Speaking at SciAccess

June flew by for me, mainly because I spent two weekends in a row traveling. I love to travel, but it’s also pretty tiring for me, so I don’t say yes to two trips in a row lightly. This trip, however, was easy to say yes to – I was asked to speak at the SciAccess conference at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

As you might be able to guess from the name, the conference was all about science + accessibility. It covered all different aspects of those intersections, and even included talks given by Anousheh Ansari, the first female privately-funded astronaut, and Temple Grandin, an animal science expert and autism advocate. It was amazing to see so many people coming together to talk about accessibility in the sciences.

I spoke about my own personal experiences with accessibility in the sciences, both as an undergraduate while studying engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and now with my work and studying in public health at Pitt. The talk went really well, and the very best part was the current students who came up to talk to me afterwards about their own experiences, and how they connected with hearing about mine. I’m hoping to continue working with some of them to continue to improve accessibility in the sciences, and that’s so exciting!

I’d actually never been to Columbus, even though it’s only about three hours away, so it was exciting to have the chance to explore a new city. I stayed about 10 minutes away from campus, in downtown Columbus in a great pet-friendly hotel. I didn’t have a ton of time to explore, but I did get a chance to walk around a bit and check out some restaurants in the area, and stumbled on a really cute outdoor farmer’s market right across the street from our hotel! Of course, I also had to make sure I made it to the zoo – Columbus’s zoo is run by Jack Hanna, so it’s basically a “celebrity” zoo. I even got to feed a giraffe, so basically… life made.

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