SciAccess 2019 Recordings
The Science Accessibility Conference
Have you ever heard a cardinal chirp or smiled upon a hearing burbling brook while ambling through the woods on a walk? Have you enjoyed whispering with your friends during class or had a quiet side consultation with a coworker during a meeting? Have you never worried about hearing the fire alarm go off or missing a critical piece of information spoken at the last minute before a test? If you are nodding along, you are probably one of the hearing privileged in the world. For you, hearing is likely second nature, nearly automatic, and only when a severe cold blocks you up do you struggle with sounds. But for many of us, we can't enjoy a chirping cardinal, we can't detect the stream until our feet are wet, and we have to offer paper for a written note in lieu of a quick whisper. We do not have the comfort of relying on the sound of fire alarms in an emergency, and we constantly have to ask "what?" or "can you please repeat that?" and hope that people are kind enough to comply.
Dr. Aanstoos works in a field where new inventions are created every day to make life easier, faster, cheaper, and better for those with whom we share our world. But technology isn't perfect and people are still uncertain on how to interact. Dr. Aanstoos will describe her own experiences and what it is like to lack the ability to hear colleagues easily on the phone, resort to interpreting eyebrow wiggling and ear waggling when assisting with surgeries, and strive to interpret meaning when missing key words during conversations. As she explains: “I have spent my entire life with a hearing loss. Yet, every time I get new hearing aids, every time I move to a new environment, and every time I meet someone new, I have to re-learn to hear. This session is intended both for hearing audiences curious about my world and for those who want to hear their thoughts spoken aloud. I do not claim to speak for all, but I intend for people to both understand what my struggles are like and let others who may have their own similar hardships know they are not alone.”
Regardless of the discipline, outdoor learning experiences commonly place an implicit expectation on the physical, sensory, and social abilities needed to work collaboratively and navigate the rugged, ever-changing and often unpredictable, natural environment.As a result, most field-focused science disciplines marginalize those who do not match the identity of a traditional field practitioner. This marginalization is derived from an assumed deficit in the inability of the student rather than addressing the inaccessibility of the way in which field studies are conducted.
To catalyze a cultural shift toward inclusive instructional practice, the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD), a non-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio, was formed in 2008 to address the barriers of access and inclusion in the Earth sciences. By focusing on inclusion, the IAGD is strengthening the entire community of learning by encouraging the broad participation across the spectrum of ability. This presentation will discuss the work of the IAGD as an evolution in geoscience education, embodying elements of universal and inclusively designed teaching and learning that can be transferred across science disciplines in both formal and informal instructional settings.
This session will include a joint presentation by two graduate students with chronic illnesses - Danielle is a medical student and Gabi is a PhD student in geology.Although they have different symptoms and career paths, they both navigate an academic system that was not built with disabled people in mind. Join them as they discuss the delicate balance between succeeding in school and maintaining their health, effective ways to self-advocate for better healthcare and to advocate for others, and how to manage the risk of being kicked out or rejected because of illnesses or activism. The final 20 minutes of the session will be reserved for questions and discussion, and they will use a digital anonymous question tool to allow all participants to ask questions without embarrassment or anxiety.
This session is intended for students at all levels of higher education (undergraduate and graduate) and in all disciplines, though the focus be on unique challenges relevant to science and medicine. The speakers hope that participating students will learn practical skills for advocacy and academic success (far beyond requesting accommodations, which is where advice for students often ends), and that participants will leave with more confidence in their ability to succeed in their chosen careers. Non-students in the audience will also benefit by learning what kinds of advice they should or shouldn’t give to disabled students. They’ll also get a sense of the new ways that students are forming networks and organizing. For example, Danielle and Gabi connected through the chronic illness community on Instagram.
On September 18, 2006, Anousheh Ansari captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. Anousheh earned a place in history as the fourth private explorer to visit space, the first astronaut of Iranian descent, and the first Muslim woman in space.
