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Thread: Master's in Science and Disability?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    The counter height issues can often be dealt with by using a power wheelchair with an elevating seat. There are a variety of ways to adapt work environments.
    Ouff. I'd be looking at a lot more than tuition fees in that case, but that's an idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by willingtocope View Post
    And, if its any encouragement, a friend of mine runs the ER department in a hospital in Georgia...with MS...from his wheelchair.

    (Incidently, seeing the words ''spastic paraplegia' reminds me that one of the 6 or 8 neurologists i saw before I was finally dx'd with SPMS mentioned that. Have you had some MRIs?)
    Thanks for the word of encouragement! I know it's not impossible, this guy just kind of crushed my hopes from the get go. But that's *one* opinion right. I was diagnosed with CP-spastic paraplegia (worse on left than right) at 1 or so year old. As for MRI, I had one but I still haven't been able to get to my doc to follow-up but I was able to fax her, talk to her nurse and now I'm waiting. They tried to say it was aging CP, then it got worse, and when my bladder went to, they said uhhh could certainly be something else (umm, you think, been telling you that for a year, I'm only 26, you don't go from fine to aging to this in 2 years!). So far they don't seem to think MS, but hey. Saw the report, osteophytes at C2-C3, C3-C4, and something deviated at T5 (both pretty much coincide with injuries), otherwise good to go. So we'll see.

    Quote Originally Posted by crypticgimp View Post
    i do wet lab work. you really just have to advocate for yourself and show you can do the work. many ppl will work with you. i'll be applying to phd programs in the fall
    Cool! Yes, I imagine it's one heck of an uphill battle, or at least at first. It's nothing new to me, it's whether I'm up to fight this battle too eep.
    Last edited by twistties; 04-10-2013 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by catlady View Post
    I did my degree in math, but I know of at least one chemistry grad student in a chair at U of T (finished quite some time ago IIRC). Fume hoods and things can be modified; in some places at least one "accessible" hood is mandated per lab. You may be better off at a school with newer infrastructure (e.g. U of T, Alberta) as opposed to a place like McGill with very old buildings. Also the choice of advisor is very important in grad school for many reasons. Some profs think anything is possible, others are reluctant to try anything new. Good luck!
    In some places it's mandated? By the University? Good to know about UofT. Speaking of newer infrastructure, all the biosciences, environmental genomics (and couple others) buildings at UOttawa were build, brand-new in 2004, I had the prof who helped design them, why accessibility wasn't part of the equation, I have no idea. One day I'll ask him. But times change, only recently are workplaces around here shoving workplace accessibility sensitivity training (apparently mandatory now). Then again, this is the university that prides itself on being accessible when sometimes that means there's one way in, go 2 floors, go outside to circle around and back in and puts 45o ramps and a sign that says ''do not use'' *sigh* they try right. Anyway!

    As for other research institutes and labs in the city (more up my alley), most are at the General Campus of the Hospital, I don't know if they've renovated in the past couple years but it wouldn't hurt to take a spin around on my way to Rehab next time

  3. #13
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    the reason why is that ppl dont think we have the mental capacity to do science. it's quite sad, really.
    "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"
    http://www.elportavoz.com/

  4. #14
    That mentality is still around? I brushed off people who talked to me like I was 5 yrs old, blind and deaf because of my chair as the oddball ignorant.

    Maybe they assume no one will choose to work in sciences because of barriers and they just expect that we content ourselves with a generic deskjob? (but cool if it floats whoever's boat) I just think that's absurd, no way I'm wasting my time (and brains! - the one thing that never failed me) just because other people seem to think I can't do it.

