Leonor Vanik holds a Masters in Community Development from/and is currently a PhD Candidate in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on the intersectionality of housing policy, social justice and marginalized communities, specifically people with physical disabilities, in the built environment . She is the recipient of a Housing and Urban Development Early Doctoral Research Grant and a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to study the social production of disability spaces in urban environments. She has served as the Chair of the Disability Studies group of the American Association of Geographers and is currently the Chair of the Latino Disability Foundation and Forum. The foundation serves to build leadership among the Latino undocumented disability community, raises funds for grant programming; and provides policy recommendations for the Latino Disability community in Illinois. In addition, she has worked with the schools and disability families from K-12 is an advocate for Latino families with disabilities; a co-author of the 360 Life workbook; and, a consultant to non-profit organizations for disability inclusion.
She has a sibling with Down Syndrome and identifies with the disability community.