PresenterPhotoLaurie Ackles currently serves as the Director for the Spectrum Support Program (SSP) at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY and manages RIT’s Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative

The Spectrum Support Program is a leader in supporting college student with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The SSP was founded in 2008 to address the complex needs of a growing population of RIT student on the autism spectrum. Under Ackles leadership, SSP has been a trailblazer in supporting the academic and social success of student on the autism spectrum while also leading the way in helping students prepare for successful employment after graduation. SSP’s Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative, begun in 2017, is focused on helping students meet RIT’s cooperative education requirements as well as working to create a pipeline that connects talented students with employers seeking diverse talent. 

Ackles serves on the advisory board of MITRE Corporation’s Neurodiverse Federal Workforce Project and serves as an advisor to Untapped Group, an Australian based organization that is focused on creating a sustainable neurodiverse employment ecosystem. Laurie serves as a professional consultant with College Autism Spectrum, an independent organization of professional whose purpose is to assist students with autism and their families.  She is currently a social work doctoral candidate, working to integrate evidence-based, trauma-informed practices and implementation science principles into her work with autistic college students and job seekers. Ackles is a national speaker and the author of several publications.