  5. #15
    If you want it, go for it. Any professor/university worth their salt will make accommodations to help you achieve your goals. I earned a degree in psychology 11 years ago as an able bodied person, and am seriously considering returning to school to complete the necessary undergraduate work needed to pursue a master's degree in ecology/wildlife biology. I spoke with a couple of professors and the associate dean of the natural resources department at my alma mater (University of Maine), and they were very encouraging and supportive, ensuring me that they would find ways for me to complete the biological field work, or at the very least provide adequate alternatives for learning the material. The university is quite old, and as such, not all of the buildings are handicap accessible. I was told that alternative classrooms would be sought for classes I needed to take, if those courses were scheduled in inaccessible buildings. I am actually flying out to Kansas for the summer to participate in a biological field research internship that is being funded by the National Science Foundation, and will be climbing trees to collect samples, using a harness and pulley system. DO NOT let fear, doubt (internal or external) or your limitations, perceived or otherwise, take precedence over your desire and your ability to live the life you want and deserve. I've spent the majority of my life in a very deep depression, and am in a wheelchair due to a failed suicide attempt. I am now, finally, truly discovering myself and can honestly say that I am happy to be alive, which is a brand new feeling for me. Discovering who I am, and watching that discovery unfold into dreams and goals has left me feeling as though I've just been born, and I am so excited to begin this new life. If this is your passion, find a way, and don't give up until you do. Create the life you want for yourself.
    Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. - Carl Sagan

    How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. - Anne Frank

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarzan80 View Post
    If you want it, go for it. Any professor/university worth their salt will make accommodations to help you achieve your goals. I earned a degree in psychology 11 years ago as an able bodied person, and am seriously considering returning to school to complete the necessary undergraduate work needed to pursue a master's degree in ecology/wildlife biology. I spoke with a couple of professors and the associate dean of the natural resources department at my alma mater (University of Maine), and they were very encouraging and supportive, ensuring me that they would find ways for me to complete the biological field work, or at the very least provide adequate alternatives for learning the material. The university is quite old, and as such, not all of the buildings are handicap accessible. I was told that alternative classrooms would be sought for classes I needed to take, if those courses were scheduled in inaccessible buildings. I am actually flying out to Kansas for the summer to participate in a biological field research internship that is being funded by the National Science Foundation, and will be climbing trees to collect samples, using a harness and pulley system. DO NOT let fear, doubt (internal or external) or your limitations, perceived or otherwise, take precedence over your desire and your ability to live the life you want and deserve. I've spent the majority of my life in a very deep depression, and am in a wheelchair due to a failed suicide attempt. I am now, finally, truly discovering myself and can honestly say that I am happy to be alive, which is a brand new feeling for me. Discovering who I am, and watching that discovery unfold into dreams and goals has left me feeling as though I've just been born, and I am so excited to begin this new life. If this is your passion, find a way, and don't give up until you do. Create the life you want for yourself.
    exactly. unfortunately, poor attitudes exist towards disability even in the scientific community. but, it's about finding the RIGHT school, the RIGHT research and the RIGHT professor. ask questions but also offer solutions. i'm so excited to hear of other folks in chairs doing science. i never had anyone to ask questions of so i've been slugging it out. but it is worth it! i cant imagine doing anything else, am working with friends to start a biotech company and will do my phd. you CAN do it. let no one tell you otherwise.
    "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"
    http://www.elportavoz.com/

  7. #17
    I think at U of T it was mandated by the university. I could be wrong. It's been about 10 years since I visited. I know there was an accessibility project going on across campus.

    The student I was thinking of is now a prof at McGill! Here is an article about him: http://publications.mcgill.ca/headwa...atomic-cinema/

    Wow! McGill always struck me as about the least accessible campus you could find, full of hills and old, ratty buildings.

    It is possible, even in Canada. I think Canadians tend to mandate less, but be more accepting on an individual level than in the US (less fear of being sued, maybe).

    Find a good advisor and do it!

  8. #18
    Along with others responding I totally disagree with the prof you spoke to. It sounded like things said to me in the 1960's for heaven's sake!! Has he/she not heard of accessibility standards - that includes the classroom.

    Suggest you also contact some university "disability services" offices to discuss your needs in a science curriculum. For example, you should not need a power wheelchair that has a seat-riser, for your lab classes. That equipment would mean YOU are changing yourself, when the college needs to accommodate you by having accessible tables, etc. etc. There's a big difference. I agree that self-advocacy is so important.

    My thoughts are from 20 years working with disabled students. I don't know about Canada, but I'm sure there are initiatives in science to address accessibility in higher education and employment. If you want a science career, you are needed!

