North-Central Section - 57th Annual Meeting - 2023

Paper No. 10-3
Presentation Time: 2:10 PM


MORRIS, Nina, Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49001, PETCOVIC, Heather, Geological and Environmental Sciences & Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5241, VOICE, Peter, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, 1903 W. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5241 and ATCHISON, Christopher L., School of Education, University of Cincinnati, 2610 McMicken Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45221

Individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM fields, including geosciences. This is a problem as these individuals bring a unique perspective and deserve to be included. This study focused on the lived experiences of graduate and undergraduate geoscience students who identified as having a learning disability.

This study involved interviewing 6 geoscience students in the United Sates who identified as having a learning disability. Common learning disabilities include dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 47 and both graduate and undergraduate students were included in this study. Participants shared effective individual strategies that they used to navigate their course work. Furthermore, participants shared effective teaching strategies that they encountered in their geoscience classes. Effective teaching strategies included giving students visual examples of the material that was being covered and slowing down while teaching to give students time to think through the presented information. Additionally, students mentioned ways in which departments offered to support them through the program. For example, one student mentioned that their department allowed them to substitute a different course into their degree program when they were unable to participate in the original course. Understanding and implementing strategies to help these students is important as it should be the responsibility of faculty, departments, and schools to provide support for these students and opposed to students navigating these challenges on their own.