I was proud of the parent who, during a conversation about her son’s attendance of a recent Chem Camp, asked me the question which many doubtless wonder. When I mentioned that I was a psychology major she came right out with: “So what in the world are you doing running a science camp?” I will tell you what I told her.
I got a very good education growing up. I was challenged, particularly by Algebra, and discovered my knack for writing and my love for psychology. There was one hole in my schooling however, and that was in the area of science.
I took physical science and biology, but barely participated in the labs because neither I nor my teachers knew how to make them accessible to me. I did not take Chemistry because we did not think it was safe. I’m not blaming my teachers; if I’d known the way blind people did science, I’m sure they’d have tried it. I memorized enough of the material to scrape by with low Bs and Cs, but because I had nothing to apply it too promptly forgot it. Science was a big, gaping hole in my knowledge and to some extent still is.
Then I met Henry (Hoby) Wedler. Here was a totally blind guy who was majoring in Chemistry! Well, here was proof that a blind person could do chemistry, and that I and my high school instructors could have made my science experience far richer than it was. If only we had had the knowledge…
When he approached me in late 2010 about doing a Chemistry Camp for blind high school students, something clicked in my mind. My experience was what it was, and I couldn’t go back and change it. I could however help to insure that future blind High School students and science teachers were equipped with the knowledge to make science accessible.
So here we are, having just completed our fourth annual Chemistry camp, and already beginning to think about next year. The application will come out in January. If you are a blind High School student interested in science, I hope that you will apply. If you are a science teacher, please come to us with your questions. If you have tips and tricks you want to share, please share them. Whoever you are, I hope that you will find this site helpful. The study of science is for blind and sighted alike; let’s work together to ensure that this is so.