Week 1 Biographies

Helen Young

Helen has worked in the field of disability support since 2002, in a variety of roles across the Higher Education and Voluntary Sectors.  She has been in her current role as Deputy Head of the Disability Advisory Service (DAS) at the University of Oxford since 2016 (with one year of this period spent as Joint Acting Head of Service).  

Helen is also Head of the Oxford University Assessment Centre (OUAC), overseeing the operational running of the centre in line with relevant regulatory frameworks and managing a team of assessors who conduct needs assessments for students as part of the Disabled Student Allowance Process.

Helen has been a member of the CHESS Planning Group (Consortium of Higher Education Support Services with Deaf Students) since 2012 and she is also a director of NADP and co-chair of the Conference Standing Committee.

Bryan Coleman

Bryan is Head of the Disability & Dyslexia Support Service at the University of Sheffield. He has worked in university disability support since 1996 when he started working as a note-taker. He has worked at 4 universities in various disability support roles and experienced a wide range of approaches and ever increasing demand! He has seen major changes to DSA, the introduction of Mental Health Advisers in the early 2000s, followed by the introduction of Specialist Mentors and then Assistive Technology Officers. Bryan has particular interest in support for deaf and hard of hearing students, students on the autism spectrum, and the increasing benefits of assistive technology and inclusive practice.

Dr Chiko Ncube Makore

Dr Chiko Ncube Makore is an inclusive practice and disability practitioner with extensive experience in Further and Higher Education. She is an advocate for person-centred approaches to inclusion and equality and diversity in Education.

Her professional career in disability services began in Further Education, teaching and supporting disabled students in the 14 to 16 student group. She has worked in Higher Education Institutions for over 15 years in diverse roles, including lecturing, study skills tutoring, learning mentoring and as a Disability Adviser. She currently manages the Disability Service for Higher Education at Writtle University College in Essex. She acts as a member of the access and participation advisory group leading on strategic development of inclusive teaching and learning and digital accessibility.

Her academic background is in inclusive design, disability and design and inclusive practice and environments. She completed her PhD from the SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre at Salford University in 2018. Her research examined the intersection of disability, accessibility and the urban environment. She is an expert for the Design Council UK on accessibility and inclusive design and contributes as a researcher to multiple research council funded projects.

Pauline Melham

Pauline has worked in the fields of Disability and tertiary education for over twenty years, in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom.  Most of her experience was gained during her nearly eighteen years living in working in the UK.  Her roles have included Manager of Disability Services, Manager of an Assessment Centre (UK), Disability Adviser and various Project Officer roles.  Born with a vision impairment, Pauline has lived experience of disability as well as her considerable professional expertise.  Pauline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Psychology from the University of Auckland and a Masters of Arts in Education from Brunel University London.  Her dissertation topic was on the experiences of girls with high functioning autism as they transitioned from secondary school to college. 

Pauline returned to New Zealand in late 2018 and took up her current position as Manager of Disability Services at Ara Institute of Canterbury, a polytechnic that caters for students from foundation level courses up to degrees and postgraduate qualifications.   Alongside her full-time role she is studying part time towards her New Zealand Certificate in Tertiary Teaching Level Five.

Gerard Norris

Gerard started working at Clear Links in 2008 after graduating from university. Having received DSA support during his studies, Gerard understands the importance of DSA to students. With over 13 years’ experience in various roles in Clear Links and the knowledge and understanding of the DSA sector, Gerard is committed to  ensuring Clear Links continues to provide quality NMH support services to universities and students across the country.

In particular, Gerard leads a team that specialises in developing new software applications and systems for Clear Links and external partners.

Video Presentations

Jericha Hopson

Jericha is the Coordinator for Disability Resources and Testing at Tarleton State University, a member of the Texas A&M System. Jericha has worked in this office for over five years, and before that was a registered student who received accommodations. As a disabled scholar and student Jericha’s research interests are Universal Design, Disability Culture, Disability and Diversity, Rights-Based Model of Disability, Linguistic Analysis, and STEM Education.

Jericha will defend her Doctoral Dissertation this July 2021. The study was a critical discourse analysis of the language used on the institutional webpages of the Texas A&M system schools to uncover the relationship (if any) between disability and diversity. To date, this will be the first study of its kind within the field of disability studies conducted using the novel Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count developed by Pennebaker and Francis.

