Christy Joy Shiloh, MT-BC: Founder and Executive Director
CJ is a disability rights advocate and Board Certified Music Therapist. She has almost 20 years experience in music and special education. She earned her music liberal arts bachelors degree from Colorado State University – Pueblo in 2003. She attended Shenandoah University for the “Professional Studies Program for Music Therapy Certification Eligibility” and received her MT-BC in May 2013. She has been co-presenting in autism and music therapy conferences with Sunny since 2011.
“Sunny” Cefaratti: Co-Director, Autistic Self Advocacy Mentor
Sunny is a performing pianist/vocalist, and mentor to other autistic self advocates. She was born in South Korea, completely blind, and was adopted by her family in the US at 2 years of age. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2001. She is a graduate of Maryland School for the Blind. Sunny is the Committee Chair for Empowerment Jam Sessions. She has giving speeches and piano/vocal performances in Sensory Friendly Concerts since July 2011. This photo was taken at The Musical Autist’s display table, at the 2012 Maryland ARC conference, where Sunny was guest performer for the Awards Luncheon.
Carolyn Beall: Secretary
Carolyn is the Special Education Chairperson at Rolling Knolls Elementary School in Annapolis. She oversees and leads the Special Ed Department in providing service for all special education students. She helps to schedule student services and IEP meetings as well as provides support and training for other teachers and paraprofessionals that work within the school building, as well as running the school resource room for special education students. Carolyn grew up in Annapolis and graduated with a degree in elementary education from Towson State University. After teaching first and second grade for several years, she got her certification in special education and has taught students with a variety of disabilities for the last 9 years. In the past, Carolyn has also worked with students with deaf/blindness through Connections Beyond Sight and Sound.
Greg Diachenko, PhD: Treasurer
Dr. Diachenko has been a research manager and researcher with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over 39 years in the area of developing analytical methods for chemical contaminants and additives in foods. Dr. Diachenko has been the head of the U.S. Delegation to the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling (CCMAS) for many years and has provided scientific leadership to this prestigious international committee’s work. Dr. Diachenko has often led the collaborative efforts between food industry and the FDA to investigate mechanisms of formation and ways to mitigate the formation of potentially hazardous materials in foods. His research efforts have yielded more than 60 scientific publications or book chapters and he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry. He believes in the health and well being of the community at large, and is an advocate for the health of the autism community.
Ann-Marie is a homeschooling parent and community coordinator. She has held a number of positions in education from managing a licensed preschool daycare to curriculum development for ASD adults, and created a variety of support and activity groups for ASD children/teens and their families. Currently she is coordinating an informal social group for ASD teens and their friends in the Annapolis area. Ann-Marie has a Masters degree in Comparative Culture from Sophia University, Tokyo, and a Bachelors degree from in International Relations from The University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her family in Severna Park.
Dr. Engel is a Political Scientist and studies the politics of neurodiversity. Dr. Engel has taught courses in constitutional law and civil rights at University of Maryland, Baylor University, University of Michigan, and University of Southern California. She also has worked as a consultant on civic education for Maryland State Department of Education, Educational Testing Services, and American Institutes for Research. She currently enjoys homeschooling her two amazing children. Having studied and published on gender discrimination and the law, Dr. Engel sees striking similarities between the burgeoning neurodiversity movement and other civil rights movements in American history. She is passionate about working for the civil rights of all people, especially individuals with neurological and neurodevelopmental differences, who often are unfairly marginalized by society. She is excited to help CJ bring “equal rights to the fine arts” to all members of the community.
Jordon Cochran: Communications, Computers, and Technology
Jordon is an active-duty Air Force officer and has traveled or deployed to over 34 countries in his 20 years career thus far. He is a communications, computer, and cyber operations leader by trade. He and his wife, Kathy, have two wonderful children, one of which, a son (9), who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum for the last 7 years. Jordon and Kathy are active in advocacy and care for children on the autism spectrum and look forward to furthering the goals and efforts of The Musical Autist.