Accessible Science: Opening the STEM Classroom to Students with Visual Impairments

Speakers:Angela Bischof, Ph.D.; Timothy Gould; Jesse Lasky, Ph.D.; Katie Manz; Stephen J. Van Hook, Ph.D.
Penn State Eberly College of Science Faculty and Staff

This session provides an exciting opportunity for teachers working with students with visual impairments to gain knowledge and hands-on experience with adapted instructional strategies in STEM. Participants will explore simple DIY solutions and more complex strategies employing specially-designed technology in conjunction with traditional laboratory equipment. The session will touch on general laboratory safety and practices, along with adaptations that apply to a number of specific disciplines (e.g., biology, physics, chemistry) and types of activities, measurements, and observations (e.g., balancing chemical equations, measuring pH values, working with molecular model kits).

Credits: Act 48, ACVREP, PSYCH

Audience: Teachers who work with students who are blind or visually impaired, General Education Teachers, Assistive Technology Specialists, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Paraprofessionals

Speakers’ Bios : Stephen J. Van Hook, Ph.D., is a physicist whose passion is sharing the joy of physics with students of all ages, from kindergarten to college. He is an Associate Teaching Professor of Physics at Penn State and earned his M.A. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Van Hook has previously directed the Science-U Camps “Science Gets Creative” and “The Science of Toys”.

Katie Mantz is an Instructor and Program Assistant with the Penn State Forensic Science Program. Katie is a Penn State alum with a degree in Forensic Science and minor in Criminal Justice. She also holds a degree in Political Science from Humboldt State University, and degrees in Natural Science and Political Science from Norco College. Katie has done research in the areas of trace evidence and gunshot residue pattern analysis.

Jesse Lasky, Ph.D., is a biologist whose research seeks to understand how plants adapt to their environments and the consequences this has for biodiversity on a changing planet. He earned his B.A. from the Kenyon College and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, researching quantitative approaches to plant biodiversity. He currently is an Assistant Professor in Biology at Penn State.

Angela Bischof, Ph.D., is a graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA (B.S., 2010) and Penn State University (Ph.D., 2016). She has loved science since she was a little girl watching Bill Nye on TV. Dr. Bischof has served as a co-director of the week-long STEM Extension program for B/VI students during Summer Academy at Penn State in 2017, and the lead instructor during the concurrent TVI training session.
Timothy Gould is an Education Program Associate with the Eberly College of Science Office of Science Outreach at Penn State. During the summer of 2018, he coordinated the Office's 3rd-annual STEM Extension to the BBVS Summer Academy at Penn State, in collaboration with BBVS and the Penn State MRSEC. He is looking forward to continuing to expand this program through the next several years. Tim is currently working toward his Ph.D. in Ecology, and holds an M.S. in Ecology and a B.S. in Geosciences, both from Penn State.