“Creating a Culture of Accessibility in the Sciences” – reflections/book review

I hear a lot about promoting diversity in science. Mostly, it’s about increasing the proportion of women. Sometimes it refers to people of color. Less frequently it’s about the inclusion of Latinos or people from other ethnic backgrounds. However, it’s rarely mentioned that in the sciences, people with disabilities are also underrepresented. Why is that – and what can be done to fix this? Inspired by a talk from Mahadeo Sukhai*, a blind scientist in cancer genetics, inclusivity is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last year. And once I started paying attention I came across a lot of insightful material: I found reports about providing more support for researchers with disabilities or about coding by voice, when typing is not an option. I stumbled on an 9780128040379interesting articles about how to make physics courses more accessible for blind students or welcoming deaf students into STEM. And chemist Mona Minkara has an awesome website with tools and resources for blind scientists or anyone teaching a blind scientist. But by far the most comprehensive guide I’ve read is Creating a Culture of Accessibility in the Sciences. As a 300-page book, it has been an interesting but tough read, providing lots of context and fundamental considerations, but it was also quite a slog to work my way though. So, for anyone interested in this book, here my highlights and disappointments!

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