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Davenport Fellowship

Sandra Davenport CHARGE Syndrome Fellows Program

The CHARGE Syndrome Foundation is committed to nurturing and educating professionals who have shown a commitment to CHARGE syndrome. The Davenport Fellowship program brings professionals (clinical, research, therapeutic, educational) early in their careers to the International CHARGE Syndrome Conferences, where they have the opportunity to learn more about CHARGE, interact with one another and get to know individuals with CHARGE and their families.

The program is named in honor of Sandra Davenport, MD, a medical geneticist with expertise in sensory deficits who was a founding member of the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation. Dr. Davenport set the tone for conferences from the beginning – making sure medical and educational professionals interact with one another and ensuring that the conference is a family-friendly place. Her expertise in sensory deficits and deafblindness influenced a generation of CHARGE professionals.

Please see below for application instructions for the 15th International CHARGE Syndrome Conference, July 20–23, 2023 in Orlando, Florida 

What do Davenport Fellows do? 

  • Attend Professional Day Conference (Thursday July 20) 
  • Attend International CHARGE Syndrome Conference (evening of Thursday July 20 through noon on Sunday July 23) 
  • Get matched with a family with a child with CHARGE 
  • Volunteer for ½ day in Camp, with the child from your family match (this requires a background check) 
  • Participate in daily sessions with the Fellowship advisors and other Fellows 
  • Write up observations, experiences, and/or highlights for the CHARGE Accounts newsletter 

Who is eligible to apply for a Davenport Fellowship? 

Students or early career professionals with interest in and some experience with CHARGE syndrome or deafblindness, including—but not limited to—those in the fields of: 

  • Education/special education 
  • Deafblindness 
  • Genetic counseling  
  • Medicine 
  • Psychology 
  • Providers (e.g., audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, etc.) 

What does the fellowship cover? 

  • Registration for Professional Day (Thursday July 20) 
  • Registration for International Conference (evening of Thursday July 20 through noon on Sunday July 23) 
  • Hotel costs for shared room for four nights (check in on Wednesday July 19; check out on Sunday July 23) 
  • Travel stipend between $300–$750, depending on location and availability of funds. 

2023 Application Information 

For complete application instructions click APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS below. When you are ready to complete your application (including your essay and CV), click SUBMIT APPLICATION below.

You letter writer should submit your letter of recommendation to lily@chargesyndrome.org. Deadline for completed applications (including the letter of recommendation) is April 3, 2023. 



“Attending the CHARGE conference as a Fellow has forever changed my life in many ways…After introducing myself and meeting the other fellows, I learned quickly we all had a desire to learn as much as possible about individuals with CHARGE. Some of us were new to CHARGE and others were not but wanted to delve deeper into the field to further their knowledge. I feel like we all formed a bond during the conference that will never be forgotten.” Dr. Rebecca Darden-Perry


2019 Davenport Fellows

Megan Anderson, PhD candidate in School Psychology at Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS

Rebecca Darden-Perry, PhD candidate in Special Education at North Central University, Scottsdale, AZ

Dieuwerke Dijk, MD, specializing in working with children with intellectual disabilities, Netherlands

Sara Espanet, Special Education Teacher at Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Rilla Hammett, graduate student in the Server Special Education program at Lesley University, Boston, MA

Laura Kreuger, MD/PhD student at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Julia Morrison, medical student at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Ira Padhye, PhD candidate in Special Education and Disability Policy at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Brianna Ralston, PhD candidate in Audiology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Elaine Ritter, PhD postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI

Megan Schmittel, School Psychologist at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA and PhD candidate in school psychology at Central Michigan University

Sarah Schoffstall, PhD is a School Psychologist at The Learning Center for the Deaf, Framingham, MA

Lily Slavin, PhD candidate in School Psychology at Central Michigan University

Hallie Smith, PhD is a Licensed Psychologist II in the Pediatric Feeding Disorder Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD

2017 Davenport Fellows

Zachary Bird, PhD candidate in Behavior Analysis at Simmons College and Teacher at Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Megan Connaughton, MEd, Teacher in Deafblind Program, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Dieuwerke Dijk, MD, Fellow in Specialized training for individuals with disabilities, Groningen, Netherlands

Alex Donovan, PhD Candidate in Neuroscience and Craniofacial Development, Kings College, London UK

Emily Fassi, MS, Genetic Counselor, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Lauren Fogarty, Medical Student, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Chathuri Illapperuma, PhD Candidate, School Psychology, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS

Bree Kaufman, PhD candidate, Schooll Psychology, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

Charlotte Reimer, MS candidate in Speech and Language Psychology, Cal State East Bay, CA

Kareem Tawfik, MD, Otolaryngology Chief Resident, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Hui Yao, PhD, Post Doctoral Fellow in Medical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mi

2015 Davenport Fellows

Caitlin Hale, Genetic Counseling student, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Sara Espanet, Deafblind Education specialist, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA

Alexandra Hudson, Medical student, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Ben Kennert, PhD candidate, Educational Psychology, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

Rachel Malta, Specialist in Educational Psychology student, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

Neeraja Reddy, Genetic Counseling student, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Hailey Ripple, PhD candidate, Educational Psychology, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS

Lauren Siems, Genetic counseling student, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Ethan Sperry, MD/PhD candidate, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI