We’re a small distributed team of health professionals that sees a big need for more universally and financially accessible homes and social opportunities. Our careers have been built on years of experience working with people with a wide range of physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments. This has given us unique perspectives on the functional aspects of design, which we use collaboratively with design professionals and other service-based businesses to benefit communities across America.
The Universal Design Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The basis for our work is universal design, which is about usability for everyone.
Our mission & vision
Mission: to provide easy ways for communities to implement universal design in places not regulated by accessibility legislation. (our current focus: private homes)
Vision: for every community across the USA to have a surplus of homes and opportunities for social participation that are universally and financially accessible.
Who we are
Sarah Pruett, MOT, OTR/L, CAPS
Program Director, Occupational Therapist – Harrisonburg, Virginia
Sarah is a co-founder of The Universal Design Project, has a BS in Allied Health, and a Masters in Occupational Therapy.
As an occupational therapist who specializes in adult physical rehabilitation and environmental design, Sarah has extensive knowledge about how the design of spaces impacts everyday life. Clinical experience, marriage with a husband who has a spinal cord injury, a seat on Virginia’s Assistive Technology Advisory Council, and leadership in serving people with a wide range of disabilities have given her a passion for better, more functional design throughout homes and communities.
Tiffany Dill, OTD, MPH, ECHM, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist – St. Louis, Missouri
Tiffany is the owner of Blue Day 2 Designs, has a BA in Communications, a Masters of Public Health, and is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
Living with a hearing impairment throughout life has challenged Tiffany to seek new routes and adventures within her environments, particularly in large social settings. Her passion lies deep in helping others discover new ways to face their challenges. She has experience in various clinical settings and personally understands the need to live safely and independently for work, home, and play.
Meaghan Walls, BE, MSBE, ATP
Rehabilitation Engineer, Assistive Technology Professional – Omaha, Nebraska
Meaghan is the president & CEO of Assistology, has a BS in Mathematics, an MS in Bioengineering, and is a certified Assistive Technology Professional.
As an engineer, Meaghan is especially passionate about creating ways to help individuals increase their participation in activities that improve functional abilities for daily living and obtain access to environments and activities that improve their quality of life. She works to take design beyond minimum requirements to incorporate the human experience throughout design processes.
Rebecca Langbein, OTD
Occupational Therapist, Engineer – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rebecca is an engineer-turned-occupational therapist. She has a BS in Integrated Engineering & Psychology and is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
She helps bridge a functional gap between products and people by consulting with a variety of organizations to help create products and environments that are equitably accessible for all people. Rebecca had the privilege of sharing her vision about occupational therapy and human-centered design as a TEDx speaker and continues to participate in and advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration.
Scott Pruett, MS
Executive Director, President – Harrisonburg, Virginia
Scott is our other co-founder, has a BS in Technical & Scientific Communication, and a MS in Parks & Rec Management with a focus on Adaptive Sports.
Living with a spinal cord injury for over half of his life, Scott has experienced the impact of the lack of accessibility and design that rarely accommodates disability in optimal ways. He has developed problem-solving skills that he uses in harmony with his wife (Sarah) to help explore how to design more functional home environments and other things that result in better community participation for their family and many others.
We call our volunteer group “Design Advisors” because they have an important role: to verify that any design work we create is functional for themselves as an individual affected by disability, or for the people they care for. If it’s not, they advise us what would be better, signaling us to make a change or go back to the drawing board.
The identities of our Design Advisors are private.
We have 174 as of August 8, 2022. Learn more and apply here.
Board of Directors
Anthony Gregoria, DPT
2023: Kaylee C., University of Central Arkansas (planned)
2023: Brittany W., Towson University (planned)
2022: Nate P., University of New England
2022: Alee H., James Madison University
2022: Daniel-Hannah G., Washington University in St. Louis
2021: Kelsey G., University of Puget Sound
2021: Rachel M., James Madison University
2021: Nicole G., Maryville University
2021: Lauren D., University of Central Arkansas
2021: Sally K., Trinity Washington University
2020-2021: Bethany H., The University of Kansas
2020: Kati R., Mary Baldwin University
2019: Brooke T., Savannah College of Art and Design
2019: David W., Cedarville University
2019: Sandy W., Mary Baldwin University
2018: Katie G., Mary Baldwin University
2018: Nicole H., Mary Baldwin University
2017: Despina S., Mary Baldwin University