Active members of the Whirlwind Women’s Advisory Board


Bridgett Perry B.S.,: Health science/community health, M.Ed.,educational technology; Chair, Whirlwind Women’s Advisory Board; CITTI Project Director and principal consultant of Perry & Associates, a socially progressive firm working with a range of non-profits. Her expertise in assistive technology dates from 1987, when she worked to establish one of the first assistive technology resource centers in the United States . Ms. Perry is a long-time lecturer in the Special Education Department at San FranciscoStateUniversity on assistive technology for teachers. She is an associate of the Alliance for Technology Access. Ms. Perry’s interest in international disability issues led to a fellowship, the International Disabilities Exchanges and Studies (IDEAS 1989), funded by World Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation International. 


Joan Rogin: Secretary, Whirlwind Women’s Advisory Board; WriterWW and WWIvolunteer; editor of Newsletter.


Jane Maxwell: WW Advisory Board member; with the Hesperian Foundation in Berkeley since 1982 as writer/researcher/editor for self-help healthcare publications including Where There Is No Doctor, Disabled Village Children, and Where Women Have No Doctor; currently researching/writing health care book for women with disabilities; has worked in women’s health, disability, health education, and communication in Brazil, Central African Republic, China, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Uganda, and Zimbabwe; believes strongly in free dissemination of information so people can take the lead in their own health care.

Dana Bolles: Wheelchair rider; congenital quad amputee; BS inMechanical Engineering, CSU-Long Beach;Master’s Certificate in Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology, SFSU; payload safety engineer, NASA Kennedy Space Center; safety engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; currently Environmental Compliance Specialist, NASA Ames Research Center; volunteer teaching assistant in wheelchair-building class at SFSU; volunteer in WW program in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.


Judith Rogers, O.T.R. (Occupational Therapist)  BioWorking at Through the Looking Glass (TLG) since 1990, Judi has worked with both parents and children with disabilities. She has designed, developed and researched the impact of adaptivebabycare equipment for parents with disabilities. Growing up with a disability has influenced Judi to turn personal issues into action. Having children inspired her to write a book on pregnancy and disability entitled Mother to be: A guide to pregnancy and birth for women with disabilities. Judi works as an occupational therapist at the NationalResourceCenter for Parents with Disabilities at Through the Looking Glass in BerkeleyCalifornia. Her work at the Center focuses on issues of pregnancy, birthing and parenting concerns of disabled parents. She has provided hundreds of consultations and interventions to parents and professionals.


Ralf Hotchkiss: Engineer, inventor; for 35+ years a wheelchair-designer, -builder, 

-trainer, -rider; co-founder with Peter Pfaelzer of WWI; member, WW Advisory Committee; MacArthur Foundation Fellow and recipient of countless other honors and awards; has worked in 42 countries teaching people who need wheelchairs how to build and maintain them for themselves.


Honora Hunter: BA psychology, Boston College; now a graduate student at San Jose State University in Occupational Therapy; volunteer teaching assistant in WWI wheelchair classes; WW technician since 1999, has worked in Uganda and Mexico; avid watercolorist; sees well-made Whirlwind as work of art; embraces WWI mantra of rider-as-boss in wheelchair design and construction; dreams of helping develop seating system workshops to complement Whirlwind wheelchair shops.


Alicia Contreras: Executive Director, Women Pushing Forward (Formerly Whirlwind Women); wheelchair rider; citizen of Mexico; in the US, while being a New Voices Fellow, got the Paul Hearne Award; in San Luis Potosí (SLP), negotiated first city funding for disabled people and founded first independent living center for women in Mexico; Mexico Coordinator for Mobility International USA (MIUSA) organizing international exchange programs for US young disabled teens in SLP; in 1995, Mexican Delegate to United Nations/NGO Forum in Beijing.

Founders of WW (now WPF):


Cathy Cade: Ph.D., sociology; co-founder with Patty Ruppelt and Jan Sing of Whirlwind Women; member WW Advisory Committee; accomplished photographer. Administrative Assistant to Ralf Hotchkiss 1991-95: organized office and shop, handled correspondence, developed database, helped in editing proposals and developing WWI Board, organized first WWI Board retreat. Worked to get four-woman delegation to Beijing for 1995 UN International Conference on Women, which led to establishment of WW. Owner of “Cathy Cade: Personal Histories, Photo Organizing, and Photography.”


Jan Sing: Architect, rehabilitation engineer, inventor; SFSU Certificate in Rehabilitation Engineering Technology; co-founder with Cathy Cade and Patty Ruppelt of Whirlwind Women, currently WW Technical Director. Wheelchair designer, -builder, -trainer; WWI and WW work in 11 countries in Africa and Latin America teaching men and women to build and maintain their own wheelchairs.


Patty Ruppelt:Physical therapist, feminist, co-founder with Cathy Cade and Jan Sing of Whirlwind Women; wheelchair-builder, -trainer since 1991; initiated WWI Kids’ Wheelchair project; Whirlwind Women work in Mexico and Brazil.


Peter Pfaelzer:Design engineer; professor of mechanical engineering at SFSU for many years; co-founder with Ralf Hotchkiss of WWI; Principal Investigator for Whirlwind Women and WWI at the San FranciscoStateUniversity


Not active but still available:


Jenny Kern: Attorney; wheelchair rider; 1997-00 WW Program Director; member, WW Advisory Committee; organized 1997 WW metalwork pre-training in Kenya for disabled women; instrumental in initiating disabled women’s wheelchair training in Kampala for program that grew to become [Mobility Appliances by Disabled Women Entrepreneurs] MADE in Uganda; helped initiate WW program in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.


Monica and Bob Incerti:Both volunteered to be trainers with the first Whirlwind Women project in San Luis PotosíMexico.


Edith Friedman: Associate Director, Whirlwind Women; coordinated WW work in Mexico and Brazil; helped train women founding Whirlwind wheelchair workshop in San Luis Potosí, Mexico; writer; disability rights movement worker since 1986; has worked as an attorney and as a labor and community organizer.


Kurt Kornbluth:BSMS in Mechanical Engineering, emphasis on design. Since 1994, WWI wheelchair-designer, -trainer; jig builder; Traveled with Jan Sing to work with WW partners in Uganda and Kenya.


Marc Krizack: Attorney; writer; collaborator for 20 years with Ralf Hotchkiss and WWI in the U.S., Developed our first WW website