• Axis UChicago

    Axis is a community of allies dedicated to bringing dis/ability* related discussion, advocacy, and community service to the University of Chicago and Chicagoland area.

  • About Us

    Axis is a CSRSO founded in 2013 by Grace Koh and Alita Carbone.

    *Why do we put a slash through the word dis/ability? Axis acknowledges and respects that there are many different meanings and uses of the term. If and how a person chooses to define or use the term (person first, identity first language, or any other descriptor) is a personal choice and has its own personal meaning.

  • What We Do

    Community Service

    Student Volunteer Program: Axis volunteers visit local Hyde Park schools on a weekly basis to tutor, assist, and offer guidance to students with a wide range of dis/abilities. Our volunteers are committed to building relationships with students receiving special education services.


    Our Partners: Ray Elementary, City Elementary, Special Olympics Chicago, St. Thomas the Apostle School



    Workshops: Axis is committed to bringing a diverse array of tangible workshops to the UChicago campus. Past workshops include seizure response training, CPR certification training, and teaching strategies for our volunteers.


    Days of Service: Several times a year, Axis organizes service opportunities throughout the Chicagoland area. All members of the UChicago community are invited to join.




    Axis' Discussion Series helps create meaningful dialogue among members of the University community and encourage discussion on the many facets of dis/ability.


    Past speakers include:

    • Justice Anne BurkeIllinois Supreme Court justice for Cook County and Special Olympics founder 
    • Karen Gaffney, President of the Karen Gaffney Foundation and Special Olympics athelete  
    • Mark Hellner, Executive Director at the Center for Disability and Elder Law
    • Luca Badetti, PhD student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago 
    • Jason HarrisCo-founder of Jason's Connection
    • Rachel Weisberg, Staff Attorney at Equip for Equality 


    Axis is dedicated to building a safer, more accessible, and more inclusive campus through initiatives such as workshops, awareness weeks, and more.


    Each Winter quarter, Axis partners with Active Minds to offer a week of programming dedicated to unravelling stigma surrounding mental health and disability.

    Leadership Opportunities

    Interested in working on our 2016-2017 Executive Board? Axis is currently looking for a Director of Communications and Outreach as well as a Treasurer. For more information, email Nikita at nikitamehta@uchicago.edu

  • #SeeThroughStigma Week, Jan 19-22

    An entire week of programming dedicated to unraveling stigma to advance self-identification in mental health & disability

    #SeeThroughStigma Week is a collaboration of Active Minds and Axis UChicago, two University of Chicago RSO’s, with the purpose of advancing self-identification. Active Minds’ purpose is to empower university students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking behavior. Axis is dedicated to raising awareness about dis/ability and changing the way dis/ability is perceived. While we work in different spheres, we found that one common issue that both mental health and dis/ability deal with is self-identification. Mental health and dis/ability are umbrella terms that encompass a wide variety of experiences and identities, and serve to silence rather than encourage everybody’s unique experience and perspective. These terms often encourage a general neglect of the details of lives affected by disability or struggles in mental health, which in turn creates a stigma surrounding these topics, such that they are not discussed openly, making it difficult for individuals who might benefit from support or help from seeking it. It’s now time to open the conversation, address the stigma that exists around mental health and dis/ability, promote self- identification, and #SeeThroughStigma.

  • Past Events



    Autumn Quarter


    A City For All: The State of Accessibility in Chicago

    Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities

    10/13/16, 7:30PM, McCormick Tribune Lounge


    Assistive Technologies Workshop

    Lynette Strode, Illinois Assistive Technology Program

    11/2/16, 6PM, Harper 145


    Diverse Learners Workshop

    Nan Freund, Education Services Associates

    11/10/16, 7PM, Harper 141



    Autumn Quarter


    Disability at the Center: Featuring Luca Badetti, PhD Candidate in Disability Studies at UIC

    Class Dismissed: College & Career Readiness for Students with Disabilities

    Epilepsy and Seizure Training Workshop: By the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago


    Winter Quarter


    See Through Stigma Week

    Disability & Law: Featuring Access Living, Equip for Equality, Center for Disability & Elder Law

    Learning Disabilities Workshop: By Jay Smith, Principal of Hyde Park Day School


    Spring Quarter


    Epilepsy and Seizure Training Workshop: By the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago

    World Down Syndrome Day: A Presentation by Karen Gaffney, Special Olympics Gold Medalist

