Phase 2

Exploring the experiences of STEM graduate students with invisible dis/abilities


There is a scarcity of research exploring the perceptions and experiences of STEM students, graduate students, student researchers, and students with invisible dis/abilities*. Motivated by their own experiences as an invisibly dis/abled STEM graduate student, D. C. decided to conduct some research during the summer of 2021. With guidance from two of the other members on the research team, D. C. explored the experiences of two STEM graduate students with invisible disabilities. The participants and D. C. identified several phenomena in need of further exploration. We believe that exploring these phenomena in a second phase of research could help motivate and inform Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (SJEDI) efforts.

Purpose of Phase 2

We aim to explore and describe the experiences of other STEM graduate students We aim to explore and describe the experiences of other STEM graduate students with invisible dis/abilities*. Specifically, we hope to learn about these students’ experiences in their graduate academic environment regarding interpersonal interactions, culture, and policies.


We will be conducting virtual interviews over Spring/Summer 2022.

What participants will experience

Each participant will engage in a ~two-hour one-on-one interview with D. C.. Participants will also have the option to take an anonymous post-interview survey. Please know that each participant’s, comfort, privacy, and agency in the study are extremely important to us. We have built the study around these priorities and will be very conscientious about de-identifying anything the participants share.

Who we’re recruiting

We hope to recruit additional participants who:

    • are currently enrolled or were enrolled within the last year (enrolled in Dec 2020 or more recently in a STEM graduate program at a University in the U.S.
    • have previously earned at least one bachelor’s degree
    • identify as having at least one invisible dis/ability

How to get involved

If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more, please email D.C. at

*Note: We use the term dis/ability to 1) acknowledge the validity and value of humans who have disabilities, 2) emphasize the codependence of disability and ability socio-cultural conceptualizations, and 3) recognize disability and ability as construction of ableism, disablism, and each individual’s intersectional experience.

The research team



D. C. Beardmore (they/them/theirs) Primary investigator


Angela R. Bielefeldt (she/her/hers) Secondary investigator



Rebecca Ciancanelli (she/her/hers) Secondary investigator


Robyn E. Sandekian (she/her/hers) Secondary investigator

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