Sara Berkes

Student Accessibility Champion

Degrees:Master of Design Student

About me:

I’ve lived on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts (Vancouver – Halifax – Los Angeles) before moving to landlocked Ottawa in 2014. I don’t enjoy winter, but I do enjoy knitting sweaters, which helps. In the summer I can be found hiking, paddleboarding, biking, and swimming, soaking up as much time outside as I can. When I’m home, I’m usually cuddling one of my two cats, or sometimes both at the same time if I’m lucky.


As a student with invisible disabilities who is passionate about equity and the social determinants of health, I bring both my own lived experience and an academic understanding to accessibility. I am passionate about confronting ableism and stigma in all the communities I belong to, and reminding people that disabilities come in many forms.

Advise to Students and or Staff:

If accommodations seem like an unfair advantage to you, take some time to look into the concept of equity vs equality, and the history of academic ableism. Accommodations are often the bare minimum of what a disabled student needs to thrive in a system that is not designed to support them.