I believe it's important to have a sense of community and belonging in whatever it is you do, so I've created this page to share with you the stories of other blind scientists that I know. I hope that by communicating their stories and success (along with my own), we can build a community of blind scientists. I hope that these stories will also inspire and encourage other blind and visually impaired individuals to pursue careers in STEM, and further expand the blind scientist community. Check out their stories below!
Dr. Amy Bower completed her Bachelor of Science in Physics at Tufts University and her Ph.D in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Since then, she has been a prolific researcher, educator, and advocate for blind individuals in the sciences. She has received several notable awards, including the Unsung Heroine of Massachusetts Aware by The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, the University of Rhode Island Distinguished Achievement Award from the Graduate School of Oceanography, and the Henry Bryant Bigelow Chair for Excellence in Oceanography.
She has been featured at numerous conferences and interviews, such as ACB Radio's "Speaking Out for the Blind", TEDxWoodsHole, and the Texas FOCUS Conference. Throughout her career, she has often participated in outreach to blind and visually impaired students, particularly those at the Perkins School for the Blind.
She is currently a Senior Scientist and Chair of the Department of Physical Oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her research interests focus on understanding the structure and dynamics of the deep ocean circulation and how it plays a role in Earth's climate system using subsurface float technology.
Personal Website: https://www.whoi.edu/scientist/abower/
OceanInsight outreach program: https://web.whoi.edu/oceaninsight/about-amy-bower/
Dr. Stephanie DeLuca earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and her Ph.D in Chemical and Physical Biology from Vanderbilt University. She has received the following awards and honors: National Federation of the Blind’s Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science, National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, a Fulbright Scholarship for pre-doctoral work at the Justus-Liebig University, and a National Federation of the Blind/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Contractors Association Scholarship.
Dr. DeLuca previously worked at American Chemical Society Office of Public Affairs as a Science Policy Fellow, where her primary responsibilities were to monitor, analyze, and develop public policy regarding federal research funding, education and workforce, energy and environment, and biotechnology. She has also worked with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Outreach Committee. Currently, Dr. DeLuca is a Senior Legislative Aide in the Office of Senator Bob Casey.
Some of her research includes work on membrane proteins, the peptide hormone ghrelin, and comparative small-molecule ligand docking. Notably, she has developed novel protein modeling methods for the Rosetta software suite that is used by scientists internationally.
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-deluca-01931b22
Dr. Cary Supalo currently serves as a Research Developer at ETS. His primary responsibilities are assisting with conducting usability studies on current and new innovative products. Additionally, he works with key stakeholders both internally and externally to promote inclusion and equity for all test takers.
Dr. Cary Supalo earned his Ph.D from Pennsylvania State University in 2010 in the field of Chemistry Education. Prior to that he completed his Masters of Science degree in Inorganic Chemistry from Penn State in 2005. Before that he completed his undergraduate studies at Purdue University with a duel degree major in Chemistry and Communications.
His research interest is in making science learning experiences more accessible in a hands-on way for students who are blind or otherwise disabled. He successfully served as Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation grant to develop the first text-to-speech enabled scientific data logger which he commercialized through his small business called Independence Science. He has also served as a grant reviewer for NSF and the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, he currently chairs the ad hoc committee for chemistry for the Braille Authority of North America. He leads a group of blind chemists and braille transcribers and are working to revise the Chemistry Braille code 1997 revision. Dr. Supalo, currently is a member of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Community Activities (CCA). This committee plans for both Chemists Celebrate Earth Week and National Chemistry Week. Dr. Supalo has been appointed to chair National Chemistry Week 2021. He also serves as an active member of the National Federation of the Blind and serves as a mentor for students who are blind seeking careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cary-supalo-68614b7/
Henry "Hoby" Wedler is currently the Sensory Innovation Director at SENSPOINT, formerly known as Senspoint Design, which Hoby founded in 2017. SENSPOINT creates stories that encompass all five senses to generate a memorable experience. He is also the CEO of Accessible Science, a non-profit organization which leads annual chemistry camps for blind and visually impaired student across North America.
In 2016, Hoby earned his Ph.D in Organic Chemistry from UC Davis. Before meeting his advisor Dean Tantillo, Hoby planned to do his graduate work in history where the obstacles for blind students are fewer. Dean Tantillo was a strong encouragement and advocate for Hoby realizing a career in his greatest passion--chemistry. Together, they have worked to innovate tools for blind students in computational chemistry. Hoby is working to attain total independence in his research and studies, and has utilized 3D printing towards this end.
Hoby Wedler received the White House Champion of Change in 2012, Advocates in Disability Award from HSC Foundation in 2013, the Future Teacher's award from UC Davis, and was named one of Forbes '30 under 30' in the Food and Drink category.
UC Davis bio: https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/news/henry-hoby-wedler
Dutch-born Dr. Geerat J. Vermeij, Professor of Geology at the University of California at Davis, has been blind from glaucoma since he was three years old. Dr. Vermeij is an evolutionary biologist and paleontologist whose focus is on the functional morphology of marine molluscs; the coevolutionary reactions between predators and pretty; and their effects on morphology, ecology, and evolution. “Whether the rocky spire of a 400-million-year-old fossil or the glassy dome of a modern-day cowrie, Dr. Vermeij is quietly reading tales from the history of life.”
Dr. Vermeij is the author of over 200 publication, including five books and peer-reviewed publications in leading journals. His books include Evolution and Escalation, Privileged Hands: A Scientific Life, The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization, A Natural History of Shells, and Biogeography and Adaptation: Patterns of Marine Life.
Dr. Vermeij received his Ph.D from Yale University, and is a distinguished professor and recipient of the 2004 UC Davis Faculty Research Lecturer Award. He has also received the Fellows Medal from the California Academy of Sciences and the Addison Emery Verrill Medal from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
UC Davis bio: https://geology.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/vermeij
Founder of the inclusive design firm Prime Access Consulting (PAC), Sina Bahram is an accessibility consultant, researcher, speaker, and entrepreneur. In 2012, Sina was recognized as a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for his doctoral research work enabling users with disabilities to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Believing that accessibility is more sustainable when adopted as a culture, not just a tactic, Sina and his team work with middle and executive management, policy makers, and other stakeholders within institutions to promulgate accessibility and inclusive design throughout the fabric of an organization. Sina also serves as an invited expert on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) working group where he helps define the next generation of digital accessibility standards.
Personal Website: https://www.sinabahram.com
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sinabahram/
Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/sinabahram