Disability representation in STEM is so so important. This summer I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the Norris lab, and I think that this is something they embody extremely well. The lab is 100% accessible to me in my wheelchair or when using my rollator. Actually, I’ve been told that it’s the only lab at the Medical University of South Carolina that is accessible.
Everyone is so kind and accommodating, never making me feel like a burden for needing to have my rollator, braces, feeding tube, etc. Lately, there have been some people doubting my ability to succeed in pursuing a medical career due to my chronic illness. Sometimes it’s not what they say, but it’s what they don’t say. The lack of affirmation and the confused look on their face communicates volumes about what they are thinking. But, the members of the Norris lab empower me which has helped me build my confidence.
Having a genetic condition and going on to study, research, and learn about it is captivating. As Cortney says, the perspective of patient scientists in the lab is invaluable because they have rare insight that allows them to pose meaningful questions.
Can you imagine if more patients pursued a career in healthcare and science? Surely this would revolutionize the field in a positive way.