UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute


Outreach: Sightseeing

1 October 2020

Dr Sofia Qvarfort shares the stories of visually impaired people at university in her podcast, VIP@Uni.

Photo of Sofia Qvarfort

After successfully completing an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in physics with a visual impairment, I am keen to help other visually impaired students access educational material and make the most of their time at university.

So, I set up the website VIP@University, where VIP stands for ‘Visually Impaired Person’. As the website editor, my goal is to share the experiences of visually impaired students and inspire young VIPs to take up university studies.

Complementing my work with the website, I recently started a podcast. In each episode, I interview a visually impaired person. Asking how they navigated lectures, exams, practical learning activities, and their social life.

Recently, I interviewed junior doctor Sarah Leiter who studied medicine at the University of Cambridge, and also did a PhD on the genetics of low blood-sugar in children. Sarah has albinism, which means that, in her words, her eyes are ‘like a 60s television’ - she needs to get much closer to things in order to see them. In the podcast, she explains what tools and assistive technology she used to examine patients, and we discussed the best way to approach and communicate with universities about your visual impairment.

I am always looking for new guests to appear on the podcast. If you are interested to share your experiences, please contact me!

Find out more: www.vipatuni.com

This article was featured in UCLQ’s 2019/20 annual report.