Headshot of Grace Staes.


Cornell University, Cornell, NY

Grace was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She has two brothers, one younger, the other older. Both her parents are attorneys.

Grace went to the same school from kindergarten through grade 12. She first became interested in science and medicine during middle school. Grace was especially Interested in sports, sports injuries, and sports medicine. “Being a doc would be super cool,” Grace stated. “And I also liked working with my hands at an early age, engaged in robotics and helping my dad with stuff around the house.”

In high school she continued to like science and realized she was pretty good at it. She was admitted to Cornell University majoring in anthropology. That experience grew to an interest in educational STEM equity, still leaning toward combining those skills with medical school. Her past year at Cornell afforded her the opportunity to work as an undergrad TA for an intro to bio course, with experience teaching STEM equity. The lead professor of the course recommended the RIT REU experience.

Grace is thrilled to be working with Dr. Kelly Martin, doing a study with deaf and hard-of-hearing students. She is looking at experiences students are encountering, particularly those taking courses where students are asked to give presentations. Through interviews Grace is gathering feedback from deaf and hard of hearing students, interpreters and professors who assign presentations in their courses to assess if there are gaps in RIT supporting and evaluating the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Typical questions address the resources both faculty and students would like to have which they currently don’t have.

Grace and her research partner Téa Pusey are looking at interview data from the REU 2020 session as well as implementing new interviews this summer. The goal will be to write a paper that will be submitted for publication.

Grace stated that this summer has been a great experience and she loves the student reflection sessions.