FSU Foundation

Student Stars: Ellen Cecil-Lemkin

Photo of Ellen Cecil-Lemkin with her dog

“I hope my efforts help destigmatize the conversation about disabilities and shape academic systems to better serve students with disabilities.”

Doctoral candidate aims to help future generations of students with disabilities

Major: PhD in rhetoric and composition
Graduation: Summer 2020

Florida State University doctoral candidate Ellen Cecil-Lemkin is on a mission to make sure current and future generations of students have a better chance of succeeding in college because of her own journey navigating higher education with a disability.

Cecil-Lemkin, who’s working toward a doctorate in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition, serves as an ambassador for FSU’s Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) because she believes so strongly in one of its key goals: offering services to students with “invisible disabilities,” such as anxiety and depression.

“When you ask students about disability, their first thoughts tend to focus on someone using a mobility device, like a wheelchair,” Cecil-Lemkin said. “While some disabled people do use wheelchairs, many more do not have any physical, visible indicators, and those students are eligible for ADA-approved accommodations, such as testing outside of a classroom setting or increased time on exams.”