Conference Schedule:

Friday, June 28

8:00-8:45

Continental Breakfast, Registration, and Icebreaker Activity

Outside of the Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

8:45-9:15

Welcome Address

The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

9:25-10:10

Concurrent Sessions

Barbie Tootle Room

3rd floor

Student-Alumni Council Room

2nd floor

Senate Chamber

2nd floor

Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions

2nd floor

15-minute

Jennifer Schlegel

45-minutes

Heather Tomko

45-minutes

Ishtiaq Ahmed

45-minutes

Dr. Chris Atchison

15-minute

Joanne Vakil

15-minute

Dr. Megan Aanstoos

10:10-10:35

Coffee Break

Outside of the Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

10:35-11:20

Concurrent Sessions

45-minutes

Mike Simmons

45-minutes

Gabi Serrato Marks

Danielle Purtell

45-minutes

Dr. Jason Nordhaus

90-minute

Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai

11:30-12:15

Concurrent Sessions

45-minutes

Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes

Dr. Jane Finn

45-minutes

Lon Hodge

45-minutes

Charles McFadden

12:15-1:45

Lunch on your own

1:45-2:45

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

Anousheh Ansari

The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

3:00-3:45

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Dr. Peter Mecca

45-minute

Dr. Hervens Jeannis

45-minute

Noreen Grice

90-minute

Ashley Neybert

3:55-4:40

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Leah and Ken Subak

45-minute

Courtney Cooke

Jesika Lehner

45-minute

Dr. Thomas Madura

Dr. Carol Christian

4:45-6:00

Poster Session and Exhibits Showcase

Performance Hall, 1st floor

8:00-10:00

Star Party

Smith Lab (174 W 18th Ave), Planetarium on 5th floor






Saturday, June 29

7:45-8:30

Continental Breakfast and Icebreaker Activity

Outside of the Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

8:30-9:15

Concurrent Sessions

Barbie Tootle Room

3rd floor

Student-Alumni Council Room

2nd floor

Senate Chamber

2nd floor

Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions

2nd floor

15-minute

Dr. Allison McGrath

45-minute

Senay Daniel

Karen Krainz Edison

45-minute

Dr. Karen Koehler

Dr. Tiffany Wild

45-minute

Justin Tognarine

Ralph Crewe

15-minute

Gina Tesoriero

15-minute

Ying-Ting Chiu

9:25-10:10

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Courtney Leverenz

45-minute

Tema Krempley
Madison Piccinich
Taylor Sanfrey

45-minute

Caroline Karbowski

45-minute

Kate Meredith
Kathy Gustavson
Katya Gozman
Chris Matthews
Alex Traub

10:10-10:35

Coffee Break

Outside of the Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

10:35-11:20

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Heather Bridgman

45-minute

Margo Izzo
Karen Krainz Edision
Patty Conkey

45-minute

Nicole Johnson

90-minute

Dr. Rosanne Hoffmann

Ken Perry

11:30-12:15

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Dr. Chris Orban

Dr. Richelle Teeling-Smith

45-minute

Jason Gepperth
Molly Fore
Jen Barga

45-minute

Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen

12:15-1:45

Lunch on your own

1:45-2:45

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

Dr. Temple Grandin

The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

3:00-3:45

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Adrienne Provenzano

45-minute

Dr. Kevin Galat

45-minute

Lindsay Yazzolino

90-minute

Joey Ramp

3:55-4:40

Concurrent Sessions

45-minute

Rosalba and Joseph Giarratano

45-minute

Jordan Dellinger

45-minute

Dr. Kumiko Usuda-Sato

4:45-5:00

Closing Remarks

The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor

Click here to download a PDF of the full conference schedule and program

FRIDAY, JUNE 28


8:00-8:45: Registration

Join us at 8:00 AM for continental breakfast, conference registration check-in, and an icebreaker activity (with prizes offered!) to get to know your fellow conference attendees. Location: Outside of the Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


8:45-9:15: Welcome Address

Anna Voelker, SciAccess Conference Director

Dr. John Beacom, SciAccess Faculty Advisor, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Director of the OSU Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics

Location: The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


Concurrent Sessions

9:25-9:40: How to be Enabled in a Disabled World

Jennifer Schlegel, OSU Biomedical Engineering Student and Disability Rights Advocate » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

Jen Schlegel is the winner of the 2019 OSU Student Life Disability Servicing Outstanding Student Advocate Award and the 2018 Techhub Grant for HandikAPP, which is a touchscreen platform to give limited-to-no dexterity users access to advanced coding capabilities. Jen will share some of her experiences as a STEM/Engineering student with a disability in the hopes that other may gain insight from her personal journey and start conversations about what it means to be abled, disabled, and ultimately alive in the STEM and academic worlds. Solutions are needed for common road blocks in the educational experience for differently-abled students, especially in STEM fields. Students with disabilities make up merely 11% of collegiate undergraduates and only 2% of PhD candidates that attain a PhD in a STEM field have a physical disability. Why has this occurred and how can we work together to exponentially increase that number? This presentation is geared towards anyone who wants to learn more about access from the student perspective. Jen has worked on numerous cutting edge projects including: Go-Go Thimble (A writing/stylus device that fits on a finger to improve writing capabilities for people with limited dexterity), HereTo (a robotic smart whiteboard system that assists people with disabilities better access to group meetings and collaborations), Vanishing Cabinet (a furniture concept to give greater storage options to people with disabilities), Handicom (touchscreen platform that assists limited to no dexterity users access to a collaborative workspace), Convertible Rollator Project (advances a convertible rollator/wheelchair to include a power wheelchair option for users with unpredictable mobility needs), and BeEnabled (a conceptualization of the future of paratransit systems). Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences and ideas.


