My name is Aleeha, and this is my accessibility story.
I am a zoology major at Miami university. There are many things that drive me to be a scientist. I truly believe that a blind person can do whatever they want to do. I've always been interested in animals, so the zoology major was an obvious thing for me, and I want to be a blind veterinarian.
Now, I've never heard of a blind veterinarian. With all the research I've done, I've never even seen one. So, you know, it's a little daunting to look at. I think an ideal practice for me would be to be able to work with horses on a daily basis. I plan to work with other animals; but I also plan to do things like physical therapy and acupuncture and alternative therapies that some people, you know, don't know about or maybe are kinda skeptical about. I want to educate them and work with those kinds of therapies that I believe a sense of touch is essential for, and a good sense of touch is really essential for things like this.
Software and hardware have very recently been made accessible. The minute it got into my hands I was just extremely excited because, as soon as I started to work with it, as soon as we started using it in practical applications, it was a huge change. Because suddenly I didn't have to rely totally on a lab partner or an assistant to read measurements. You know, it's truly, it's truly eye-opening to - no pun intended right there - to use this technology, become independent, and do other things in the lab. You know, suddenly my lab assistant, you know, sometimes would just stand and make sure nothing catastrophic was about to happen, and I could do everything else. It's amazing, you know, and finally this technology exists. And I'm really happy and I applaud independent science and technologies for making all of this accessible. Though, I would like to see some things in the biology lab become more accessible. Different ways to be able to visualize images from a microscope. The question in my mind has always been, "What does this look like?" What are they seeing? I see an ideal image here, I don't see any errors that might have been made by the person preparing the slide. If that were to somehow become more accessible, that would truly be amazing.
With the proper technology and the proper attitude by the people, a blind person can go into this field. Sure there's going to be some barriers because not everybody's willing to accept this. But if we show them the good technology, and we show them what we as blind people can do with that technology I believe we can break down those accessibility barriers that might exist.
There are many things that I could say to a young woman who is going into science. The main thing I would say is "You can do it". I don't care what you go through. I don't care how many tests you get back that indicate that maybe you're not doing so well in the class. I don't care how many bad days you have because it's all worth it in the end. To get an accessible experience in labs and in lectures. To learn about all these interesting things that sighted people are doing that maybe we're not included in, and it's about time that we're included in them. So just keep pushing because we're gonna do it, and I have a feeling it's going to be soon.