Suzanne Levine

Founder, National Center on Disability and Journalism

Suzanne Levine

Suzanne Levine finds joy in the nexus of media, technology and disability and is continuously learning and stretching into new areas. Her diagnosis of specific learning disabilities later in life helped to put life’s puzzle pieces together and has given her focus. Since her diagnosis, she’s created work-life phases that satisfy her curiosity.

Since the mid-nineties Suzanne has been a freelance photographer primarily focusing on the disability civil rights movement. Her photographs have been published in newspapers, books, magazines and on websites. She also co-produced the award winning video: Disabled Women: Visions and Voices from the 4th World Conference on Women. In 1996, as an outgrowth from her visual anthropology master’s creative work project, she conceived and edited the book Volver a Vivir/Return to Life that was nominated for a Bay Area Book Award. The book profiles people at a self-help rehabilitation center in rural Mexico where she also taught basic video production.

She founded National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ) in 1998 and served as executive director for 10 years until its transfer to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. During her time at NCDJ she created the NCDJ style guide, developed J-school curricula, was a guest lecturer in the journalism classrooms and conducted trainings to working journalists.

Earning a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Certification in 2007 enabled her to tinker and contemplate on how GIS could assist people with disabilities. She built a prototype of a pedestrian turn-by-turn directions for people with disabilities based on disability features like curb ramps. While the project ended with a prototype, she ended up applying her GIS skills for the City & County of San Francisco overseeing, analyzing and visualizing their curb ramp database.

Suzanne is now stretching into a new phase of compliance. She earned her ADA Coordinator certification in 2018 and is currently working on 508 certification. Working in compliance, in the built or electronic environment, is rewarding.

In her spare time, she enjoys riding her bike and enjoying her friends and family.

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