Ms. Nelis is a Self-Advocacy Specialist at Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago. She also is a past chairperson of the national organization “Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered.” She founded and successfully promoted “People First of Illinois,” an organization for which she served as president of the Illinois and Naperville chapters. Ms. Nelis has been honored with the Burton Blatt Award by the Illinois Tash, and the Elizabeth Boggs award from AAMR. She has drawn on experiences relating to her own disability in promoting and demonstrating the benefits of empowerment for people with disabilities. She has wide experience in conducting trainings and advocating for progressive polices with legislators and public officials.