By the support of access assistants offered through disabilities service offices, blind students thrive in post secondary academic institutions. According to the University of Minnesota Disability Resource Center page, access assistants are "Trained student workers [who] help to remove barriers for students with disabilities. They may assist you with laboratory access, notetaking, library assistance, individual reading, textbook taping, and other activities."

As a blind student, I've found access assistants indispensable. They act as your eyes when you are in lecture, studying outside of class, or, for me as a postdoctoral researcher, working in my lab on computational chemistry research. Access Assistants are not experts in the topic that the blind student or researcher is studying--they are simply expected to read and describe exactly what they see at the promptings of the student and to carry out simple, sight-dependent tasks such as writing down notes.

Without the help of Mink Inc., my team, I would not be able to perform my research. Their assistance bolsters my work, and their positive and collaborative attitudes lead to many lasting connections with past and present members. Mink Inc. has allowed me to grow in a managerial and advisory position. Furthermore, as my team assists me, I learn a lot from them. I can't wait to see what great things they go on to accomplish!

Several assistants reflected on what it is like to work through readers. Read their thoughts here.