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Disabled Scientists and Inaccessibility in the Lab

Sarina's picture

Hi, everyone! I came across a podcast from Short Wave discussing inaccessibility in the lab and other spaces in STEM fields. Krystal Vasquez, a disabled scientist, speaks about how her relationship with science changed when she became disabled and how we can make science more accessible to everyone. I especially recommend this listen to fellow STEM students! Vasquez talks about we can use universal design in the lab, which I think would be very valuable to both disabled and non-disabled folks conducting research. Throughout this past semester, I noticed that I always felt really tired and somewhat achy after my chemistry lab. We often had to stand for hours at a time by the fume hood. It was also difficult to use a stool by the fume hood because of the cabinets underneath and the need to constantly move around the lab while conducting an experiment. Although I am not disabled, I could imagine how this could be a significant barrier for anyone who has mobility issues, chronic illnesses, and other disabilities. I think we should be doing more to make labs more accessible to disabled folks, who are often excluded from STEM spaces due to issues of inaccessibility. 


Link to podcast: