How universities can fail — and succeed — in fair hiring practices for candidates with disabilities

A white woman in a wheelchair is smiling and wearing PhD regalia for graduation
A white woman in a wheelchair is smiling and wearing PhD regalia for graduation

I am a tenured professor at a large research university. Getting a PhD was a lot of work. But one of my biggest hurdles was getting hired.

I was born without the use of my arms and legs. I put myself through school and finished my PhD at the age of 27. As I was finishing, I went on the job market. I had yet to complete my degree, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting to get a job, or even an interview. I just wanted to get a feel for the experience.

I was looking for a position in Spanish…


How I revived my high school French

Did you study a language in high school or college, only to apparently “forget” it all a few years later? Or maybe your study abroad plans for this summer were cancelled, and you feel your language skills slipping away? You are not alone.

Languages need to be used to stay alive. But even if you are stuck at home alone, you can keep your languages alive.

Sign saying “Hola”
Sign saying “Hola”
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The isolation brought about by COVID-19 may seem like the wrong time to think about brushing up. Of course, ideally, you would travel to a community where…


As a woman with a disability, I was expected to choose to remain childless

When people hear the term “reproductive rights,” most of us think about the right to avoid having children, either through birth control or abortion. There are many opinions on these subjects, but there’s another piece to the puzzle: the right to reproduce. For women like me, the right to reproductive choice is far from guaranteed. This is my story of (at-last) motherhood.

Since he came home from the hospital, my two-year-old son has spent every night within arm’s reach of me, and every day by my…

Jessi Elana Aaron, PhD

Jessi Elana Aaron is a sociolinguist whose interests include anthropology, disability, and human rights.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store