Anousheh is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder and chairman of the technology company Prodea Systems. Prior to founding Prodea Systems, Anousheh served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of Telecom Technologies, Inc. The company successfully merged with Sonus Networks, Inc., in 2000. To help drive commercialization of the space industry, Anousheh and her family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.
Anousheh immigrated to the United States as a teenager who did not speak English. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She has an honorary doctorate from the International Space University. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University. Anousheh believes that space should be accessible to all and is passionate about inspiring youth, especially girls, around the world to pursue their dreams.
As a member of the American Society’s Chemists with Disabilities Committee, Ashley Neybert is interested in making science more fun and accessible for all people, whether that be through physical access such as Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest 2 or intellectual access by including novel demonstrations and “real life” usage of science to help people see why science is important for everyone.
This session is intended for participants interested in a hands-on workshop showcasing the new features of the Sci-Voice Talking Labquest Version 2, a talking scientific data logger accessible by touch screen or keyboard access. New features shown will include new foreign language access, bluetooth sensor compatibility, high contrast mode, updated science resources, audio graph sonification, and more! Because life is full of ever changing technology, Ms. Neybert encourages attendees to come and learn about something that students can have up and going within minutes. An emphasis will be placed on learning how to focus on the lesson rather than spending forever learning the new technology!
Co-presenting with three IDATA Student Collaborators:
Alex Traub, Computer Science Student at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Chris Matthews, Journalism Student at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Katya Gozman, Physics and Astrophysics Student at the University of Chicago
Significant contributions to accessibility in astronomy for blind and visually impaired (BVI) students have been made through two consecutive National Science Foundation grants: Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS) and Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA). For years the focus has been on improving access to the products of astronomy. Many advances have been made in our ability to accessibilize traditionally visual content. However, providing access to the tools of astronomy data gathering and analysis demands that we put people with BVI conditions at the heart of the design process. The user-centered design of data processing software for astronomy is one of the goals of IDATA. Reaching that goal has required significant attention to building a community with the content knowledge, empathy, and self-advocacy skills needed to fully participate. In this presentation, staff and participants in the IDATA project introduce you to the products of their work to date, from hands-on multi-sensory activities to teach astronomy concepts to sonification tools built into astronomy data analysis software. See how students and teachers are able to contribute to the design process. Experience the roles of user-centered design and “accessibilizing” and learn how each contributes to the goals of making BVI participation in astronomy commonplace
Representatives from Wright State University’s Office of Disability Services and the Wright Patterson Air Force Base will delve into two highly structured initiatives designed to combat outcome gaps for individuals with disabilities in the higher education setting and in post-graduation employment:
1) Ohio’s STEM Ability Alliance (OSSA): This Wright State University program is designed to address the underrepresentation of individuals with disabilities that pursue STEM fields in higher education, obtain degrees, and ultimately gain entry into relevant continued education programs and/or employment. OSAA involves a series of college-level interventions, including a first-year seminar on college transition, disability-identity, and STEM career planning and an ongoing series of group professional development “Scholars Meetings.” This session will share the outcomes of the first 6 OSSA cohorts (2009-2014), encompassing 206 students. Interventions designed to overcome obstacles for students pursuing scientific careers in the realm of higher education, research, and experiential learning will be shared along with their assessed efficacy.
2) Autism-At-Work: This Wright Patterson Air Force Base initiative is the first federal autism-specific hiring and sustained employment program in the United States. It involves a unique mix of candidate development, deconstruction of the traditional interview, and holistic, longitudinal support for selected participants over a year of monitored employment. The presenters will share the interests leveraged to create this Autism-At-Work initiative, pre-interview student development interventions, autism-inclusive interviewing adjustments, and training materials for the participants, supervisors, and mentors. Methods for ongoing support for participants in this program will be highlighted. Finally, assessments, observations, and predicted outcomes for the first 15 participant pilot cohort will be shared along with plans for program expansion. Suggestions and resources will be provided to those looking to launch or provide support to similar efforts in the future.
This session will provide resources and advice to help higher education faculty, staff, and professionals of all backgrounds learn how to best position students with disabilities for long-term STEM success.
