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New Organization Provides Support and Networking Opportunities to Disabled and Chronically Ill Planetary Scientists

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PSI Research Scientist Jamie Molaro has launched an organization to help disabled or chronically ill planetary scientists succeed in their field. Disabled for Accessibility in Space, or DAIS, is a platform to lift up disabled voices in planetary and space science fields through networking, community support, and advocacy. The group is inclusive of all people that are associated with and/or working in space-related fields with any type of disability of chronic illness. Members support each other, and advocate for disability awareness and accessibility in our physical and virtual community workplaces and environments.

“I’d been talking casually with a handful of other disabled folks in the field over the last few years, but taking on formalizing and running a group is kind of a big task that none of us had time to focus on. However, more and more, I found myself wishing I had more people who understood my own struggles to talk to and it finally got me motivated to carry it through,” Molaro said. 

The group was launched about two months ago and has already attracted about 65 members or participants. For more information visit https://spacedais.mn.co/. 

“There are a lot more disabled and/or chronically ill scientists and engineers than a lot of people realize. It’s often difficult for people who don’t have these issues to understand the challenges we face in our careers, to work in environments not physically or culturally set up for our success while also keeping up with everyone else,” Molaro said. “Many people face this challenge alone because it’s very personal to explain to an advisor, boss, or colleague why you need an accommodation. You worry they won’t look at you the same way after, that they will be dismissive or discriminate against you – and sadly this does happen. Just because some of us have different needs than others doesn’t mean we can’t be successful at our jobs. It means we need our institutions to help support us! It also means building a culture within the field that understands and is considerate of diverse needs. So we established to DAIS to provide peer support to people navigating these issues.”

 

June 13, 2021
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