Our Mission: Back to Work, Back to Life.

Archives for October 2010

Ronald A. Cole, PhD

 Ronald A. Cole, PhD
Executive Committee

Ronald Cole, PhD, Executive Committee

 

 

Ronald Cole has written grant proposals for R2W since 2007 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2011.  He currently leads R2W’s Grants Committee and is helping R2W team with lead educational and government institutions for client services and key research.

Ronald Cole received his undergraduate degree in experimental psychology from the University of Rochester in 1967 and his PhD in psychology in 1971 from the University of California Riverside.  He worked first at the University of Waterloo between 1970 and 1975 and in the psychology department at Carnegie Mellon University between 1975 and-1980.  In 1980, Ron moved to the computer science department at CMU to work with Raj Reddy and the CMU speech group developing speech recognition systems.  In 1988, he moved to the Oregon Graduate Institute where he established the Center for Spoken Language Understanding . While at CSLU, he obtained funding for and managed development of the CSLU Toolkit and over 20 different speech corpora ; these resources have been distributed worldwide to support research and development of human language technologies.  In 1998, Ron moved to the University of Colorado Boulder where he established the Center for Spoken Language Research with Dr. Wayne Ward.  Research at CSLR led to state of the art spoken dialog systems, the SONIC speech recognizer, the CU Animate character animation system, and over a dozen projects that produced virtual tutors and therapist that incorporate these technologies. Summaries of these systems can be found here .
Ron has published approximately 60 articles in peer-review journals and 150 papers in archived conference proceedings. He is the recipient of over $40 million in individual investigator awards from the NSF, NIH and IES. For the past 15 years he has led research projects that aim to create a new generation of learning tools that feature conversational interaction with virtual teachers and therapists. His work using a virtual tutor to facilitate vocabulary learning by children with profound hearing loss at an oral deaf school was featured on ABC TV’s Prime Time and the U.S. National Science Foundation’s home page.  In 2007, after 37 years as an academic, Ron left the University of Colorado to work at Boulder Language Technologies and Mentor Interactive Inc., two companies founded by Ron and Wayne Ward, with the goal of developing accessible and affordable tutoring and therapy programs for use by the general public.  Ron is currently chief scientist at Mentor Interactive and President of Boulder Language Technologies.

 

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John Miller, MD, Secretary

John Miller, MD, Secretary

 

 

Professor Ruth Higgins Dameron, Secretary

Professor Ruth Higgins Dameron
Secretary

Professor Ruth Dameron, Executive Committee

 

Ruth Dameron graduated from Wheaton College, Illinois, with a B.S. in mathematics and from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Computer Science.  She worked in software development and project management in industry for 15 years and was on the faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder, for 25+ years in the Electrical, Computer, & Energy Engineering Department (ECEE).  Prior to her retirement, she co-supervised the senior-level team projects in ECEE and taught a senior-level course and a three-semester graduate-level series in software engineering as well as a freshman course, Introduction to Programming for Engineers.   She consulted in industry in areas of software development methodology and project management.  Ruth lives in Denver with her husband, Kirk.  She has successfully raised to adulthood her daughter, Joy, who has Bardet-Biedl Syndrome and lives independently in Denver.  Ruth plays a variety of folk instruments and is currently enjoying learning to play old-time banjo.

Andy Sesser, Treasurer

Andy Sesser, Treasurer
andy-sesser

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Rob R. Brazell, President & Co-Chair

Rob R. Brazell
President & Co-Chairman
Rob Brazell testing SGT Logan Jubeck at Camp Williams under SGT "Bulldog" Dellinger's caring tutelage.

Rob Brazell testing SGT Logan Jubeck at Camp Williams under SGT “Bulldog” Dellinger’s caring tutelage.

Rob founded Project: Return To Work Inc. (R2W) in 1998 after battling a terminal illness. In 1994 Rob was given a year to live, but he persevered and the experience motivated him to dedicate his life to helping disabled Americans overcome their own disabilities and return to work. Rob is a tireless advocate for vocational rehabilitation programs. Often Rob travels to civilian and military events where he gives motivational speeches and introduces R2W’s services to wounded civilians, soldiers, and their spouses.

At R2W, Rob performs the duties of Chief Executive Officer and has grown R2W from a grassroots startup in Boulder, Colorado to several notable government contracts and prestigious nationwide grants. Rob is continually reaching forward in the rehabilitation process to provide more effective early-intervention services for Americans with disabilities.

Rob’s service to R2W and its clients is part of his own rehabilitation. It took him a long time to return to work full time, but as is the case for many disabled Americans, the outcome was worth it.

After regaining his health, Rob was in a car accident and diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  He was disabled again but refused to give up.  Since the accident, he has been undergoing exciting new rehabilitation therapies while board members and other caring mentors have helped him continue in his role as CEO.  Work tasks are part of his therapies that are giving him hope and meaning in life.

Rob earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineer from the University of Colorado. Prior to R2W, he worked in Corporate America as a successful aerospace engineer.

In his spare time Rob enjoys bicycling, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and ranching.

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