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How Discrimination in STEM Changed My Life

Trigger Warning: workplace ableism and academic ableism, lack of legal protection for students against discrimination.

In December 2019, I was in my first year of university and had accepted an internship in a medical school lab. It was Thursday afternoon in February 2020 and I was walking to my introductory biology class and got a message from the Principal Investigator (PI).

I should come by his office after my immunology exam. Not sure why, I immediately started to worry. I tried to keep calm: he probably wants to discuss my new project. Why worry when there have been no problems? I walked up to his office cautiously. 

He told me to sit down. I obeyed, hearing in his tone that this meeting had been something to fear. He said other people in the lab had a problem with me. While I knew they didn’t particularly like me, I didn’t think they had actual grievances. I was flabbergasted. “What problems? What did I do?” I asked. 

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A Blue Badge Brings Disabled People Freedom, so why are Places Like York Restricting Acess?

Checking the expiry date of my Blue Badge, my heart sank. I’d driven 20 minutes into my nearest town centre to run essential errands, but instead of being able to park near the opticians in a disabled bay, as usual, I realised my badge had expired.  

I sat in the car for 15 minutes, evaluating whether attempting the further distance from the paid car park on foot was worth it. I’d end up either limping in pain, or unable to make it at all. In the end, I turned the ignition back on and drove home.