Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Disability Awareness at Wyoming EPSCoR

How do you define inclusion?

At Wyoming EPSCoR, disability awareness is taking shape within the Wyoming Center for Experimental Hydrology and Geophysics through recruitment.  As Wyoming EPSCoR Project Director and WyCEHG PI Brent Ewers says, "We don't want to just pay lip service to this goal; we will actively recruit potential graduate students for the academic year 2016-2017 from known centers of disabled undergraduate research across EPSCoR jurisdictions and the United States. Our recruiting efforts will be focused on such centers based on the advice of our recent disability speaker Dr. Cheri Blauwet."

Dr. Blauwet visited UW this February as part of Wyoming EPSCoR’s disability awareness speaker series, designed to give UW scientists a dedicated forum for learning about disability inclusion.  Dr. Blauwet was able to share her insights as a student, professor, and physician—and as the first wheelchair user at Stanford Medical School.  

In her presentation, Dr. Blauwet highlighted the vital importance of active partnership and open dialogue between university administrators and students with disabilities.  Access and accommodation should begin with the popular disability-rights slogan, "Nothing about us without us!"  Wyoming EPSCoR is committed to realizing that inclusive ideal.  

Dr. Blauwet in conversation with Laramie residents

The Disability Awareness Program through Wyoming EPSCoR recognizes that students with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM fields, and seeks to balance the disparity with a proactive approach.  Wyoming EPSCoR’s partnership with the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) has resulted in the use of creative curriculum to teach participants about disability issues.  Learning objectives include background knowledge, sensitivity training, and awareness of people with disabilities and specialized needs.  

The Summer Research Apprenticeship Program (SRAP) includes specialized training with Dr. Michelle Jarman from the Disability Studies program.  Past topics have included conscious word use and ‘invisible’ disabilities. 

Through conferences, workshops, and open platforms for discussion, Wyoming EPSCoR aims to facilitate a multidimensional learning environment, giving students the chance to bring newly acquired knowledge into their communities upon graduation.  

To learn more about disability awareness at Wyoming EPSCoR and our partnership with WIND, contact Sarah Konrad at

By: Jessica White

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