Dr Sasha Kosanic

Exeter alumna highlights challenges faced by disabled researchers

Exeter alumna Dr Sasha Kosanic (PhD Geography, 2015) has published a paper raising awareness about the obstacles researchers with disabilities can face in the academic system.

Sasha, who completed her PhD on climate variability at the University’s Penryn campus and now works at the University of Konstanz in Germany, says: “Academia is a very competitive environment for everyone, however even more so for disabled researchers. I was extremely lucky to have Dr Stephan Harrison and Dr Karen Anderson as my PhD supervisors as they were always supportive and placed the emphasis on my abilities and not disabilities, however this is not the case for everyone.

“The academic environment differs between countries and so does the perception of disability in academia as well as outside of it. Some societies are more inclusive and open towards differences than others. In some countries, legislation and policies designed to protect the human rights of the disabled population are followed and in some not. The main problem is as a disabled person you always need to advocate for yourself and this takes a lot of time. Sometimes it feels like a second job and this also takes focus off our 'primary job' - research.”

Before studying at Exeter Sasha competed at the European and World Para Alpine Skiing Championships as well as the Paralympics and says it was a great opportunity to learn from the best, not just about skiing, but about life in general - how to  survive and thrive in 'able bodied world'.

You can read Sasha’s article in the American Association of Geographers Newsletter.

Date: 21 September 2018

Read more University News