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Visually-impaired teens get an up-close look at STEM careers in a UA program

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 13:02:40-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona is trying to get visually impaired teenagers interested in science.

Organizers hope to get those young students into STEM fields by stimulating senses other than sight. It is part of UA’s Project POEM a National Science Foundation-funded project designed to introduce visually impaired middle and high school students to careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Maggie Lindsay was one of those students in the mining research lab on Thursday.

“Science in general, yes. I have absolutely no idea about mining,” said Maggie. “Never considered it before, but these joy sticks are fun.”

The mining research lab gives students a multi-sensory experience.

“It’s good to stick your fingers in everything really,” said High School Junior Jonathan Vandenberg.

To get a better grasp on the subject, they literally get to wrap their arms and hands around it.

“It also would be helpful to all other students, even those that are sighted,” said Principle Investigator for Project POEM Sunggye Hong. “I think the use of multisensory is very important.”

Maggie says there were a lot of good lessons to take away from the lab.

“Trust yourself that you can do it. You may have to do it differently than someone who doesn't have a disability, but that doesn't mean you can't do it.”