    Special Olympics Bowling Tournament: In Collaboration with Special Olympics Chicago




    Engaging with Autism: Featuring Colleen Shinn, Manager at Easter Seals

    Sexual Assault Awareness Week: Screening of "The Last Taboo," with moderator Margaret Fink

    Adaptive Sports Workshop: By Jason Stubbeman of Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

    Special Olympics Bowling Tournament: In Collaboration with Special Olympics Chicago

    CPR Training Workshop: By University of Chicago Emergency Medical Services (UCEMS)

    Disability & Law: Featuring Pranks Paul, Staff Attorney at Equip for Equality


  • Who We Are

    Nikita Mehta, President


    Nikita is a third year at the University of Chicago, and is pursuing a double major in Biology and Neuroscience. She has been working with students who have visual, hearing, and developmental dis/abilities for over six years. Nikita is an editor for Scientia, a print publication showcasing undergraduate research, an editor and writer for the PULSE magazine, a board member of the Pre-Medical Student's Association (PMSA), and a first responder on the University of Chicago's EMS unit. She also works in the Neurology department as a research assistant for the Popko laboratory. She enjoys sunshine, running, biking, hiking, swimming, and any outdoor activity.

    Tom Carden, President



    Tom is a fourth year Public Policy major. Prior to joining Axis, Tom was active in the dis/ability community in the Chicagoland area. He worked for two summers as a special recreation leader for the Chicago Park District and served as president of the Junior Board at Misericordia Home, a community for people living with physical and developmental disabilities on the city’s northwest side.


    Yolanda Yu, Board Member


    Yolanda is a second-year pre-med student from California and is currently pursuing a double major in Biology and Psychology. She first wanted to become involved with Axis after volunteering at a UCLA Special Olympics event and is now hoping to further her experiences through Axis. Outside of Axis, she is involved in other RSOs including Relay for Life, GlobeMed, and China Care. She also really enjoys playing the violin and designing.

    Kenny Talbott, Board Member

    Casey McKenna, Board Member


    Casey McKenna is a third year year Comparative Human Development major and Spanish minor. She has worked as a special recreation counselor and inclusion aide at the Chicago Park District and is involved with Best Buddies International. In addition to AXIS she is also involved in Alpha Phi Omega, the community service fraternity on campus, and is a lighting technician at the Logan Center for the Arts

    Mahy El-Shikh, Board Member


    Mahy is a second year Biology major on the Pre-Med track at the University of Chicago. Before Axis, she volunteered with The Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, where she helped make gifts and organize fundraisers for kids and teens battling cancer. Additionally, she is also involved in the Student National Medical Association (SNMA-MAPS), a percussionist for UChicago Wind Ensemble, and is part of the Muslim Student Association.

    Ellie Xu, Board Member



    Ellie Xu is a third-year Economics and Psychology double-major. She has worked with adults with developmental and visual dis/abilities in the past at Lighthouse Guild NYC. Aside from Axis, she is also involved with ChinaCare and ArtShould, where she volunteers with children. She enjoys going to museums, exploring new neighborhoods, and eating good food!

  • Alumni

    Graduated Board Members include:

    Grace Koh '16 (Co-Founder)

    Alita Carbone '17 (Co-Founder)

    Victoria Wang '16

    Katie Zimmerman '17

    Alita Carbone, President &



    Alita graduated from the University of Chicago in 2017 with a B.A. in political science. She was also Captain of the Women's Crew Team, a council member on the President/Provost's Diversity Advisory Council, Editor-in Chief of the Undergraduate Law Review, and a member of Student Government's Community Service Fund. She has engaged with dis/ability her whole life, as her older sister was born with severe developmental disabilities. She has pursued a deep academic analysis of dis/ability, completed a BA thesis examining citizenship and dis/ability in the United States, and even wrote her own course entitled "Justice, ethics, and dis/ability. She is currently working as an investment banking analyst at William Blair & Company.

    Katie Zimmerman


    Katie graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.S. in mathematics. She hails from Gaithersburg, MD. When Katie has time, she can be seen volunteering with the Prospective Students Advisory Committee, hiking, and swimming.

  • Contact Us

    Axis UChicago (its board members, volunteers, and affiliates) is comprised of allies, family members of people who identify as having a disability/disabilities, and people who self-identify as disabled.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in our events and opportunities are those of the organization(s)/speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Axis UChicago.