9:40-9:55: Exploring the Ways in Which Informal and Formal Science Learning Can Enhance Each Other

Joanne Vakil, OSU STEM Education 3rd year Ph.D. Student, Middle School Teacher » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

This presentation will share the findings of a new study that explores the ways in which informal education experiences impact teacher pedagogy. The study analyzes the ways in which accessible, informal science settings frame teacher identity and influence their attitudes and behaviors. This project studies pre-service elementary teachers and undergraduates completing a non-licensure program preparing them to work with children, youth, and/or families in community settings. Analyzing the affordances of rich, engaging science-learning opportunities in informal settings, this research seeks to capture how these experiences influence the teaching methods and mindsets of pre-service educators. The study attempts to encapsulate the informal setting’s influence on the attitudes and confidence of educators and examines the impact that these experiences have on undergraduate student decisions towards the education field. Findings offer critical perspectives in light of the current national shortage of STEM teachers and suggest a re-conceptualization of teacher education that explicitly connects formal with informal learning.


9:55-10:10: Say What? Learning to Hear in a Hearing World

Dr. Megan Aanstoos, Licensing Analyst at OSU Technology Commercialization Office » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

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.”


9:25-10:10: Personal Experiences with Science Accessibility

Heather Tomko, Public Health Researcher and Ms. Wheelchair USA » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

As a woman with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease, Heather has firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to live with a disability. As an undergraduate, Heather double majored in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and now works in public health research, which has given her experience in numerous facets of the intersection of science and accessibility. Her talk will focus on her own experiences, with an emphasis on navigating an undergraduate education in a STEM field and the relationship between public health and accessibility. Heather will also discuss the importance of advocacy, drawing on her time as Ms. Wheelchair USA 2018.


9:25-10:10: Multiple Perspectives on Rehumanizing Mathematics Education for Students with Visual Impairments 

Ishtiaq Ahmed, Disability Rights Advocate, Fulbright Scholar, and 4th year doctoral student at OSU » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

The intended audience members for this session are disability studies scholars, special educators, researchers, paraprofessionals, practitioners, caregivers, and teachers of students with visual impairments. This session is being lead by an advocate who has been both a student and a high school teacher with a visual impairment. Ishtiaq is passionate about expanding the body of qualitative research literature on the topic of mathematics learning experiences of high school students with visual impairments. Participants will learn about a new study that explores the factors that may impact the success of these students in mathematics education, including how students with visual impairments see themselves as mathematics learners and how their mathematics knowledge is generated. This study is intended to amplify the voices of those who have been silenced and overlooked in the past. The study contributes to the identification of the essential information that can inform pedagogy, theories, and practices to enhance the participation of students with visual impairments in mathematics learning practices. The study also seeks to contribute to the understanding of power dynamics in order to provide essential tools to educators for managing issues of equity in mathematics education.


9:25-10:10: Not Everyone Studies the Earth Like You! An Evolution of Geoscience Education Across Spectrum of Ability

Dr. Christopher Atchison, Executive Director of the International Association for Geoscience Diversity and Associate Professor of Geoscience Education at the University of Cincinnati » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

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.


10:10-10:35: Coffee Break

Outside of Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


10:35-11:20: Astronomers Without Borders: Accessibility and Diversity Worldwide through Astronomy

Mike Simmons, President and Founder of Astronomers Without Borders » For full speaker bio, click here.

Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) connects people around the world to support STEM education and create understanding through astronomy. AWB has supported astronomy for blind and visually impaired individuals, conducted STEM education programs for girls in Nigeria, and more in partnership with other international organizations. Future plans include providing a central platform for diverse efforts to share and collaborate. AWB President and Founder Mike Simmons will share these efforts and highlight ongoing initiatives in the global astronomy accessibility network.


10:35-11:20: Studying While Sick: Insights from Two Chronically Ill Graduate Students

Gabriela Serrato Marks, Patient Advocate and Oceanography Ph.D. Candidate » For full speaker bio, click here.
Danielle Purtell, Tulane University Medical Student » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

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.


10:35-11:20: Removing Barriers for Deaf Participation in STEM Fields

Dr. Jason Nordhaus, Assistant Professor of Physics at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Executive Committee Member of the American Astronomical Society’s Working Group on Accessibility and Disability » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

While a robust national STEM workforce benefits significantly from diverse constituents, deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) participation in STEM fields is currently limited due to the presence of significant barriers. This presentation will include an overview on the state of deaf higher education in STEM including statistics that clearly highlight the divide between deaf/HOH individuals and their hearing peers. A robust discussion of the current challenges deaf/HOH individuals encounter as they pursue STEM degrees (undergraduate and graduate) will follow. Educators will be provided practical advice for making their classrooms accessible for deaf and HOH students. The presentation will also showcase large-scale efforts addressing some of the more challenging barriers. These include an initiative to address the language barrier that exists in technical fields (PI Nordhaus; funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), an all deaf NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates science program at RIT, and specific recommendations gleaned from three years of education intervention studies in Dr. Nordhaus’ Principles of Modern Astronomy course.


