How Scientists Navigate Their Own Health, Research, and Experiences of Bias
by Edited by Skylar Bayer and Gabi Serrato Marks
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Pub Date 08 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2023
People with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM fields, and all too often, they face isolation and ableism in academia. Uncharted is a collection of powerful first-person stories by current and former scientists with disabilities or chronic conditions who have faced changes in their careers, including both successes and challenges, because of their health. It gives voice to common experiences that are frequently overlooked or left unspoken. These deeply personal accounts describe not only health challenges but also the joys, sorrows, humor, and wonder of science and scientists.
With a breadth of perspectives on being disabled or chronically ill, these stories highlight the intersectionality of minoritized identities with the disability community. Uncharted features essays by contributors who are d/Deaf, blind, neurodivergent, wheelchair users, have experienced traumatic brain injuries, have blood sugar disorders, have rare medical diagnoses, or have received psychiatric diagnoses, among many others. In many cases, the scientific field is not fully accessible to them, and they frankly describe struggling as well as thriving alongside their conditions.
This book serves as representation for scientists who have never felt comfortable disclosing their disability or who have never felt fully understood. The stories shared in this book seek to normalize medical conditions and disabilities in scientific culture, offering recommendations for how and why to improve access. Uncharted is vital and compelling reading for current and aspiring scientists who want to make their fields more inclusive and supportive for everyone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Skylar Bayer is a marine ecologist and science communicator. Currently a marine habitat resource specialist in the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office, she received her PhD from the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences for research on the sex lives of scallops and is a producer for the Story Collider.
Gabi Serrato Marks is a geochemist turned writer. She received her PhD in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and is now a partner at the scientist-focused PR firm Stellate Communications. Her work has been published in Scientific American and Audubon and on the PBS Eons YouTube Channel.
"Uncharted is a crucial and timely collection exploring the lived experiences of scientists with a broad array of disabilities and chronic conditions. Bayer and Serrato Marks, alongside many brilliant contributors, share courageous and moving stories that will challenge and shift the way readers think about disability. The book offers companionship for scientists working under what can be isolating conditions as well as recommendations for improving access in STEM fields. Uncharted is a must-read call to action for scientists and their institutions to ensure a more inclusive and just future for all."
--Faith Kearns, author of Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement