Having grown up in the rural woods of Maine, Jason had a love of the outdoors and travel that continued after a car accident in 1990, which left him with a spinal cord injury, requiring the use of a wheelchair.
In 2001, Jason decided he would follow in his father’s footsteps by “loving what you do.” Jason enrolled at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts to study travel and tourism. With awards for superior achievement in Geography, he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Jason, along with his wife Patty, moved to Canada in 2010 to complete two separate Masters degrees in Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo.
Under the advisement of a leading academic in tourism research, Jason conducted research to improve accessibility in tourism for people with mobility impairments for the degree in Tourism Policy and Planning. Recognizing not only the importance of access to people with disabilities, but also the enormous potential economic impact on the tourism industry, he audited accessibility at five parks in southern Ontario, comparing site conditions with stated access.
The focus of his second degree in the Planning program was the provision of accessibility in an institutional setting. Understanding the dynamics of service providers, operations staff, and the user were essential to explaining the current state of accessibility at the study site.
As an undergraduate, he presented his findings of an ethnographic study of accessible tourism in the American southwest at the National Convention of the American Association of Geographers. He presented his parks’ research at the same convention again in 2015.
“With support family, friends, and Patty,” Jason said, “I have every opportunity to achieve my goal of changing the world.” Jason’s determination to change the world for the better led him to research and IHCD.