About Autism Up

Student Ambassadors

The AutismUp Student Ambassador Board is an advocacy group comprised of students with autism spectrum disorder or students who have been affected by ASD in some way. Collectively, the board holds one vote of the official AutismUp board, and seeks to give a voice to the target clients of AutismUp: kids living with autism. In addition, to making organizational decisions, the youth board aims to organize and conduct a new event each month that involves volunteering, fundraising, and creating autism awareness on behalf of AutismUp. Currently, there are 10 members on the board, who are all proud to serve the autism community.

For information about joining the board or participating in an event, please contact Founder and Chairman, Noah Levine, at nlevine@autismup.org.


The Student Ambassador Board is a small group of passionate people with the mission of bringing acceptance and inclusion to the Greater Rochester area and beyond. In honor of American Heart Month and the recent Special Olympics Winter Games this February in our home city, we established an event celebrating health and uniqueness. Our organization held a free fitness class on Thursday, February 28, 2019 to showcase the importance of an active lifestyle and the benefits of creating healthy habits with friends. The touring of our generational sensory gym was a sound success as told by the many smiles shared. Visitors were engaged by our staff in various exercises and games with the priority of allowing them to feel right at home. As a courtesy for their time, we packed up goodie bags as a show of goodwill towards our valued participants. We are optimistic that this event will spark our campaign of autism awareness and introduce people to our wonderful facility and staff. As citizens, it is our duty to ensure that every demographic can have accessible public facilities where their needs are not ignored. A world where we can all be unified and embraced for our differences. That is our vision as ambassadors.

AutismUp is proud to be partnered up with Best Buddies and the Special Olympics to spread the word. Show your support by taking the pledge for inclusion at https://www.spreadtheword.glob....

By Jacob Collier

Meet the AutismUp Student Ambassadors

Noah Levine | Chairman

Noah Levine is a senior at Allendale Columbia School and is also the founder and chairman of the Student Ambassador Board. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and remained non-verbal until the age of 4. With the great support of tremendous parents and a supportive community, Noah was able to overcome autism and become a vibrant leader in the autism community.

Alex Berg | Student Ambassador

My name is Alex Berg, I am a tenth grader at Webster Thomas High School. Autism has affected my life in ways that I did not originally understand. One of my good friends had a baby sister - her family always hung out with mine, but once the baby arrived they stopped coming over as often. I thought "Oh, just the baby being difficult," but a year passed, then two. As it turned out, their daughter was diagnosed with autism. When I learned this I realized how if you're not aware of it, you don't see it. Now I am always slower to judge people because I have met kids who I thought were "weird" or "out there" but now, the more I uncover, the more I realize that they were on the spectrum - and here I was judging them on how they acted even if it was nowhere near their fault on how they were acting. I am excited to be on the board to bring awareness to teenagers and young adults who are living life "typically" and might not stop to help those in need.

Jacob Collier | Student Ambassador

My name is Jacob Collier and I'm 23 years old. I was a student at The Norman Howard School and study at Finger Lakes Community College. My diagnosis is Asperger’s Syndrome, described as a high-functioning form of autism. I have not seen through the scope of others, but speaking on my own behalf it has made life very difficult. For the greater span of my lifetime I’ve felt a general disconnect with the world around me and my peers. There have been few occasions in my life where I’ve felt that I truly belong. When eccentricity is your norm it only seems natural. My peculiar interests only made it more difficult to relate to others. Hence, the prospect of forging relationships was and still can be a daunting task. Approaching and attempting to converse with another can feel like the equivalent of braving a storm. Particularly in my early life it was as though the messages I tried to convey were lost in translation. The overwhelming sensations caused by the malfunctioning of the five senses (loud noises, bright lights, eye contact, etc.) made that barrier seem all the more mighty. Since growing to understand these characteristics about myself I’ve been able to pick myself up and continue overcoming. Though the aforementioned traits appear undesired there is a gift to autism that offers a fresh new perspective. Seeing the world in this light offers newfound clarity to the complexity and mystery that is humanity. There are purposes for this diagnosis and throughout the rhythms of life they will be unveiled.

I have done my fair share of falling down and getting back up to overcome and deal with obstacles associated with my diagnosis. Learning from my mistakes, overcoming my fears, getting out of my comfort zones, and observing others in social situations. You cannot hang your head low but instead recognize your weaknesses and make a point to improve. It is most important to steadily gain confidence in yourself and realize that you are your own person. It’s not about changing yourself but becoming the best person that you can be.

I wish to help individual’s effected by autism and other special needs realize their full potential and to see their unique situation as an ‘ability’. To have them feel validated and supported in the wake of every day struggles. I feel as though this board is comprised of great young people with an innate desire to see positive change within our community. Hopefully through and not limited to; volunteering, spreading awareness, advocating change, improving the lives and morale of others, and being a welcoming torch to those who want to belong.

Morgan B. Levine | Student Ambassador

My name is Morgan. I am a student at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School. I am the sibling of a child with Autism. As a family, we have had to adapt in support of my brother’s needs. This has required patience, acceptance and flexibility. As a young and energetic child, at times, this was challenging for me. I am very excited to be a part of the Student Ambassador Board because I have seen firsthand how tough the lives of the child and their family can become. This experience has made me very passionate about helping other children and their families, work through and overcome some of the same struggles as my brother had. I believe that the board will be a great place for me to put this passion into action, and ultimately be beneficial for the Autism community.

Nate Taylor | Student Ambassador

My name is Nate Taylor and I am 18 years old. I attend Pittsford Sutherland High School and I am in the 12th grade. Autism has affected me in many ways. I will never get to do some of the things that I thought I could do. For example, get a high school diploma or college diploma because many of the courses are hard and the tests are very stressful. It can be hard for me to be flexible and for some reason I can’t seem to handle last minute changes.

I don’t have many friends because I don’t communicate well. I have overcome/dealt with obstacles by learning different strategies for how to handle my limitations. I like to play cello and draw/trace Titanic pictures as it calms me. Accepting what I can do, and not do, I’m going to focus on finishing high school and getting a job.

I am excited to be on the AutismUp Student Ambassador Board because I get to state my opinion on what I strongly believe in, because it represents who I am, and what I believe in. I enjoy advocating for myself and other kids who have autism. I was featured in WXXI’s first "Exited" podcast where my family and I were interviewed about exiting the school system without a diploma. I want people to know we need to advocate to make sure everyone gets a diploma.

Kate Waldmiller | Student Ambassador

My name is Kate Waldmiller. I'm in 12th Grade and I'm 17. I go to eSTART which is a Monroe One BOCES program. I found out I had Autism when I was 14. It told me why social things were harder for me than others. I joined a program at AutismUp called Teen Kinect and I felt like I fit in. It helped me to learn to become more social with my peers. I also like to volunteer at Gliding Stars which is an ice skating program for people with any disability, even physical. I am excited to be a part of the board because it helps me be an advocate for other people with autism.


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