Sara Blick-Nitko is from Scotia, New York. She attended RIT/NTID and received their associate's (Laboratory Science Technology from NTID), bachelor's from RIT (Biomedical Science), and master's from RIT (Professional Studies). Sara is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester pursuing a PhD degree in Pathology. She also received another master’s degree in Pathology from the University of Rochester. Sara will graduate in May of 2023 with their PhD degree. Her research focuses on the multifactorial roles of platelets in uncomplicated malaria infection with respect to immunometabolism.
What was one of the low points or challenges in your scientific journey, and what helped you? What advice do you have for others?
One of the low points and challenges I faced in my scientific journey was the ability to receive equitable access as a Deaf person and scientist. Deaf people were not thought to be able to pursue higher education but in recent years, many more deaf people are pursuing advanced degrees. Deaf people can do anything but hear, and generally, the society has a different view of deaf people than we do for ourselves. I have to constantly educate others about what my needs are and advocate for myself on a daily basis in a hearing-dominant/audio-centered world. I have to "show up" twice as much due to my deafness. My knowledge and self-advocacy have helped me through these challenges as well as having other Deaf peers who are in PhD programs to share our struggles with. Through these conversations, we are able to uplift each other and share advice and ideas on how to improve our accessibility. My advice is to always self-advocate for yourself and do not accept any less than what you know you deserve.
What is something about science or your current work that you find fascinating or motivating?
The field of science is constantly evolving and there remains much more to be discovered and it is never ending. I am proud to be involved in an evolutionary field to push for a better world for people to live in. Malaria is one of the oldest diseases known to man and we still have not developed an effective cure for malaria. I hope to be able to see it happen in my lifetime. I can only hope that my PhD work in malaria which will be shared in a publication, will contribute to improved understanding and further research for a successful development of a cure.