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STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities coming to Museum Oct. 16

Raleigh

The great jobs of today and tomorrow are in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Yet people with disabilities remain underrepresented in these fields despite recent advances in the accessibility of information technology and other tools used by working professionals. To help turn that tide, the 6th annual STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities will be held Tuesday, October 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. 

This free event, designed for academic students with disabilities in grades 6-12 who are performing at or near grade level, gives attendees a chance to meet role models with disabilities who have thriving careers in STEM fields and provides a better understanding of the many professional possibilities available to them and the inspiration to pursue STEM careers.

What’s on the agenda? 

Caroline Solomon, Faculty Chair at Gallaudet University and winner of the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award, will deliver the keynote address. In addition to being an accomplished professor of biology, she also is an adjunct at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and serves on master’s and doctoral committees for research on increasing participation of people who are deaf or hard of hearing in STEM and estuarine science. In 2015 she was included on NPR’s list of 50 great teachers in the piece “Biology Professor’s Calling: Teach Deaf Students They Can Do Anything.”  

A panel of STEM role models with a diversity of disabilities including vision loss, dyscalculia, athetoid cerebral palsy, and depression will follow the keynote and include: moderator Jeff Wissel, co-lead of Fidelity’s Office of Customer Accessibility; Susanna Harris, a Ph.D. candidate in microbiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Tia Holmes, a computer science major at UNC-Chapel Hill; and Katherine Hunt, manager of Sunset Beach’s Ingram Planetarium.

An Opportunity Fair follows the program and provides students and their chaperones a chance to learn about, and talk to representatives on, several different agencies that work with students with disabilities that are interested in STEM fields. Plus, breakout sessions are offered to give students a chance to interact in small groups or one-on-one settings with the panelists, moderator and keynote speaker.

How to register

The Showcase is free but registration is required. For more information or to reserve your spot, visit naturalsciences.org/stemshowcase. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The 2018 STEM Showcase is sponsored by SAS, SAS JMP, Fidelity, IBM, LabCorp, Red Hat, and Lynne Bresler and Michael Vaught.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world. Hours: Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. General admission is free. Emlyn Koster, PhD, Director. For more information, visit naturalsciences.org.