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarzan80 View Post
    If you want it, go for it. Any professor/university worth their salt will make accommodations to help you achieve your goals. I earned a degree in psychology 11 years ago as an able bodied person, and am seriously considering returning to school to complete the necessary undergraduate work needed to pursue a master's degree in ecology/wildlife biology. I spoke with a couple of professors and the associate dean of the natural resources department at my alma mater (University of Maine), and they were very encouraging and supportive, ensuring me that they would find ways for me to complete the biological field work, or at the very least provide adequate alternatives for learning the material. The university is quite old, and as such, not all of the buildings are handicap accessible. I was told that alternative classrooms would be sought for classes I needed to take, if those courses were scheduled in inaccessible buildings. I am actually flying out to Kansas for the summer to participate in a biological field research internship that is being funded by the National Science Foundation, and will be climbing trees to collect samples, using a harness and pulley system. DO NOT let fear, doubt (internal or external) or your limitations, perceived or otherwise, take precedence over your desire and your ability to live the life you want and deserve. I've spent the majority of my life in a very deep depression, and am in a wheelchair due to a failed suicide attempt. I am now, finally, truly discovering myself and can honestly say that I am happy to be alive, which is a brand new feeling for me. Discovering who I am, and watching that discovery unfold into dreams and goals has left me feeling as though I've just been born, and I am so excited to begin this new life. If this is your passion, find a way, and don't give up until you do. Create the life you want for yourself.
    Thanks, means alot! That's amazing that you found people to support you like that, way to go! Sounds like you have a plan - go for it - you'll have a grand time, nothing beats actually enjoying what you study! I liked field trips but bugs and science on smaller scale is more up my alley I switched to Biology after 3 years of a Crim-Psych degree and I'm glad I did. It's never too late to change your mind and change directions.

    I hear you on the starting over with a different outlook. I try to believe that everything happens for a reason. Yes, I've deal with not walking and mobility issues my entire childhood but I did ''luck out'' with a decade or so of walking between 13-23 years old. I guess in a sense that gave me experience and coping skills, so in a way it wasn't as devastating as if I'd been able-bodied all my life. Though I was also left by some doctors thinking that because of my history, I just had this on my own and didn't need support or help so that sucked.

    Anyway, I'm finally in a better place that looking to go back to school is actually an option as opposed to just trying to get by. It's exciting, I LOVE school. And you're right, I've done many things they told me I could never do, why stop now right

  10. #20
    twistties,

    I disagree with your former professor. What he is implying, i.e. that people might not hire you because you are disabled, would be not only be wrong and may be a violation of the ADA. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for disabled people to work in a place. Most scientific work, particularly in molecular biology, are done on computer these days and relatively little dexterity is required for most bench work.

    It is true that you may not be able to do some kinds of work. What is your level? If you are a high quad, i.e. C4 or C5 without use of your hands, this may rule out doing work that require dexterity or doing surgery. If you are paraplegic, you may not be able to stand up all day at a lab bench but it is not difficult to set up a sit-down lab bench. I think that most people who have some C8 function should be able to handle pipettes.

    Perhaps I can urge you to be more ambitious. Why aim for a Master's? Why not do a PhD? The higher your degree, the less manual labor you need to do. If you get into a fellowship program, you not only get your tuition paid but they pay you a fellowship. For example, if you can apply to the NSF for a graduate fellowship. A master's degree usually will qualify you only for a technician's position. If you are going to apply for a technician's position, you may encounter resistance from scientists who are looking for people who are doing mostly manual labor. Personally, I prefer technicians with more brains.

    Wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by twistties View Post
    I am thinking about going back to school to do a Master's in Molecular Biology or something related. Now, when I did my undergrad I was walking and now I'm on wheels.

    This week I went to see an old prof (one of the best, friendly and most understanding I've had) of mine to ask about career options and to get an honest opinion on if anyone would even hire me to do lab work or take me on do to a masters (because that's mostly what the work is about). He kind of confirmed my suspicions that it would be an uphill battle, if even doable because most would consider me a safety issue (I can see that). He's himself having mobility issues and teaches because of it, so part of me wants to believe he knows half what he's talking about.

    Now, is this feasible? I do know he was being realistic and that I have to be too. But part of me wonders if he's just too cautious, or maybe bitter having been in the system and through it. Then again, I'm the kind of person that when told I can't do it, I'll turn around and half kill myself to do it and better than expected. But I also have to look at the fact that this is a career and if I'm unemployable, well, I'm no further than I started.

    I've heard of people with disabilities go on to become all sorts of things people say you can't be but am I being a little bit too ambitious here?

    Thoughts?

    Thx!

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