10:35-12:00: Inclusive Teaching Practice in STEM Education: Essential Requirements, Universal Design and Differentiated Instruction in STEM

Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, Head of Research and Chief Accessibility Officer of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

Dr. Sukhai is Canada’s only congenitally blind biomedical research scientist, and the world’s first congenitally blind geneticist. His joint research with Ms. Ainsley Latour explores the growing number of sectors in the knowledge economy that require advanced training in the STEM disciplines and how science education presents unique challenges to students and faculty with disabilities. This presentation will address the multiple approaches are required to address this gap. First, students with disabilities need to be encouraged to enter STEM programs. Secondly, once in these programs, the significant barriers to full participation and success that exist within the research-training environment need to be addressed. Dr. Sukhai highlights two significant transition steps, doctoral to postdoctoral training and postdoctoral to faculty transition, which are crucial in increasing the representation of persons with disabilities in STEM specifically and the research enterprise generally. Accommodation specialists face challenges in (a) parsing the essential requirements of the scientific concepts and programs, (b) relating them to student needs, and (c) communicating these requirements to the student in an appropriate manner. Dr. Sukhai will discuss student and accommodation specialist challenges in the context of STEM education and research, present potential solutions, and provide a bridging perspective to ensure that students and service providers can better understand the efforts undertaken by the other in teaching and learning science in the context of accessibility. Finally, Dr. Sukhai will highlight the concepts of Universal Design, and their application to the learning environment in the sciences within the context of post-secondary education.


11:30-12:15: Inclusive STEM:A Unique Collaborative Project to Teach Higher Level Math to Students in Special Education and to Those Who Are “At Risk”

Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Education at Hope College » For full speaker bio, click here.
Dr. Jane Finn, Professor of Special Education at Hope College » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location:The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

High school students in special education and students who are “at risk” often struggle with word problems in upper level math classes. Causes for this struggle could include lower reading comprehension, limited mathematic vocabulary, and difficulty changing words to algebraic expressions. This presentation provides three strategies for educators that address these problems in order to provide access for these struggling students. Hands-on activities, scenarios, and practice will be included in this session.


11:30-12:15: Assuring a “Welcome Home” for Veterans: the Human-Canine Bond 

Lon Hodge, Retired Professor, Disabled Veteran, Disability Advocate » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

Mr. Hodge is a retired Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Science. Together he and his service dog Gander have won numerous awards, including the AKC Award for Canine Excellence. Mr. Hodge has been involved with successful efforts to change discriminatory laws in several cities, has made numerous appearances on national network TV, and helped shape service dog policies at multiple global companies, including Starbucks and Walmart. He will discuss the psychology and biology of the human-canine bond and its healing power, particularly for veterans with TBI and PTSD.Learn about legal protections as Mr. Hodge shares his advocacy knowledge and explains the various kinds of service animals and how to identify and interact with each type.


11:30-12:15: Technology as a Humanizing Force

Charles McFadden, Chief Technology Officer of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), Head of CSD Engineering Initiative » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Mr. McFadden will talk about his journey into the world of technology and how he arrived at the belief that it has the potential to resolve disabling elements created by society. In engineering technology, we are also engineering society. We must be mindful of the wide range of human experiences throughout the design process. This process starts with the beginning stages of an idea and ends with the completion of a product. This product may lead to variations in technologies and product designs that go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. This will be a talk with an opportunity at the end for questions and answers. The intended audience will be people who work in or are invested in the technology, design, and engineering fields.As the speaker explains:“I hope to not only share my vision for an accessible future through technology, but to reimagine ways of technological design that center on unique perspectives (in my case, the Deaf perspective or Deaf lens) while honoring others and pushing the accessibility agenda.”


1:45 – 2:45: Keynote Presentation by Anousheh Ansari

First Female Private Space Explorer
Co-founder and CEO of Prodea Systems

For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


Concurrent Sessions

3:00-3:45: Using Hydroponics & Project-based Learning to Engage Diverse Learners

Dr. Peter Mecca, High School Science Teacher and Biologist » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

The 2018-2019 Academic Year marks the third consecutive time George Mason High School will implement a hydroponics project. This presentation, intended for middle school and high school science teachers, special education teachers, and career and technical education teachers, will highlight the evolution of project-based learning (PBL) and its successful implementation with a diversity of learners. PBL was implemented to meet the educational needs of all students, with particular attention given to special education students and English language learners who often do not experience success in the classroom. Participants will learn how teachers in special education, English as a second language, science, and career and technical education can plan and work together to show how PBL is used to engage learners with differing abilities. The presentation will share how authentic and meaningful contexts can be implemented, and how a cross-disciplinary approach supports both PBL and STEM Education. The presenter will describe the impact of the hydroponics project on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Community support and success of hydroponics will also be shared. Participants will reflect on how they can implement PBL into their classrooms and will be encouraged to share their ideas with the audience.


3:00-3:45: Advocating for Accessible Science and Engineering College Laboratories to Increase the Engineering Career Talent Pipeline

Dr. Hervens Jeannis, Rehabilitation Engineer » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

Engineering jobs continue to remain unfilled. Uncovering the barriers and facilitators surrounding postsecondary educational programs can help increase the engineering talent pipeline. A nationwide self-report survey focused on students with physical disabilities was disseminated to approximately 1,200 organizations and universities across the United States. The survey helped to uncover a wide range of barriers and facilitators to accessing college science and engineering laboratory spaces. Dr. Jeannis will share this study’s findings and provide recommendations for the ways in which laboratory accessibility can be improved.


3:00-3:45: Opening Multiple Doors to the Universe

Noreen Grice, Astronomy Accessibility Consultant and President of You Can Do Astronomy, LLC » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Vision is not the only method for gaining access to information. Multiple learning strategies include seeing, listening, speaking, writing, touching, moving, smelling or tasting. This talk will present a sample of multi-sensory astronomy resources that are either readily available or can be easily made for use in teaching topics in informal and outreach settings. This presentation, based on 30 years of professional planetarium experience, will benefit educators and outreach professionals looking for new ideas on how to make astronomy more accessible to a variety of learners.


