2021 Focus Award Recipient - Student

Ilayda Kelley

Ilayda Kelley, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, serves as a lab assistant for students with disabilities. Ilayda helps students to fully participate in labs and successfully learn the techniques and concepts.  She encourages and facilitates interaction in group labs to ensure accessibility for all students.

Ms. Kelley is committed to helping students succeed in class. She has worked with visually impaired students by taking time to work one-on-one with those students, describing the content of videos, reworking graphics, and modifying materials to help make the course accessible. Ilayda has worked out creative ways to help students with physical limitations manage lab equipment in way that allows the student to complete all the assigned exercises.

Marybeth Miller shared how valuable Kelley is to other students, stating “[i]n many of our general chemistry labs, students work together in groups of 3 or 4. A huge benefit of Ilayda’s work is that she is able to bridge the gap between the student with disabilities and the other members of the lab group. This interaction enables all the students to feel more comfortable with each other.” Ilayda has helped students realize that they are active and valuable group members even when unable to physically complete tasks themselves. In doing so, Ms. Kelley has made a significant difference in the accessibility of chemistry labs for students with disabilities and continues to make Purdue a more inclusive place to learn.