José Manuel Álvarez Cabán, better known as "Manolo," is a blind person but has a great vision of life. He truly believes in social inclusion and has dedicated his life to promoting equal access to technology for all. Manolo is a technological innovator, developer of apps, educational software, and video games for blind students, podcaster, researcher, and professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Río Piedras Campus. He teaches assistive technology courses and has offered courses in accessible technology at the graduate level as a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Boston campus. He has also conducted digital accessibility workshops at universities in Panama, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Spain.
Manolo was part of the team at NASA's Johnson Space Center in developing software for blind students to learn science. He was also a member of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Engineering Technology Advisory Group. He was the promoter of the creation of Law 229, which guarantees the accessibility of web pages of the Government Agencies of Puerto Rico. He has offered technical assistance to the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE) in the implementation of the system of telephone voting for blind people. He participated in the work team of the initiative that developed the first talking ATM in Puerto Rico by Banco Popular.
Academically, Manolo holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the State University of New York. He has a certification in "Accessible Information Technology" from the University of Southern Maine and obtained a certificate in "Assistive Technology Application" from the California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He also has a master's degree in special education and is working on his doctoral dissertation in the Administration of Special Education Programs at the Inter-American University, Metro Campus.