3:00-4:40: Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest Version 2: New Innovations in Talking Laboratory Equipment

Ashley Neybert, Curriculum Specialist at Independence Science » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

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!


3:55-4:40: Building Capacity for Disability Allyship in STEM Transition from HS to College

Leah Subak, ASL Interpreter and Interpreting Coordinator » For full speaker bio, click here.
Ken Subak, School to Work Transition Specialist » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

This session will help high school educators, post-secondary faculty/staff, and IEP stakeholders identify attitudinal obstacles potentially faced by people with disabilities as they seek services at the post-secondary level. Two hypothetical populations in academia who are pursuing STEM fields will be discussed: deaf/hard of hearing and autistic students. The high school IEP cocoon and the extensive college access web will be addressed. The presentation will focus on being or finding an ally in HS and college: what does this mean and why is it important? What characteristics lead to becoming a disability ally? The presenters will address these questions and the dynamic process of choosing to work on allyship using information published in Subak (2014). This session will utilize examples pertaining to individuals on the autism spectrum and deaf/hard of hearing students who have chosen STEM tracks/majors. The presentation will incorporate a brief lecture, group discussion, and an online poll regarding the importance of disability allyship. The session will offer ideas for developing allyship communities in your areas and fields of work.


3:55-4:40: Accessibility within Children’s Theatre

Courtney Cooke, Columbus Children’s Theatre (CCT) Director of Education » For full speaker bio, click here.
Jesika Lehner, Student Program Coordinator at CCT » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

Join Courtney Cooke and Jesika Lehner to learn more about CCT’s accessible programming including touch tours, audio description, ASL interpretation, and Sensory Friendly Performances. Experience the preparation that goes into a Sensory Friendly Performance by participating in some interactive training activities during a mock Sensory Friendly rehearsal, as would be facilitated with a CCT company of performers. Also experience a traveling touch tour as props and costumes from recent CCT shows are shared, described, and available to be held just like during a touch tour in the theatre space before a performance! Everyone is welcome; no prior theatre experience is necessary to enjoy and engage with this presentation from CCT’s education team.


3:55-4:40: Astronomy for Students with Visual Impairments: Development of the Career Exploration Lab

Dr. Thomas Madura, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at San Jose State University » For full speaker bio, click here.
Dr. Carol Christian, Outreach Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

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.


Special SciAccess Sessions

4:45-6:00 PM: Poster Session and Exhibits Showcase

Location: Performance Hall, 1st floor

Join us in the SciAccess Exhibit Hall for an interactive poster session and hands-on exhibits! We will be joined by the Paralympic Sports Club of Ohio, who will be sharing adaptive sports technology and providing an opportunity for attendees to play wheelchair sports! We will also be joined by service animals in training from 4 Paws for Ability. This is a great opportunity to meet other attendees and learn about exciting accessibility projects from the poster and exhibit presenters. Freshly Baked Cookies, Brownies, assorted Coca-Cola beverages, and bottled water will be provided.


8:00-10:00 PM: Star Party

Location: Smith Lab, 174 W 18th Avenue

The star party will commence with planetarium shows followed by an outdoor poetry reading (weather permitting), telescope stargazing, and hands-on tactile astronomy materials! The event will be set up in the plaza outside of Smith Lab. In the event of rain, indoor planetarium shows on the 5th floor of Smith Lab will still be offered.


SATURDAY, JUNE 29


7:45-8:30: Continental Breakfast and Icebreaker Activity

Join us for continental breakfast and an icebreaker activity (with prizes offered!) to get to know your fellow conference attendees.

Location: Outside of the Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


Concurrent Sessions

8:30-8:45: Science Instruction in Middle School Inclusive Classrooms and Students with Learning Disabilities: A Cross-Case Analysis

Dr. Allison McGrath, Assistant Professor of Special Education at Otterbein University » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

Students with learning disabilities often struggle with the demands of science curriculum, especially at the middle school level. As inquiry-based instruction becomes more prominent in science classrooms, which include students with learning disabilities (LD), research is needed to incorporate effective strategies during inquiry-based instruction. Furthermore, it is important to understand how students with LD gain and process knowledge in science inclusive classrooms. This multiple case study research examines how six 6th grade students with LD acquire science content and process knowledge. Participants included six middle school students, each with a specific learning disability, from Midwestern cities. Data sources included student portfolios, student and educator interviews, and classroom observations. Results revealed the difficulty students with LD face in understanding science process knowledge, challenges with engagement in science curriculum, and teacher/student strategies that impact learning. Implications for instruction in science inclusive classrooms are discussed. Educators will discuss practices for successful academic outcomes for students with LD and how to prepare to teach inquiry-based curriculum to students with LD in inclusive settings. Participants attending this session will: a) Discuss the findings of the study and implication for students with LD, b) Gain knowledge of current instructional practices in middle school science classes and c) Identify practices that support students with LD in middle school science inclusion classrooms.


8:45-9:00: Design for Flexible and Equitable Science and Engineering Learning Environments

Gina Tesoriero, Learning Sciences Graduate Student and Former Middle School Special Education Science » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

This presenter will discuss an analysis of current research on science and special education teacher training. This will include a critique of the conceptualization of science intelligence that is presented in the NGSS and emerging themes from collaboration with special education teachers. Those attending will be encouraged to engage in conversations about (1) what flexible and equitable science and engineering learning environments look like and (2) how to support teachers to design flexible and equitable science and engineering learning environments. During the talk, there will be a back channel (i.e. Padlet bulletin board and Twitter) that will capture what flexible and equitable engineering learning environments look like to the audience and will provide the foundation for the discussion on how these environments can be designed. Participants will leave the session with an expanded conceptualization of what flexible and equitable learning environments look like and what needs to be done to create them.


