Disabled in Higher Ed is a disabled student-led non-profit which seeks to cultivate a higher education and academia where disabled people can not only exist but excel. Disabled in STEM is also a disabled student-led organisation that seeks to make STEM more accessible. This awesome project is a joint mentorship program between the two organisations.
Mentorship is essential to helping individuals navigate academia, but even more important for disabled individuals. A mentorship program was first launched in 2020 by Disabled in STEM and was exclusively for STEM individuals. Disabled in Higher Ed was also considering forming a mentorship program, but as Alyssa (founder of Disabled in STEM) is also involved in Disabled in Higher Ed, we decided to combine our efforts as disabled people to expand the program to both STEM and non-STEM this year. Our overarching goal with the program is to match disabled students, postdocs and new faculty to more senior disabled mentors to facilitate knowledge sharing, learning and networking.
In our current program (this year), we have over 100 individuals between mentors and mentees and nearly 60 pairings from all around the world (including 9 time zones). There is a range of disciplines and subjects from disability studies and law to cancer and cell biology represented in the program. This is a year-long mentorship program, and we hope to make it as interactive and accessible as possible with monthly meet-ups. We will conduct the mentorship match each year to reach a wider audience.
However, doing this vital work is challenging on graduate student stipends and comes with additional labor on disabled individuals. With the generosity and support of the awesome foundation, we will be able to help offset this cost and continue to work towards making higher education more inclusive and accessible for all.
What our grantee is saying: "Receiving this award provides credibility and much-needed recognition to our project, it will help us to continue to expand our mission to support disabled individuals in higher education. Thanks to the Awesome Foundation’s support, we will be able to make our mentorship program more engaging, inclusive and accessible to all involved! We are filled with gratitude."
What our trustees are saying: "I love the idea of disabled students mentoring other disabled students. I also appreciate the combo of the two orgs working together — it will be a great synergy. Also a well thought out budget."
Funded by Disability (February 2022)