Ishira Parikh has won a Mary Gates Research Scholar award to support her work in promoting disability inclusion in science education.

Ishira is a Disability Studies major who has spent the past two years developing an interactive, activity-based K-12 synthetic biology curriculum. The curriculum has already received international attention, including being chosen for the Best Education and Public Engagement Award at the iGEM global synthetic biology competition from among the three hundred entries from more than forty countries. Now, using her Disability Studies education, she is applying Universal Design principles and other disability inclusion best practices to ensure that the curriculum is inclusive in all aspects. In doing this work, she has received advice from Disabled People International, the Rose International Fund for Children, Washington State School for the Blind, and many other experts and stakeholders.

Ishira, who will be mentored by Stephen Meyers, Core Faculty member in Disability Studies, will use her Mary Gates award to develop a distribution plan to ensure that the curriculum is distributed globally and utilized in inclusive classrooms around the world, especially in communities that normally have little access to STEM teaching resources.

The Mary Gates Research Scholarships are highly competitive awards supporting undergraduate research at the UW. The award includes $5,000 in research support to ensure students can dedicate significant time to their faculty-mentored research projects. Disability Studies students should consider applying, especially for their capstone projects. More information can be found at:

She is also a 2020 recipient of a UW DS Harlan Hahn Endowment Fund Student Research Grant.

Congratulations Ishira!