Summer Institute Experience

These two entries were written by new students who just completed the DST 501 Summer Institute. 


DST501 summer institute was certainly intense! There was a lot to do in a short period of time. It felt like I was in a whirlwind, especially for the first few days, but by the end of the first week I found myself enjoying and engaged in the lectures. I liked the fact that we had guests coming in and sharing their personal experiences. That really opened my eyes on how society can be so welcoming of one group, and so discriminatory of another. I knew people can be made to feel separate by derogatory comments, but to see how architecture and accessibility can do the same was huge for me. I look at accessibility so differently now. Shops, office buildings, anything and everything look different after this course. 


So what makes people disabled? Taking the summer institute and delving deep into that question has enriched my life, not only in my work with deaf blind people, but also in creating conversations within my circle of friends. This course has enlightened me in ways that I never imagined, and the message continues to spread.


Adriano Aguiar

DST501 Summer Institute Student


My name is Chantelle Bernardo, and I recently attended the DST501 summer institute. I really enjoyed the class environment, and the professor that ran the classroom. Discussions were engaging, and your opinions and thoughts were challenged on a daily basis by your classmates, and lecture materials. With varying areas of discussion, throughout the course, participants found themselves passionately engaged in what was being taught. I thoroughly enjoyed relating what we were learning to real life examples, and using our passion and knowledge in debates. The class was respectful and all were supportive of different experiences, backgrounds and opinions. It was very interesting to see how different educational backgrounds and work experiences affected individual perceptions in the class, and I truly believe that we all learned something from each other every day. It is exciting to know that there are so many more courses like DST501 to look forward to. All courses that I have taken thus far have caused me to think about disabilities with a “rights” perspective. I am finding that I want to get myself more involved with societal issues and support groups throughout the city and within my own community. I have become more of an advocate for the disabilities sector, and support the rights and equality issues on a variety of levels. I currently work for the school board, and have had past experiences working in group homes, day programs, camps, and individual therapy. In all my past and present work experiences, I have been able to recognize where more advocacy and support is and was needed. Looking back on what I’ve seen over the years, I know that our communities have more work to do in terms of making life, environments and experiences better for persons of all disabilities. I know that with the courses provided at Ryerson, I will be given the strong foundation needed to be able to make a difference in my line of work. I came into the program at Ryerson with a different frame of mind about what I would get out of the Disability Studies program. From my experiences thus far, I will keep my mind and options open for my future studies and endeavours both inside and outside of school. I look forward to more positive experiences at Ryerson.


Chantelle Bernado

DST501 Summer Institute Student



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