Meet The PIOC Team

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Carolyn P. Phillips

Center Director and Principal Investigator

Carolyn P. Phillips is nationally recognized in the field of assistive technology and disabilities. Carolyn serves as Director and Principal Investigator of Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program at Georgia Tech | AMAC. In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of AT projects and programs, including the National Pass It On Center. Ms. Phillips teaches a graduate class at the University of Georgia in the College of Education. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and guest lecturer at other universities. She has published articles in journals, chapters in books in AT and poetry focused on living with disabilities. Carolyn has dedicated her time and energy to promoting independence of all people, including those with disabilities through advocacy, education, assistive technology and systems change. Among other awards and recognitions, she has received the National Rehabilitation Association’s Belle Greve Award for “outstanding contributions and major positive impacts” in the disability community. The Department of Labor in Georgia also gave her the Director’s Award for “extraordinary and diligent service on behalf of people with disabilities.” She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, and her Master's Degree from the University of Kentucky. Carolyn lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Send an email to Carolyn:

Joy Kniskern

AT Initiatives PI

Joy Kniskern obtained an M.Ed. in Community Counseling from Georgia State University, a BA from Vanderbilt University and is certified as a rehabilitation counselor and level one mediation specialist. Joy has spent over 34 years securing and leading innovative state, Federal and private grants to increase access to and acquisition of appropriate assistive technology. She pioneered development of a computer education program for individuals with severe disabilities in the 1980s, launched and directed Tools for Life in the 1990s and established Georgia's Alternative Finance Program, Credit-Able. She has co-authored publications on assistive technology service delivery, has presented widely, peer-reviewed many grants, and continues to serve in leadership roles on many state and national advisory groups to assist in strategic planning and resource development for assistive technology. In 2006, she received the Touch the Future Visionary Award for her leadership in advancing assistive technology services, and has received many other awards for her work over the years. Send an email to Joy:

Liz Persaud

Training and Outreach Coordinator

Liz Persaud is a nationally recognized keynote, public speaker, and advocate addressing the need to build bridges between individuals with and without disabilities. Liz currently serves as the Training and Outreach Coordinator for Tools for Life (Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program) and the Pass It On Center (The National Assistive Technology Device Reutilization Coordination and Technical Assistance Center) at AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech. Additionally, Liz provides online and in person training and public awareness for TechSAge, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center focused on successful aging with a disability. She is a sought-after guest lecturer at numerous universities speaking on technology and disabilities. Liz is an active advocate with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Atlanta, speaking to numerous groups and organizations across the country and raising awareness about generations growing up and living independently and successfully with childhood neuromuscular diseases. She is also the proud recipient of the 1999 and 2005 Muscular Dystrophy Association Personal Achievement Award in Georgia. Liz has dedicated her life to increasing independence for individuals with disabilities by educating on self determination and advocacy with a focus on technology and disabilities. Liz is a graduate of Georgia State University and lives in Alpharetta, Georgia with her husband and family.

Send an email to Liz:

Martha Rust

AT Specialist and Services Coordinator

Martha Rust completed her masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Tennessee and received her CRC. She also is a RESNA certified ATP and earned a certificate in Assistive Technology Applications from California State University at Northridge. Ms. Rust is the Assistive Technology Specialist for Tools for Life/ AMAC at Ga Tech. She also works on the Tech Support Team for AMAC, working with college students who have disabilities and use AMAC services. Ms. Rust has presented at numerous international, national, regional, and state conferences on assistive technology and serves on several disability related committees

Send an email to Martha: