Posted May 1, 2024

Temple opens innovative TechOWL Community Space

The new community space offers assistive technology for people with disabilities

Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Godfrey Nazareth, president and CEO of, X-Biomedical, Inc. speaks during the grand opening of the TechOWL Community Space. TechOWL was instrumental in helping him try speech-enabled devices.

Innovation for people with disabilities is being elevated at Temple University’s new TechOWL Community Space. Temple’s Institute on Disabilities at the College of Education and Human Development officially opened the site on April 18.

“The mission of the Institute on Disabilities is to learn from and work with people with disabilities and their families in diverse communities across Pennsylvania, to create and share knowledge, change systems in society, and to promote self-determined lives so that disability is recognized as a natural part of the human experience,” Sally Gould-Taylor, executive director of the Institute on Disabilities, said during the grand opening. “This TechOWL Community Space is central to our mission.”

The new space, located at 1392 Cecil B. Moore Ave., was funded by a $500,000 state grant secured by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. The 2,227 square-foot center is dedicated to creating assistive technology opportunities for people with disabilities and offers cutting-edge vision equipment, 3D printing and mobility devices.

“Here at Temple and the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), the students, staff and our professional partners have come together to elevate the needs of our disability and neurodivergent community so that we put what they need at the core of what we do,” said Monika Williams Shealey, dean of CEHD.

“This community space helps us to be able to amplify voices that may have not been heard previously. It gives us an opportunity to elevate teaching, research and technology.”

As Pennsylvania’s designated Assistive Technology Act program, TechOWL (Technology for Our Whole Lives) receives state and federal aid to help Pennsylvanians of any age and disability get the technology and tools they need.

“The opening of the TechOWL Community Space represents the culmination of our team’s efforts to make a meaningful difference in accessibility in Pennsylvania,” said Alanna Raffel, TechOWL assistive technology specialist.

“We’ve asked ourselves the following question: How can the TechOWL Community Space help fulfill the vision of a more accessible Pennsylvania? We hope that it will serve as a hub for learning and community building for people with disabilities across the state,” she continued. 

The space has already hosted workshops on various topics such as magnification devices, adaptive toys and wheelchair repair.

Godfrey Nazareth, president and CEO of, X-Biomedical, Inc., shared how technology has been a powerful tool in his life.

When Nazareth began rapidly losing his ability to speak 18 years ago, TechOWL helped him try various advanced speech-generated devices before he decided to build his own.

“The new community center is a beacon of opportunity, providing access to the latest technology, resources and expertise with a unique environment that allows people to explore and discover solutions that truly determine aspirations,” he said. “The positive impact extends far beyond the walls of this center.”