9:00-9:15: Disability as An Identity: What Can We Do in the Field of Science Education?

Ying-Ting Chiu, PhD Candidate in the OSU Department of Teaching and Learning » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

Gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status have long been discussed in the field of science education to increase access to science for all students. However, disability is an essential component often left out of this intersectional discussion. In fact, students with disabilities are often deemed incapable of doing science because of social, educational, and institutional barriers. This stigma has impeded students with disabilities in their science learning. This session will address issues in science education for students with disabilities and discuss possible solutions to those issues so as to increase the awareness that Science for All includes students with disabilities.


8:30-9:15: All the Colors of the Spectrum: Diversity Within Neurodiversity

Senay Daniel, Technical Advisory Consultant at Ernst & Young and Autism Self-Advocate » For full speaker bio, click here.
Karen Krainz Edison, Program Manager of Autism College Experience (“Ace!”) at OSU » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

When a layperson thinks of someone with autism, they may imagine a television or film character with autism such as the leading men of The Good Doctor, Atypical, or Rain Man. These characters, and many more in American media who are known to or thought to have autism, nearly always have one thing in common: they are white. In the current zeitgeist, autism and whiteness are inextricably coupled, leaving little room for the representation of others outside of this mold. Even among the real-world population of American individuals diagnosed with autism, people of color are significantly underrepresented. Despite there being no causal link between ethnicity and incidence of autism, certain racial and ethnic groups in the United States are significantly less likely to be diagnosed with autism, and are often diagnosed later in life when they receive a diagnosis. Individuals with autism that belong to certain racial and ethnic groups receive less financial support, educational support, and medical treatment than their white counterparts do. The reasons for the disparity are widespread, but commonly cited factors include socioeconomic disparities, implicit and overt racial biases held by medical professionals, and issues stemming from cultural differences. While these factors are an unfortunate part of American life, there are actions that can alleviate their impact, and this presentation calls attention to both the issues at hand and a potential solution. This presentation advocates for the creation of a group that is intended to support young adults of color who are on the autism spectrum. Support is scarce for young adults on the spectrum in general, and even more so for young adults of color.


8:30-9:15: Making Science Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments: Improving Access for All Students

Dr. Tiffany Wild, Associate Professor in the OSU Department of Teaching and Learning » For full speaker bio, click here.
Dr. Karen Koehler, Assistant Professor at Shawnee State University and Program Director of the Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) Consortium » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Science courses for students with visual impairments can be very challenging due to the over-reliance on visual methods used in teaching practices. This session will therefore focus on how to make the science classroom and informal science settings more accessible for not only students with visual impairments but also all students. Learn from these teachers of students with visual impairments who have had decades of experience in the middle school and high school classrooms and have also served in leadership roles in numerous organizations including: The Council for Exceptional Children, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Visual Impairment and Deafblindess.The presenters will share their findings and why what works for students with visual impairments can work for all students. This session will provide attendees information regarding the lessons learned in teaching science to students with visual impairments as well as pedagogical methods that they have found beneficial for this population. They will discuss how specific modifications will affect the scientific learning and conceptual knowledge of all students in the classroom and in informal science settings. Numerous models and curriculum resources will be shared with the audience for hands-on experiences with accessible materials.


8:30-9:15: Accessible and Interactive Experiences at Science Museums

Ralph Crewe, Carnegie Science Center (CSC) Program Development Coordinator » For full speaker bio, click here.
Justin Tognarine, CSC Operations Manager » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

A team representing the Carnegie Science Center will lead a joint session outlining the steps that Pittsburgh’s newly expanded interactive science museum has taken to become a leader in accessibility. The speakers will discuss organizational logistics and successful public programs, including public stargazing nights, science center sensory friendly days, and other accessibility initiatives. After a brief introduction and overview, attendees will break out into smaller groups to address various accessibility topics and discuss ideas for improving inclusion in outreach as well as their own fields. Participant interaction, questions, and sharing will be encouraged!


9:25-10:10: Accessible Outreach through S.O.L.A.R. POWER: Space-Oriented Learning and EmPOWERment

Courtney Leverenz, Aerospace Engineering Student and Outreach Advocate » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

Courtney is the brains behind S.O.L.A.R. POWER (Space-Oriented Learning and EmPOWERment), an educational outreach event specifically designed for individuals with disabilities. S.O.L.A.R POWER is scheduled for the fall of 2019 and will offer guidance and encouragement for all individuals to become involved with STEM. Hosted by the Illinois Space Society, this one-day event will feature hands-on exhibits and activities, such as painting the planets, liquid nitrogen demonstrations, an interactive mapping of the solar system, and an orbital simulator showing the effects of gravity on celestial bodies. This presentation will provide details on the variety of activities and behind the scenes organizational tasks and challenges. The session will feature group brainstorming and interactive audience discussions to foster feedback and new ideas for furthering accessible STEM outreach.


