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Go Ask Mom

Natural sciences museum hosts STEM career showcase for students with disabilities

Posted September 10, 2014 8:34 p.m. EDT

2013 Raleigh Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Justin LeBlanc

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will highlight STEM careers for people with disabilities at a special program next month for middle school and high school students.

The showcase is 10 a.m. to noon, Oct. 15, at the museum in downtown Raleigh. It's designed for academic students with disabilities in grades six to twelve who are performing at or near grade level. Students must have a chaperone to attend.

According to a press release, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (so-called STEM fields) even though there have been advances in the accessibility of information technology and other tools.

The goal of next month's showcase is to show students that STEM careers are possible for them.

The morning includes a keynote address from Ed Summers, Senior Manager of Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology at SAS. There also will be a panel of STEM role models with disabilities to discuss such topics as the evolving landscape of STEM fields, overcoming the stigma associated with disabilities and learning the skills required for a successful academic and professional career, according to the release.

Speakers include Justin LeBlanc, assistant professor in the College of Design at N.C. State University. He was the first deaf contestant and a finalist on the Lifetime television production “Project Runway” Season 12. College students also will share tips for making a smooth transition from high school to college.

The showcase is free, but registration is required. Online registration is open until Sept. 30. For more information and to register, go to the museum's website. Space is limited to the first 300 students.