College of Arts & Sciences Diversity Lecture Series
(co-sponsored by Department of Physics)


Rebecca Lindell
Tiliadal Solutions, LLC
My 30+ years as a Disabled Physicist: From Shame to Acceptance to Agency
April 22, 2024
4:30 p.m.
CW 102 or Zoom
Email for the Zoom address



I am a disabled physicist and have been a disabled physicist for my entire physics career. Just one semester shy of my BS degree in Physics, at the young age of twenty-one and one month, my life suddenly turned on a dime. I was diagnosed with a chronic disease that typically does not present itself until one’s late thirties or early to mid-forties. I received the shocking diagnosis that I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Ignorant of MS at the time of my diagnosis, I quickly realized life as I knew it was over and I probably would not be able to pursue a career in astrophysics as I had previously planned. I realized that at least when it came to physics, many students and staff seemed to pity me and judge me as not just being disabled but rather as someone unable to pursue a graduate degree in physics at all. Through candid anecdotes and reflections, I will explore how I evolved over the last thirty years from feeling shame to eventually embracing acceptance and agency. By drawing insights from my journey, I hope to offer valuable perspectives for individuals grappling with similar challenges, emphasizing the power of self-acceptance and personal advocacy to drive positive change.