9:25-10:10: Intersectionality of Autistic Cultural Competency and Self-Advocacy

Tema Krempley, OSU Social Work Graduate Student, Autistic Self-Advocate » For full speaker bio, click here.
Madison Piccinich, OSU Social Work Graduate Student, Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) Fellow » For full speaker bio, click here.
Taylor Sanfrey: OSU Social Work Graduate Student

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

There is a need for increased public understanding of autism and of persons who identify as autistic. Additionally, there is a need to increase the knowledge of what autism is and is not, so as to allow the development of cultural competency. Cultural competency in turn improves one’s ability to respond in a respectful and effective way with “people from cultures or belief systems different from one’s own” (DeAngelis, 2015). The speakers will address how cultural competency then intersects with an autistic person’s ability to be a successful self-advocate. Self-advocacy requires the development of a number of skills, including the following: self-awareness (to allow the person to understand who they are and how their unique talents and features align with whom they interact with), leadership (to provide a means to effectively determine what is important and to share those ideas which can cover a range of personal, legal, human rights, or economic issues), communication (whether written, verbal, or non-verbal in an effective and assertive manner), and knowledge of laws and inherent human rights afforded to all persons with or without autism or other disabilities. These important factors and more will be discussed by three OSU graduate students from the College of Social Work.


9:25-10:10: 3D Printing for People Who Are Blind

Caroline Karbowski, OSU Biology Major and Founder of See3D » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Discover how objects such as snowflakes, castles, and butterflies have become more than just words, when explored as a 3D print. See how a passion for braille led to the creation of the program See3D, which organizes the printing and distribution of 3D printed models for people who are blind. Touch duplicated 3D prints of requested science models, including DNA, muscles of the eye, cells, molecules, constellations, and animals, and learn about the new perspectives gained from those who requested the models. Find out how you can start a 3D printing program at your school or organization with available grants and information from schools with established programs. A culmination of research and interactions with people who are blind, blindness organizations, educators, and scientists on how 3D printing has impacted those who are blind and sighted will be presented. Learn about what is happening around the world to bring a new understanding through touch.


9:25-10:10: Making Blind and Visually Impaired Student Participation in Astronomy Commonplace: “Accessibilizing” Content and Employing the Tools of User-Centered Design

Kate Meredith, Director of Education at Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM, Former Director of Yerkes Education Outreach at Yerkes Observatory » For full speaker bio, click here.
Kathy Gustavson, Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA); Curriculum Developer and Former High School Physics and Astronomy Teacher

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

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

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.


10:10-10:35: Coffee Break

Outside of Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


Concurrent Sessions

10:35-11:20: Inclusive Coding

Heather Bridgman, Assistive Technology Consultant with the AT&AEM Center at Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

The purpose of this session is to introduce educators to the basic concepts of coding and share ways that coding can be made accessible to individuals with disabilities. All students, regardless of learning abilities, should be given the opportunity to experience and learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curricula. Through the constructs of Universal Design for Learning and by providing access to the core coding concepts, this session will show that all students can code. Coding is a basic construct of STEM that embodies problem solving and an understanding of engineering. Driven by hands-on learning experiences, young learners and those with disabilities can begin to experience the core concepts of coding including events, sequences and loops. Concrete coding through physical manipulatives and tangible coding through manipulation of code via a touchscreen mobile device offers a variety of modalities for access. Scratch, which is a block-based visual programming language, provides a means for students to drag and drop lines of code to interact with animations or robots. The latest version of Scratch (3.0) is written in HTML, which means it is accessible through a touchscreen device.This session will discuss multiple means of access to coding to show that all students can be provided opportunities to experience STEM curricula through coding. Resources for novice coders to begin implementation will be shared. Additionally, specific tools such as Code Jumper are available to provide access to coding for individuals with visual impairments.


10:35-11:20: Internships = Employment: Strategies to Increase Employment Success for STEAM Students with Disabilities

Margo Izzo, Program Director, OSU Transition Services, Nisonger Center » For full speaker bio, click here.
Karen Krainz Edison, Program Manager, OSU Transition Services, Nisonger Center » For full speaker bio, click here.
Patty Conkey, OSU Career Specialist » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

Many students with disabilities have exceptional talent in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) yet experience challenges that may prevent them from completing college and entering the STEAM workforce. This session will describe two programs on OSU’s campus that help students with disabilities gain the skills and attitudes needed to become valued members of both the college and workforce settings. Though life coaching and internships, see how these OSU programs increase employment outcomes for college students interested in the STEAM fields.


10:35-11:20: Tactile Media Production and Consumption within the Blind and Visually Impaired Community

Nicole Johnson, University of Colorado PhD student and tactile illustrator » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Access to information and content is a prominent barrier for the blind and visual impairment (BVI) community. Braille and text-to-speech technology bridge the accessibility gap for text but an equally important component is access to visual imagery, which remains a largely unsolved problem. Many tactile media techniques are inefficient both monetarily and temporally, resulting in an access gap within the BVI community to everyday content such as photos, charts, and educational material. The consumption and production of tactile media is a complex problem with no single solution, rather a continuum between semiotics, technology, and availability. Participants will gain an introduction to the visual branch of accessibility and the challenges facing the BVI community in regards to visual information access. This presentation focuses on the field of tactile media through an overview of existing methods, principles, and resources as well as current research topics and technological development within the field. Exciting progress has been made with computer haptics with the potential to greatly improve access to digital content. These possibilities are very promising but important strides still need to be made. Examples of various tactile media will be passed around for a firsthand experience. This session aims to spark a conversation on creative solutions and adaptations for the future of tactile media.


