Alumni Launch Blog to Highlight the Lives and Work of People with Disabilities
This December, Itto and Mekiya Outini, alumni of the U of A's Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, launched their long-anticipated blog, The Datekeepers. In addition to showcasing the Outinis' work, this blog will serve as a platform for elevating the lives and work of people with disabilities around the world.
Itto, a Fulbright Scholar, graduated from the U of A with an M.A. in Journalism and Strategic Media in 2020. The following year, she founded Fulbrighters with Disabilities, a global, virtual chapter of the Fulbright Association dedicated to supporting students and scholars with disabilities. That same year, she was recruited for an internship with the United Nations Development Programme. In 2022, after completing this internship, she was awarded the prestigious Fulbright in the Classroom grant to host three webinars and share information about the Fulbright with students from underrepresented populations. She now serves as accessibility outreach manager for AudioEye, an industry-leading digital accessibility company, and enjoys the opportunity to synthesize her public speaking, storytelling and creative problem-solving skills in service of breaking down barriers and making the virtual world more accessible for all.
Mekiya earned his M.F.A. in creative writing (fiction) from the U of A in 2019 and spent the next two years writing and revising a novel, Ashes, Ashes, set in Fayetteville. The manuscript has been selected as a finalist or semifinalist in several contests, including the 2021 Chanticleer Somerset Awards, and Mekiya is actively seeking an agent and publisher. His short fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in publications including Chautauqua, The Michigan Quarterly Review and Willow Springs, and the first two chapters of Ashes, Ashes have been featured in The West Trade Review. He's also written and edited for journalistic outlets including ABILITY Magazine, an international publication that uses a celebrity-driven model to promote the work of people with disabilities, advocates and allies worldwide.
The Outinis are excited to launch The Datekeepers and leverage the power of storytelling to enrich international conversations around disability with a signature combination of nuance, humor, journalistic rigor and a narrative philosophy that centers individuals' achievements, vocations and dreams.
Click here to subscribe to The Datekeepers blog.
Leigh Sparks, assistant director of the Graduate Program in English
Department of English
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