Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Megan Grunert-Kowalske

Second Advisor

Tanya Timmerman


Through an anonymous survey we analyzed Western Michigan University (WMU) STEM instructors’ experience with and understanding of teaching and interacting with Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) students. The goal of this study was to capture the experiences of WMU STEM instructors and the resources available to them given their direct impact on Deaf/HoH students’ ability to succeed and receive a post-secondary education. The findings of this study support the claim that instructors are not well supported or aware of the needs of Deaf/HoH students, and do not have access to adequate resources to resolve the issue.

The first steps in order to invoke change are assessment of the situation, creating awareness, and educating others. Through deconstructing misconceptions of Deaf/HoH people, acknowledging the lack of representation of Deaf/HoH in STEM, and aiming to educate post-secondary instructors of their essential role in Deaf/HoH lives, we proposed Deaf/HoH students would be better supported and affirmed when the instructors are aware of their needs. Instructors who are educated on how to best support Deaf/HoH in academia positively impact Deaf/HoH people and their pursuit of post-secondary degrees. The long-term goals of this work are to build a confident community of educated advocates here at Western Michigan University (WMU) who are aware of the needs of Deaf/HoH students and are willing to educate others.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Honors Thesis Defense.pdf (1267 kB)
Defense Presentation