10:35-12:15: From Molecules to Microscopes: The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Promotes Science Accessibility for All

Dr. Rosanne Hoffmann, APH STEM Project Leader » For full speaker bio, click here.
Ken Perry, APH Software Engineer and Project Lead » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

Barriers to equal science education remain a problem for students with visual impairments (VI). Common representations of scientific information include photographs, diagrams, and other visual images that are often inaccessible to students in this population. The American Printing House for the Blind is dedicated to creating products that remove educational barriers and level the playing field for students with visual impairments. Hear from speakers who have spearheaded numerous cutting edge projects and have an in-depth knowledge of universally designed products such as:

  • The DNA-RNA Kit and the Protein Synthesis Kit, which make molecular biology accessible to all students
  • Build-A-Cell, a new kit that assists VI students in learning the differences between plant, animal, and bacterial cells
  • Submersible Audible Light Sensor, or SALS, a product under development that helps students with blindness detect a change in a test tube or reaction beaker such as the formation of a precipitate or pH indicator color change
  • TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator, an extraordinary device that makes it possible for high school and college students with visual impairments to use the same calculator that other students use in the classroom and on standardized tests;
  • Orbit Reader 20, a low-cost braille display that will help bring braille to developing countries

Perhaps the most dramatic adaptive device currently under development at APH is the Graphiti. This device transforms 2-dimensional images from a USB-connected source into haptically accessible tactile images. This includes views under a microscope, through a telescope, or images from the internet. Different colors and shading are represented in Graphiti images via variable pin heights, and reverse imaging is also possible. Join us for a demonstration that makes the unseen visible!


11:30-12:15: Creating Accessible Resources on YouTube for Diverse Audiences

Dr. Christopher Orban, Assistant Professor of Physics at OSU and Project Lead for STEMcoding YouTube Channel » For full speaker bio, click here.
Dr. Richelle Teeling-Smith, Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Mount Union, Director of the STEMcoding High School Camp » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

YouTube is one of the most popular venues for consuming educational content but there is still not enough diversity on the list of popular physics and astronomy channels, while female-led YouTube channels are often the source of harassing comments. Dr. Orban and Dr. Teeling-Smith will share their experience in developing the STEMcoding YouTube channel and discuss the ways in which they have navigated this online landscape. Their YouTube channel features coding tutorials presented by women and underrepresented groups who are recruited (and compensated!) for these educational videos. Their code editor includes a number of accessibility features for visually impaired audiences. The presenters will share their lessons learned and will encourage ideas for the future from participants through a group brainstorming session. The presenters also encourage individuals who create video resources of their own to come and share their wisdom.


11:30-12:15: Completing the Pipeline: Addressing Underrepresentation and Outcomes Gaps for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education and Post-Graduation Employment

Jason Gepperth, Disability and STEM Support Specialist at Wright State University » For full speaker bio, click here.
Jennifer Barga, Disability and STEM Support Specialist at Wright State University » For full speaker bio, click here.
Molly Fore, HR Specialist and Strategic Advisor at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

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.


11:30-12:15: We Have the Right to Wonder: All the Way to the Stars

Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen, Professor of English at Bowling Green State University » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

“Sit down. Be Quiet. Stay safe. Let me take your hand.” The message given early and often to disabled children and to newly disabled adults is that the disabled life is a passive life. We are encouraged to relinquish our agency to others, to accept what is provided for us, and give up the idea of doing anything bold or audacious. This presentation examines these explicit and implicit messages given by educators, parents, friends and the community at large and asks: “How far can we go?” and “Where do we belong?” and “How can we help?” It is the presenter’s thesis that any STEM field will benefit greatly from the active involvement of disabled scientists, up to and including the participation of disabled people in exploration and colonization of outer space in near Earth orbit and beyond.


1:45-2:45: Keynote Presentation by Dr. Temple Grandin

Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University
World-Renowned Autism Advocate

For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


Concurrent Sessions

3:00-3:45: Arts, Humanities, and the International Space Station (ISS): STEM, Arts Integration, and Accessibility

Adrienne Provenzano, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, STEM/Arts Integration Educator » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

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!


3:00-3:45: Impact of Parents and Other Mentors on the Development of a Child with Autism

Dr. Kevin Galat, Scientific Information Analyst, Chemical Abstracts Service » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

In this presentation, Dr. Galat will discuss his early childhood Autism diagnosis, key people throughout his life, and how they helped him to develop into the professional he is today. “As an Autistic person with a Ph.D. in Chemistry I share my success, in part, with my parents, siblings, mentors, and my Ph.D. advisor. These people not only laid the foundations for my academic success, but their insights equipped me with the soft skills needed to deal effectively with colleagues in my profession.” The speaker will discuss how this was accomplished through relationships of mutual trust, which provided detailed and concrete feedback on social and interpersonal issues. In this presentation, Autistic individuals and their allies will gain insight into the importance of personal involvement and the specific qualities within relationships that are critical in fostering the development of well-rounded professionals on the Autism spectrum. Audience members will be engaged in brief discussion about significant interpersonal insights and will be welcome to share experiences that have contributed to their own professional successes.


3:00-3:45: Interactive Tactile Models Enhance the Science Museum Experience

Lindsay Yazzolino, Tactile Design Specialist at Touch Graphics, Inc. » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Science museums constitute invaluable resources for informal learning. However, many visitors to these spaces quickly discover to their dismay that exhibits are usually kept behind glass, or are otherwise outfitted with “DO NOT TOUCH!” signs. And because many exhibits are either too big, small, fragile, or otherwise unsuitable for tactile exploration, they remain inaccessible to many visitors, including those with visual impairments. The speaker will discuss collaborative efforts with which she has been involved to create interactive, touch-responsive models and maps which make use of modern technologies such as 3D-printing and touch-responsive 3D-printing, UV-printing, touch screens, and embedded touch sensors. When individuals explore these interactive objects through touch, they receive audio and visual descriptions, relevant scientific facts, and even sound effects when appropriate. This presentation will include numerous tactile examples for attendees to explore, as well as audio and visual demonstrations of other products that the speaker has created which are too big/not feasible to bring to the conference. This exciting session will demonstrate how universal design can be leveraged to create experiences that are not only accessible, but also fun, informative and engaging for all individuals!


