboration with a seasoned mentor, will a) strengthen their expertise and skills in services supporting assistive technology and/or accessible educational materials and b) share what they learn with the larger community of stakeholders. The focus of this fellowship is to expand and guide the provision of services of AT and/or AEM.

The 2023-2024 Fellowship Teams are:


  • Dr. Aaron Marsters (mentor), an Assistive Technology Instructional System Specialist for the Department of Defense Education Activity in Europe, and Jayme Grant (mentee), an Educational and Assistive Technology Specialist in the Beaufort County Schools in Beaufort, South Carolina, will work to increase educator and leadership capacity to implement effective and data-driven AT consideration and implementation processes at high-risk K-12 schools.

  • Darla Ashton (mentor), an Instructional Interventionist Coach in Indiana, will work with Candace Hayden (mentee), an AT Specialist in Texas, to increase understanding, skills, tools, and resources in AT and AEM, improving procedures for providing thoughtful consideration of AT in primary and secondary schools.

  • Dr. Danalyn Workentin (mentor), an Occupational Therapist and AT Professional in Florida, will work with Megan Stewart (mentee), a Speech Language Pathologist at a school in Florida, to facilitate a school-based AT team while building AT knowledge with families and staff.

Congratulations to the 2022-2023 Inaugural Fellowship Teams:

  • Matthew Newton (mentor) and Kristin Blain (mentee)
  • Elisa Wern (mentor) and Susan Key (mentee)
  • Stacy Springer (mentor) and Bethany Britt (mentee)

Fellowship Applications for 2024-2025

There are two ways to apply:

  • Apply as mentorship partners (one mentor & one mentee).
  • Apply as an individual either seeking or willing to provide mentoring. These individual applications will be included in a mentee/mentor pool, and a match may be considered from this mentor pool.

The expected time commitment of the fellowship supported partnership is the academic year of 2024–2025.

The application deadline is March 15, 2024, at 4:00 pm CT.

Mentee application

Mentor application

Questions about the Fellowship can be directed to

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