National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment (NTAC-BVI)

NTAC-BVI
Mississippi State University

Meet Dr. Cary Supalo

Dr. Cary Supalo demonstrating some of his adapted equipment Dr. Cary Supalo lecturing to a chemistry class

Dr. Cary Supalo is an Assistant Professor in Chemical Education at Illinois State University. He has a passion for problem solving and making science accessible for all students with disabilities. Blind since birth, Cary Supalo earned his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and his Master’s and PhD in Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He is the founder and CEO of a company called Independence Science. He uses a speech screen reader program called JAWS to access his computer, and a refreshable braille technology in a small, portable PDA- like device about the size of a book. Dr. Supalo has developed and field tested devices and methods for making Chemistry accessible for all students with disabilities including those who are blind. His research interests include modification of science curricula and teaching methodologies, along with further development of assistive technologies, with the goal of continuing to improve access to laboratory science education for students with blindness and low vision. Dr. Supalo was quoted in a 2012 Braille Monitor article as indicating that "A major strength of competent blind people is our ability to problem solve. We have been finding creative ways to function non-visually since we first learned to get around our homes, dealt with the printed word, and learned to organize things at home and at school. These lifelong problem-solving skills are an asset to us in science classes and will serve us well as we move into employment in science, technology, engineering, and math."

(photo used by permission of Independence Science)

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