Success in STEM

The Future of Science and Technology

As the fields of science and technology become more accommodating to people with disabilities, it is up to qualified people with disabilities to contribute to the development of the sciences. Scientists with disabilities need to step up and show the scientific community that the resources, research time, hours of study, and funding that have been spent on adaptive technology and Universal Design have been worthwhile.

One way in which scientists with disabilities can contribute to their chosen field is to take the plunge into the lengthy and challenging process of earning a Ph.D. The research that is contributed to their field’s body of knowledge will expand the frontiers of science. Also, the education of young scientists in the classroom, and of the general public and policy makers outside the classroom, will highlight the benefits of making accommodations for scientists with disabilities. By publicly contributing back to the sciences, the accommodations that have previously been made to the trailblazers of scientists with disabilities will have been justified, the impetus for future accommodations will be even greater, and a more representative population of scientists will be created with all of the diversity and perspective that comes along with it.

The following are profiles of five academics with disabilities who were successfully accommodated during their education and careers, and whose educations or experiences are today enabling them to make major contributions to their fields of research.