Board of Directors
Kristin lives outside Pittsburgh with her husband Justin and children Natalie and Zach. She works full-time at Aetna as a quality analyst within their Medicare division. She was a titleholder in 2010 and currently serves as MWPA vice-president and ambassador coordinator.
In early 2010 I was contacted by Mark Wellman, the first paraplegic climber to ascend the rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He wanted to rent a mobile rock wall that I owned to allow wheelchair users to try out adaptive climbing at an Abilities Expo. This seemed absolutely impossible in my world, but I said yes. I was hooked on helping him after I saw the emotional breakthrough as climbers moved from “I can’t” to “maybe I can” to “I just did it.” Maybe not everyone would leave that experience and become a rock climber but perhaps something they never dreamed possible they might actually try.
While in Boston at an Abilities Expo in 2018 two ladies rolled up wearing crowns and sashes. This was obviously going to be another “I didn’t know that is a thing” experience. Here I was in Massachusetts meeting the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania and Ms. Wheelchair America. I am not a fan of beauty contests so when I heard this was a competition about advocacy I was intrigued. I could relate to these women on an intellectual level and respected their ability to communicate. As I learned more I realized this was the type of organization I wanted to get behind and support.
While I do not know what it’s like to do life with the assistance of a wheelchair, I can use my financial skills and connections to support these women on the front line of advocacy. I have a bachelor of science in economics with a concentration in accounting and entrepreneurial management from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School and an MBA from Penn State. Monday through Friday I am a corporate controller, but my real passions are volunteering and giving, which I juggle with adopted and natural children who range in age from 7 to 29 living in PA, VA, and CA.
Because of my skill set, I have naturally gravitated to the treasurer responsibilities and building the Ms. Wheelchair PA Fund at the Lancaster County Community Foundation.
It is a pleasure to serve this organization and see the growth in and impact of the titleholders and ambassadors. I appreciate learning from them and being challenged to see life from a different perspective.
Shanna Murphy Sosko is a regional planner from Johnstown, PA who has been serving the residents of Cambria County for over nine years as the Community Development Planner with the Cambria County Planning Commission. Throughout her career she has worked in many planning initiatives including multiple bicycle and pedestrian plans and has a specialty in land use regulations. Shanna was first introduced to the Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania organization in the fall of 2018 when the CCPC was working on a bicycle and pedestrian plan and she realized that wheelchair users were not widely recognized as pedestrians and their needs were widely ignored in pedestrian infrastructure. Shanna worked with Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2018, Barb Zablotney, on organizing an accessibility day workshop where local leaders were able to experience the pedestrian infrastructure in downtown Johnstown while using wheelchairs. Since then Shanna has assisted other people with disabilities advocate for accessible infrastructure and most recently led an accessibility workshop for the Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2022 competition.
Shanna is excited to be serving on the board of directors for the Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania organization and is looking forward to using her expertise in land use and infrastructure to help residents with disabilities advocate for their rights and to assure that these rights are addressed in future projects. Shanna is also looking forward to learning and understanding more about the daily challenges that people with disabilities face and how to fight against ableism.
Jessica Gardner is the former Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2021 and is currently the interim Ambassador Coordinator for the MWPA organization. She lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with her significant other, Anthony, service dog Ford, and cat, Marley. In 2009, she obtained her associate degree in Human Services. She serves on the South Central United Spinal board as the Chapter Advocacy Representative and is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Canine Companions Volunteer Chapter. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and pursuing her advocacy passion of working to eliminate service dog fraud.
Member at Large
Dawn is the majority owner of D&GG Marketing and Communications and Advertising, a certified woman owned company located in Pittsburgh. For the past 13 years Dawn has focused her efforts on bringing D&GG into the twenty first century yet maintaining the old-world quality it was founded on. Dawn lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Drew, who is a brilliant attorney.
Member at Large
Marty Dombrowski is the Assistant Director of the Center for Independent Living of South Central PA. She is mom to three incredible children, Elyse and husband, Robert of Washington County, PA, Ethan and Joseph, both of Blair County. Marty and her husband, Chuck, reside in Altoona and enjoy cycling and kayaking and being grandparents to Lucy.