Isabella Brown

Isabella C. Brown is both a Marcus Foster and Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Fellow. She holds an MA from San Francisco State University and is a second-year PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program with the University of California, Berkeley. In Spring 2019, she was appointed to the position of Graduate Student Researcher at the UCSF-UC Berkeley Schwab Dyslexia & Cognitive Diversity Center, where her research team has been looking at supports for students with disabilities since the onset of COVID-19 and distance learning, and has been working on a review of empirical autism literature and its racial/ethnic demography. At San Francisco State University, Isabella is the coordinator of an inclusion pilot program that welcomed three students of color with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to take university classes for the first time.

Isabella’s scholarly research centers on unraveling systemic barriers impeding and constraining meaningful parent-school partnerships for neurodiverse students of color in K-12 and their families. Her research springs from the desire to inform changes in policy by investigating inequitable disability and special education systems phenomena from a multidisciplinary lens. She is tenacious about using research and informing policy to increase opportunities for parental knowledge sharing while encouraging diversity in autistic culture.

Isabella’s most recent scholarly contributions to the field are:

  • Brown, I. (publication editing in process) A parent’s story In Buron, K. & Wolfberg, P., Learners on the autism spectrum: Preparing highly qualified educators and related practitioners (Third ed.).
  • Brown, I. & Mortier, K. (accepted). “Watch your tone”: the experiences of African American parents of students on the autism spectrum in parent-school partnerships.
  • Mortier, K., Brown, I. C., & Aramburo, C. M. (2020). Cultural Brokers in Special Education. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities.

In addition, Isabella is the first author on a conference manuscript accepted to AERA, titled, “Disparities in Distance Learning for Special Education Students During a Global Pandemic."

Specializations and Interests

Parent-school Partnerships in Special Education; Inclusive Academic Spaces; Teacher Preparation and Development; DisCrit; Equity and Education


M.A., Special Education, San Francisco State University


Curriculum Vitae