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Gina Ceylan reinvigorates science education

Student profile Gina Ceylan


Gina Ceylan


Charleston, S.C.

Academic field

Science education

Year in school

PhD candidate


Blind due to a rare type of retinal degeneration

Educational focus

Universal design and college science teaching

Future endeavors

I aspire to teach Earth science at the university level, communicate my passion for science to the public through outreach, and improve science education for all.


Running, swimming, climbing, tandem biking, camping, hiking, sailing, kayaking, traveling, listening to audiobooks, music (especially live) vinyl collecting, playing guitar, learning about modern physics and other things that are terribly interesting but not terribly useful, experimental cooking and generally appreciating my life.

Greatest challenge at MU

Inaccessibility of science courses and winter are tied.

What people should know about my disability

I actually quite enjoy it. I appreciate non-visual perception, thought and understanding, and I wouldn't trade it for 20/20. Although I still have some light/motion detecting ability, if I attempt to "see" anything it causes intense pain, so I avoid this as much as possible. My condition is degenerative, so I used to have better vision, and I'm aware of colors and other visual concepts that many people attach great importance to. Eventually, I'll be totally blind, and I'm looking forward to it.

Advice for students with similar disabilities

  • It is absolutely essential to maintain a POSITIVE attitude.
  • Be perceptive. Pay attention to what's happening, and be a part of it.
  • Figure out what you really appreciate, and get into it.
  • Find what accommodations work and don't work for you. This is all about trial and error. Don't be afraid to admit that something doesn't work well.
  • Don't hesitate to try something new or to invent your own solutions. How do you learn best? What motivates you?
  • Plan ahead!
  • Self-advocate! You deserve equal access to knowledge.
  • Continually communicate with your teachers, ODS and other students. Be honest with yourself and others as much as possible.
  • Embrace your condition.
  • Get involved! We have a community on this campus, and we want you to be part of it.
  • Try not biting off more than you can chew. Do as I say, not as I do. Realize that you can do anything, but not everything.
  • Be as organized as you can possibly manage.
  • Never, never, never give in to ignorance, apathy or negativity.
  • Try science!
  • Check out the Rec.
  • Also, I urge you to recycle.

Advice for new MU students

See above. This applies to everyone.

How the Office of Disability Services makes a difference

If you know what you need, they'll do whatever they can to help you get it. They have a lot of experience and expertise, but they aren't afraid of trying something new either. If you need help getting through to a professor, they'll stand up for you. If you're open to it, they can put you in touch with other students.