What's it like to be a student with a disability at Grinnell? Three of our recent graduates tell their stories, talking about why they choose Grinnell, what it's like being a student with a disability here — both in and out of the classroom — and how they handled things like athletics, study abroad, mentored advanced research, internships, and developing independence.

Patrick Comparin ’12

Patrick Comparin, originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, was a philosophy major. Patrick was Grinnell College's first full-time power wheelchair user and started this collection of stories to help future students.

Patrick served as an integral part of the College's efforts to make its campus more accessible.

He writes about day-to-day issues, like getting around campus, dealing with bad weather, and hiring a personal assistant. He also writes about how Grinnell's small-town environment gave him greater freedom and independence.

Read Patrick's story.

Claire Forrest ’13

Claire Forrest, originally from Minneapolis, Minn., was an English major.

Claire has cerebral palsy, and used a motorized scooter and manual wheelchair to navigate the campus. 

Claire talks about life on campus, her study abroad experiences, and her four years on the varsity women's swim team.

Read Claire's story .

Jennifer Brooks ’15

Jen Brooks, originally from Atlanta, Ga., was a sociology major.

Jen also used a wheelchair, and needed full-time personal care attendant (PCA) services and a communication aid in the classroom.

She writes about her time at Grinnell, and how she had the opportunity to explore her passion for activism, hone her skills as a researcher through two internships and a Mentored Advanced Project, and develop independent living skills.

Read Jen's story.

Merlin Mathews ’17

Merlin Mathews ’17 is majoring in anthropology and gender, women's, and sexuality studies.

Merlin is neurodivergent and chronically and mentally ill.

He writes about the variety of accommodations he has received and the personal and administrative processes for getting them.

Read Merlin's story.