Dr. Grandin did not talk until she was three and a half years old. She was fortunate to get early speech therapy. Her teachers also taught her how to wait and take turns when playing board games. She was mainstreamed into a normal kindergarten at age five. Oliver Sacks wrote in the forward of Thinking in Pictures that her first book Emergence: Labeled Autistic was “unprecedented because there had never before been an inside narrative of autism.” Dr. Sacks profiled Dr. Grandin in his best selling book Anthropologist on Mars.
Dr. Grandin became a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and a BBC Special – "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow". She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.
When she was young, she was considered weird and teased and bullied in high school. The only place she had friends was activities where there was a shared interest such as horses, electronics, or model rockets. Mr. Carlock, her science teacher, was an important mentor who encouraged her interest in science. When she had a new goal of becoming a scientist, she had a reason for studying. Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed.
Off the Earth, For the Earth is the motto of the International Space Station. This unique orbiting laboratory is an amazing engineering accomplishment. Collaboration among five major space agencies – NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, CSA, and JAXA – has been essential to the success of this challenging space exploration project. The first components were launched into orbit in 1998, and there has been continual human presence onboard the station since 2000. Thousands of science experiments have been conducted on the ISS, as well as numerous engineering and technology demonstrations. The ISS has proven to be an effective outpost for educational programming and research. Through live coverage of spacewalks, downlink conversations between ISS crew, educators, and students, and many other programs, the ISS has served as an inspiration for many on Earth. As arts and humanities are an essential part of human civilization, these aspects of humanity have played a significant role on the ISS.
This presentation will explain how the ISS has been a powerful platform for accessible formal and informal STEM education and how arts and humanities projects have raised awareness of the ISS, taught STEM concepts, engaged the public in hands-on activities, and created opportunities for education research. For example, children’s literature read onboard the station as part of the Story Time From Space program includes The Mission to Cataria, about a team of blind and sighted astrocats, while Rosie Revere, Engineer tells of a girl who learns to appreciate the value of pursuing her engineering dreams. Spacesuits painted by pediatric cancer patients have flown to the ISS; people on Earth and in space have sung songs in harmony. Thousands of quilt squares inspired by one astronaut’s call for an Astronomical Quilt Block challenge opened opportunities for textile artists to connect with space. Future arts and humanities projects inspired by the ISS will be discussed, including the speaker’s work-in-progress music composition, “International Space Station Suite.” Ideas for enhancing accessibility of this work will be considered and input sought from the presentation audience. As a NASA/JPL volunteer Solar System Ambassador and CASIS (ISS National Lab) Space Station Ambassador, the presenter will discuss the role that volunteers play in facilitating accessibility for STEM learning for all ages. Participants will also make a paper star quilt!
For students with visual impairments (VI), the possibility of a future in astronomy, or any science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, seems daunting. In order to bolster astronomy and STEM opportunities for high school students with VI (ages 14 – 20), the presenters developed a series of STEM Career Exploration Labs (CELs). The STEM CEL methodology employs tactile astronomy instruction via 3D printing technologies and unique 3D-printed models, professionals with VI acting as role models, and partnerships with local STEM industries that provide insights into possible career paths. In partnership with the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) and the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (MBSBP), three weeklong CELs (June 2017, June 2018, and July 2018), have been held thus far, serving over thirty students with VI, with more CELs planned for the summer of 2019.
Dr. Madura and Dr. Christian have gathered pre- and post-intervention data via student surveys, assessments of students’ astronomy knowledge and spatial thinking skills, and video recordings of the CEL activities in order to study to what extent the CEL model can enhance students with VI’s attitudes towards, interests in, and capacities to participate in astronomy education and STEM careers. Once fully tested and refined, the 3D print files and associated activities will be made freely available to the public for further use and study. This work serves as a test bed for an expanded international CEL program aimed at helping increase the representation of persons with VI in astronomy and STEM fields. In this session, the presenters will share their methods and discoveries during the development and implementation of the CELs. Various 3D printed astronomy models will also be available for the audience to explore and provide feedback on.