Editor and contributing author of the scholarly book “Rethinking Perception and Centering the Voices of Unique Individuals: Reframing Autism Inclusion in Praxis”
Communication studies full-time lecturer Jess Nerren is on special assignment as the Faculty Inclusion Fellow for Disability, Difference and Accommodation at CSUSB.CSUSB full-time lecturer leads the way in disability inclusion research
Jess Block Nerren is a researcher of disability inclusion, public relations and teacher education as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies. Currently, Nerren is on special assignment as the Faculty Inclusion Fellow for Disability, Difference and Accommodation at CSUSB. Previously, she served as interim faculty director of the Services to Students with Disabilities office, where she oversaw accommodations for over 2,000 students attending the university. She is the editor and contributing author of the scholarly book “Rethinking Perception and Centering the Voices of Unique Individuals: Reframing Autism Inclusion in Praxis.”
Nerren completed her Educational Doctorate in 2021 at CSUSB. In addition, she has an M.A. in communications from Cal State Fullerton, where she was awarded as the CSUF College of Communications Outstanding Graduate Student in 2012.
Nerren is the founder of CoyotePR, the student-run PR agency on campus. In that role, she led a team of students to win the PRSA Inland Empire Polaris Capella Award for excellence in PR tactics in 2019. She has sourced over $90,000 in internal and external funding for the benefit of her students and for the development of an important research agenda on inclusion in many forms and she is chair of the SSD Community Advisory Board at CSUSB.
In 2020, Nerren was selected as one of only 50 Kopenhaver Center Fellows nationwide by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The award is given to primarily tenure-line faculty and is sponsored by the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University and the AEJMC Commission for the Status of Women.
For more than 20 years, outside of the CSUSB community, Nerren worked as a public relations, marketing and photography professional including as the president of her own public relations firm, Felten Media Services. In this capacity, she served as PR and marketing director for multiple law firms, and she was also the publicist for a major national autism nonprofit for many years. Her work led her to serve clients in sports, entertainment, media, the arts, event, nonprofit, publishing and professional services.
Nerren also served as a contributing photojournalist for the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Daily News Group, with a daily readership of over 800,000 homes. Later, she served as a high-end event and executive portrait photographer in addition to running her PR firm.
In the community, Nerren is heavily involved in the autism nonprofit and behavioral health community with past and current service on: the Autism Parent Advisory Board to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; the executive committee of the Riverside County Special Education Local Plan Area as Public Information Officer and Legislative Chair; as a founding board member of The Miracle Project national nonprofit; as the communications chair of the Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara and San Diego Autism Walks; and on the Stakeholder Committee and Diversity Special Interest Group for CalABA, the state governing body for behavior analysts in the state of California providing services to individuals with autism and other developmental and behavioral needs.