3:00-4:30: Service Dogs in Science, Testing the Boundaries

Joey Ramp, Neuroscientist at Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois, and Disability Rights Advocate » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Ohio Staters, Inc. Traditions Room, 2nd floor

Throughout history service dogs have provided an invaluable service to people with disabilities; this is a partnership that cannot be overlooked or minimized. People with disabilities are underrepresented in science fields that have laboratory components. Wide ranges of simple accommodations have emerged in recent years to assist students with disabilities in the chemistry, physics, or biology laboratory. These same strategies can be explored and implemented to include service dog handlers through individualized risk assessment, development of accommodations, and safety protocol for service dogs in laboratories. The speaker’s background in Biocognitive Neuroscience can help us to better understand the use of service dogs for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, experimental research will be reviewed establishing empirical data to determine the impact a service dog has on laboratory results. These recommendations could help in the development of informed service dog policy revisions. This talk will address common issues for service dog handlers in science and the need for informed policies that will enable these students to participate in core laboratory coursework.Looking at the potential future of this population of students in research laboratories and science careers, Joey Ramp emphasizes: Opportunities, not obstacles. Solutions, not situations. Breakthroughs, not barriers.


3:55-4:40: Anyone Can Become An Accessibility Advocate:

An Introduction to Inclusion through NASA Student Outreach

Rosalba Giarratano, Informal Science Educator » For full speaker bio, click here.
Joseph Giarratano, Rising 6th Grader and Student Researcher for NASA Langley » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Barbie Tootle Room, 3rd floor

Rosalba and Joseph Giarratano will share their mother and son story of discovering a shared passion for accessibility. They want everyone to know that no matter your background, resources, education (or age!), you can play an important part in making this world more inclusive. Accessibility starts with the simple decision to begin thinking about the needs of others.

Rosalba will share her NASA experience engaging students in GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) science research projects, highlighting her work with the Lexington School for the Deaf and the New York Institute for Special Education. Participants will have the hands-on opportunity to make their own tactile GLOBE Cloud Identification charts, a fun tool to help sighted and non-sighted students alike learn about different types of clouds. This accessible and cost-effective resource can help students participate in authentic science research projects in collaboration with other students, NASA scientists, and GLOBE STEM professionals.

When Joseph watched a training video about aerosols particulate matter, he realized blind students would miss much of the information conveyed through visuals. He then decided to learn how to describe online videos. Joseph will demonstrate how to introduce oneself to an audience in an inclusive way, to help make everyone feel welcome.He would also like to invite teachers to empower their students to describe other science educational videos that are still not fully accessible to all students. Participants will also learn how to use YouDescribe to make online science videos more accessible for blind and visually impaired students.


3:55-4:40: Expanding Neurodiversity Hiring Practices: Current and Future Directions

Jordan Dellinger, Licensed Social Worker Specializing in Disability Studies » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Student-Alumni Council Room, 2nd floor

This session will provide specific, practical recommendations for companies hoping to establish or expand neurodiversity hiring initiatives specifically targeting Autistic people or people of the Autistic neurotype. The focus of this presentation is accessible recruitment and hiring practices, creative accommodations, and methods for fostering a neuroinclusive corporate culture. The presentation opens with a brief primer on the concept of neurodiversity and associated terminology. Following this is an overview of existing neurodiversity hiring initiatives in the United States and elsewhere, which will discuss their strengths and challenges. Suggestions for moving above and beyond simple compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are provided. Concerns surrounding the balance between workplace neuroinclusivity and consistent, equitable employee standards are also addressed. The presentation concludes with insights into future directions for neurodiversity in the workplace and possible benefits to people of other neurotypes.


3:55-4:40: Building Networks and Best Practices for Inclusive Astronomy: From Japan to International Astronomical Union (IAU) Communities Around the World

Dr. Kumiko Usado-Sato, Outreach scientist at National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) » For full speaker bio, click here.

Location: The Senate Chamber, 2nd floor

Everyone has the right to enjoy and experience the universe. However, even with this “motto” currently being echoed by many science outreach groups across the globe, there are still many people that don’t have the opportunity to engage with astronomy because communicators often struggle to find a community or lack resources. During this presentation, Dr. Usado-Sato will share recent progress that has been made addressing these struggles both generally around the world and specifically within Japan by building a domestic community of inclusive astronomy. The presenter will review the history of positive collaborative growth, starting with the Universal Design (UD) Working Group in Astronomy in 2006, then a series of three UD symposia (in 2010, 2013, and 2016) at NAOJ Mitaka headquarters, followed by building further international bridges between scientific communities in 2016.

Later this year, from November 12 to 15, 2019, the NAOJ will host the first IAU symposium on Astronomy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This symposium is a natural extension of the actions begun with past UD symposia and intends to be a roadmap to action, highlighting the role diversity and inclusion play in producing better science, improving competitiveness, and innovation. This symposium is aimed at all astronomy professionals who wish to bring inclusion to their research and diversity to their teams. One of the symposium’s satellite events is the project Inspiring Stars: an itinerant international exhibition promoted by the IAU to highlight world initiatives that address the concept of inclusion and outreach. Resources related to astronomy research and education will be collected via an open call around the world and combined in a unique, interactive display. Learn more about an international community that is providing a network of encouragement and support to better communicate and teach astronomy.


4:45-5:00: Closing Remarks

Anna Voelker, SciAccess Conference Director
Location: The Archie Griffin West Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor


SciAccess: The Science Accessibility Conference

The Ohio Union: 1739 N High St, Columbus, OH43210

Venue Floor Maps can be found here.