MWA Titleholders

MWA 2009 awaits ride in race car

MWA Titleholders

Jennifer Adams- MWA 2014

Ms. Jennifer Adams crowned MWA 2014!

”Our limitations are not a burden, but instead a gift, for beyond our limitations is fulfillment and purpose.” ~ Jennifer Adams, Ms. Wheelchair America 2014

Jennifer Adams was born with partial limbs, yet she does not consider her struggles a burden, but instead a gift, for she has had the privilege to learn that beyond our limitations is fulfillment and life's purpose. Jennifer is a radiant, high energy spokes-woman who enjoys singing, public speaking, and skateboarding.

Jennifer is an accomplished woman. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, a certification in Radio Broadcasting, and a Master's degree in counseling from Faith Seminary. While she went to school, she worked in corporate settings. After receiving her Master's degree, she worked at the Tacoma School of the Arts as an advocate for students with disabilities.

Through Jennifer's education, life experience and professional experience, she started a motivational speaking business, SHIFT. The message of her story ”shifts” peoples mindsets to see the possibilities beyond their limitations.

Through SHIFT Jennifer's started an anti-bullying campaign called ”The Power of Words.” Jennifer knows first-hand the power that words have on an individual's life through her own experience of being bullied in school, and the healing experience of being built up through positive words and support from family and friends. The message of ”The Power of Words” is, that everyone should be accepted, regardless of disability, skin color, family back ground, financial means, or any perceived anomaly, because acceptance is POWERFUL!!!

Jennifer also has a passion for the arts; acting, dancing, and singing. She has experienced barriers to her passion in the mainstream art world, due to her disability. Her goal is encourage people with disabilities to take their gifts and talents out into the world to break down barriers of discrimination. ”When we (people with disabilities) show the world our talents, disabilities dissolve and abilities shine forth.”

Jennifer's National Platform Title: Inclusion Revolution

Platform Focus: ”To spread the message of acceptance and awareness to businesses, schools and legislators in America and demonstrate to everyone that having a disability is cool!”

You can read more about Jennifer on her blog

Mariah Kilbourne- MWA 2013

2013 - Ms. Mariah Kilbourne

Mariah spent her year promoting inclusion in all aspects of life, from work to play, with her "Inclined for Inclusion" platform. She worked hard to promote fair and equal access to all buildings, especially those in historic districts, because she believes these barriers have plagued the disability community for too long.

Josie Badger- MWA 2012

2012 – Josie Badger

Josie spent her year traveling the country, including Alaska, promoting her platform of developing empowerment and leadership development of youth with disabilities. She also spent her reign promoting awareness of the need to eliminate architectural and attitudinal barriers, informing the able-bodied public of the achievements of the millions of people with disabilities across the nation, and assisting with the establishment of programs in all 50 states.

Alex McArthur

2011 – Alexandra McArthur

Alexandra spent hear year advocating, inspiring and challenging every audience she spoke to. She also shared her platform of the importance of employment for people with disabilities to promote inclusion, which she believes happens person by person, and worked towards full and equal access for people with disabilities, changing one mind at a time throughout the year.

Erika Bogen

2010 – Erika Bogan

Erika used her own personal story as an example than anything is possible through perseverance and determination. Her platform also focused on seeing the abilities of all people with physical limitations and the need for state resources to promote independent living.

Michelle Colvard

2009 – Michelle Colvard of Texas

Michelle's platform emphasized the need for people of all abilities to take responsibility for their own health and wellness. Her year as Ms. Wheelchair America helped prove that women who happen to use wheelchairs can be every bit as successful, vibrant and powerful as other women.

Kristen McCosh

2008 – Kristen McCosh of Massachusetts

Kristen spent her year traveling across the country spreading the word about the accomplishments and achievements of people who use wheelchairs. She also spent her year advocating for vital programs and services that facilitate empowerment and success for people with disabilities, such as employment, success, education, transportation, housing and health care.

Autumn Grant

2007 – Autumn Grant of Massachusetts

Autumn's involvement with Ms. Wheelchair America began when she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts in 2006. She has served in several positions on the Board of Directors and currently works as the Associate Director or Undergraduate and Student Affairs at Northeastern University.

Kristen Connors

2006 – Kristen Connors of Rhode Island

Kristen combined her employment and leadership knowledge and her advocacy work to pursue her platform of "Breaking Down Attitudinal Barriers for People with Disabilities in the Workforce." People with disabilities face obstacles in the workforce every day and Kristen believes that we are the only ones who can set limits for our potential to overcome these obstacles.

Juliette Rizzo

2005 – Juliette Rizzo of Maryland

Juliette empowers Americans with disabilities though her Ms. Wheelchair platform, “Power through Participation: Illuminating Opportunities for People with Disabilities.” She believes that community participation is more than having a physical presence but is also about finding your identity through your involvement in personal contribution to community life.


2004 Cinda Hughes of Oklahoma

2003 Catherine Gugala of Wisconsin

2002 Candy Marsh of Colorado

2001 Nicki Ard of South Carolina

2000 Tracy Charlton-O’Conner of South Dakota

1999 Christina Gilmore of Wisconsin

1998 Terri Cecil of Kentucky

1997 Elaine Stefanowicz of Washington

1996 Amy Baxter-Ley of Texas

1995 Wendy Petzold of Wisconsin

1994 Dawn Blodgett of California

1993 Kim Mensi of Alabama

1992 Deanna VanHook of Texas

1991 Mercedes Rodriguez-Fowler of Florida

1990 Kathy Garcia Farnsworth of Utah

1989 Jewell Massey of Georgia

1988 Peggy Simpson of Alabama

1987 Sandra Honbaier of North Carolina

1986 Donna Cline of Nevada

1985 Lori Cottam of Utah

1984 Gaynell Colburn of Maryland

1983 Barbara Crozier of Alabama

1982 Marian Schooling-Vessells of Maryland

1981 Vivian Thompson of Massachusetts

1980 Nancy Pudvin of Georgia

1979 Marge Chmielewski of Michigan

1978 Margie Sloan of Georgia

1977 Beverly Chapman of Florida

1976 Dixie Lee Etheridge of Mississippi

1975 Kathy Smith-Tiley of Alabama

1974 Janie Robinson of Texas

1973 Patricia Nevins of Michigan

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