Free STEM Career Event to Draw Students with Disabilities

Photo by Matt Zeher courtesy of N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

Do you have a child with special needs in grades 6-12 who is performing at or near grade level? Is she or he interested in science, technology, engineering or math? The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is inviting you to register your student by Sept. 30 for the third annual STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities, a free event at the museum Friday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Although jobs based on STEM education pay well and are forecast to grow, people with disabilities are currently underrepresented in these fields. This trend has continued despite advances in the accessibility of information technology and professional tools that make it easier for people with disabilities to join the STEM workforce. To inspire students to pursue STEM careers and to help them learn about job possibilities, the museum is hosting the October event in collaboration with analytics software company SAS.

Attendees will meet role models with disabilities who have thriving careers in STEM fields. Dean Hines, an astrophysicist with the Space Telescope Science Institute at the University of New Mexico, will deliver the keynote address on how to achieve success in STEM fields while living with a disability. A panel of STEM role models with disabilities will follow the keynote. The moderator will be Sina Bahram, president of Prime Access Consulting and a doctoral candidate at NC State University. Panelists include: David Hamrick, a meteorologist at NOAA; David Tseng, a computer scientist at Google; Sara Pruteanu, a cancer researcher at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Cary Supalo, a chemist at Purdue University; and Ben Thompson, a medical student at the University of North Carolina.

An “Opportunity Fair” follows the program and provides students and their chaperones a chance to learn about, and talk to representatives from agencies that work with students with disabilities who are interested in STEM fields. Breakout sessions will give students a chance to interact in small groups or one-on-one settings with the panelists, moderator and keynote speaker.

Students must have a chaperone to attend. Attendees are automatically entered for a chance to win raffle items ranging from an iPad 2 to Carolina RailHawks tickets to a behind-the-scenes tour of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Registration is required for the event. For more information or to reserve your spot, visit This is an intimate event with space limited to 300 students; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Photo by Matt Zeher courtesy of N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

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