Jericha is passionate about education as a tool to address unconscious ignorance and bias.  Our mistakes in language and actions do not define us; instead, our efforts to correct and prevent those mistakes in the future should hold the most weight in assessing the content of our character.

Holly Lucking

Holly is a second year Further Education student in animal management at Writtle University College. She is the Further Education representative of the new Disabled Students Society. Holly is autistic and will be continuing into Higher Education in Animal Management at Writtle University College. She has volunteered for Cats Protection and found a great interest in cats, as well as having her own cat and rabbit at home. In the future, Holly would like to work with larger animals in conservation..

Sarah Martell

Sarah is a rehabilitation registrar working in West Yorkshire with an interest in neuro-disability and stroke. She is currently taking time out of her training programme to work as a Leadership Fellow with the University of Leeds, working on a project on improving inclusion for disabled medical students. She has worked on quality improvement projects within her clinical role and published work on improving investigation times in stroke medicine (S Thompson (Martell nee Thompson), R Jones: “A Quality Improvement Project to Assess Timing of Initial Investigations in Stroke Medicine.” BMJ Quality Improvement Reports 2016. PMID: 27239306). 

She also has a keen interest in medical education and is studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Professions Education with Hull York Medical School. 


  • MBBS 2014 Newcastle University 
  • MRCP 2017
    Professional memberships –  
  • Royal College of Physicians 
    Research groups and institutes  
  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences 

Lesley Morrice

Lesley has an MA in Special Educational Needs, a Cert Ed teaching qualification and is one of only a handful of qualified DSA Needs Assessors, having a PG Dip in Assistive Technology and the NNAC ATIP (Assistive Technology Implementation Practitioner) accreditation.

Lesley has worked in the disability field for over 30 years, in a variety of roles in primary, secondary, F.E (specialist and mainstream) and HE educational establishments.  Her previous roles included those of Support Assistant, F.E Assistive Technology Tutor/Trainer, Outreach Tutor and Disability Adviser, before she became a DSA Needs Assessor and subsequently Assessment Centre Manager.

Lesley has been a DSA Needs Assessor for 25+ years and an Assessment Centre Manager for over 20 years, before taking early retirement from her post at the University of Nottingham in 2020.  Lesley has not retired entirely however and is currently the Chair of the National Network of Assessment Centres (NNAC), continuing to support her assessor and other sector colleagues, representing NNAC on the Disabled Students’ Allowances Stakeholder Group (DSSG), the DSA Procurement Working Group and at regular SFE and BATA (British Assistive Technology Association) meetings in order to ensure that disabled students continue to receive bespoke, quality and individualised DSA Assessments.    

Claire Özel

Claire Özel worked at the Middle East University in Ankara, Turkey for 24 years. Initially working as an English teacher, collaborating with disabled students she became the first disability advisor at a Turkish university in 2004.   Following the implementation of the Turkish Disability Act (2005), she was involved in drafting the Higher Education Council’ Directive on Disability. 

She organised the first Turkish Annual Workshop on Disability and University in 2007, an event held annually until 2020.  The same year she set up the Turkish platform on Disability and University, which she continues to moderate for the 570 members.

International connections have been vital in maintaining motivation at times when people in authority ignored or even resisted possible developments; most of her work has thus been with disabled people themselves. Through EU funded projects, she has promoted opportunities for new experiences and exchanges at local and international levels, some short intensive and others long term, deep rooted.  She has mentored disabled students on international exchanges, and co-authored an article with MIUSA on the subject.  During COVID, international cooperation continues electronically across continents.

Paul Wilkins

Paul Wilkins is a second year disabled animal management behaviour student at Writtle University College. He is the president of the new Disabled Students Society. He is partially sighted and has cerebral palsy and stress related epilepsy. Paul is a passionate about supporting disabled students and ensuring they are included and recognised at University. He is a member of the student advisory board and contributes regularly to University policy and strategy. He enjoys working with animals and teaching judo to children. He is a fully qualified instructor and referee.

Lucy Wolf

Lucy Wolf is a first year Associate student in Higher Education at Writtle University College. Lucy is the deputy president of the new Disabled Students Society. She is deaf and has an assistance dog, Elsie, who supports her. Lucy is a member of the student advisory board and is an advocate for the inclusion and recognition of diverse student lived experiences such as disabled and mature students in the teaching and learning environment. “Lucy previously read English at Oxford University and was planning a career in academia, until an emerging passion for working hands-on with animals happily distracted her from this aspiration. She remains an enthusiastic reader and student of the Victorian novel