Valerie Novack is a nonresident fellow at American Progress. She is the 2019 Portlight Fellow for American Progress’ Disability Justice Initiative. Previously, Novack was a disability rights advocate working on state and local issues in housing, transportation, and public access. She partnered with grassroots and legislative partners on legislation, trainings, services, and conferences on topics important to access and inclusion of the disability community. She is an International Code Council-certified accessibility plans examiner, with a focus on accessible public facilities. Novack graduated from the University of Toledo with a bachelor’s degree in disability studies and geography and urban planning. She earned her master’s degree in disaster preparedness and emergency management from Arkansas State University; she focused on the gaps present in preparedness and response efforts for people with disabilities, completing the study “Needs of Disabled Populations in Disaster Preparedness and Response” in 2018.