Easing the Transition to STEM Higher Education for Students with Disabilities

May 1, 2024, 12 noon PDT

Webinar recording in YouTube (captions are auto-generated)

Webinar presentation in Google Slides


The transition from high school to higher education can be turbulent for all students, and especially challenging for students with disabilities. Navigating different legal frameworks protecting students with disabilities and changing communities of support can cause hardship and confusion. Beyond these issues common across higher education settings, STEM disciplines pose unique accessibility challenges. This presentation will highlight some of the efforts being conducted at the Colorado School of Mines to understand these problems from student and high school educator perspectives and ease the transition to STEM higher education.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this presentation, learners will be able to:

  • Describe some of the challenges faced by students with disabilities in transitioning from high school to higher education
  • Identify accessibility challenges in STEM disciplines
  • Develop strategies to improve the transition to STEM higher education


Brianna Buljung is the Teaching and Learning Librarian at the Colorado School of Mines. Prior to joining Mines in 2016, she served as the Engineering and Computer Science Librarian at the US Naval Academy and a contract Reference Librarian at the National Defense University. Her research interests include information literacy for STEM students and open educational resources use in STEM disciplines. She earned her Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Denver in 2011. 

Allie Ezell is a 3rd year at the Colorado School of Mines studying Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. She was diagnosed with Incontinentia Pigmenti (IP) at 2 weeks old. IP is a rare genetic condition that impacts each system of the body with no prognosis. The primary medical issue Allie faces with IP is the inability to sweat or regulate her body temperature, increasing the risk of heat stroke. Despite the medical challenges, Allie has found the proper accommodations to succeed as a disabled woman in STEM.

Maddie Fox is an undergraduate student in Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. As an autistic and physically disabled student, she has first-hand experience with many of the challenges that disabled students face when pursuing higher education. She is also on the executive board for Oredigger Disability Activism and Community, the club that advocates for and creates a supportive community for students with disabilities at Mines.

Jamie Regan is an undergraduate student in Electrical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. She joined the research group in 2022 as an undergraduate researcher. As a nontraditional student who became disabled later in life she has had the experience of attending college as a student with and without disabilities which opened her eyes to some of the challenges students face. She is also a founding member of Oredigger Disability Activism and Community which is a club at Mines that aims to advocate for students with disabilities and create a safe community for those students.

Seth Vuletich is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the Colorado School of Mines. Seth earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in Geology and went on to work as a professional woodworker before earning his Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Denver. During his graduate studies, Seth developed an interest in accessibility and dedicated much of his independent study to these topics. Seth Joined Mines in 2021 and has continued his research into accessibility of education for students with disabilities.