Episode 183 – Unstoppable Learner, Creative Activist and Disability Advocate with Rishika Kartik
I met Rishika Kartik through her father while at a board meeting of the Colorado Center for the Blind. Rishika currently is a sophomore at Brown University.
As you will hear during our conversation, Rishika is extremely articulate. More importantly, she is very curious about almost everything and she loves to learn. She came by these traits honestly through the guidance of her parents. As a Freshman at Brown last year, she taught a course, started her own company/initiative and she has delivered a TEDx talk.
It was quite stimulating to hear Rishika talk about the life experiences she already has had and what she has learned about herself and others. She has some great insights that I am certain will agree with you. Already she has plans for activities for this year that she will talk about. I can hardly wait for her plans to become real activities we all can experience.
About the Guest:
Rishika Kartik is a creative activist and disability advocate. She works to improve holistic community health and make spaces, products, and experiences more accessible to those with disabilities. As the founder of “Touch and Create Studios” and the “Vision of the Artist’s Soul” project, she has worked to make museums more inclusive and increase artistic and educational opportunities for blind people nationwide. As a sighted member of the National Federation of the Blind, she has collaborated with mentors to advocate for legislation at the Capitol and teach blind children STEM, braille literacy, and independent living skills training.
Rishika is a TEDx speaker, a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar, a Coca-Cola Scholar, a Live Más Scholar, and the recipient of the 2021 INSITE Grant, the 2020 Arts In Society Grant, and the 2021 Dairy Arts Center Micro-Grant . She also explores youth advocacy as a board member of Mirror Image Arts, a nonprofit that disrupts the school-to-prison pipeline through participatory theater. A current undergraduate student at Brown University, Rishika is creating her own major in “Disability and Design.” In her free time, Rishika is the 2023-2024 Co-Studio Lead for Brown/RISD Design for America, 2023 President of Brown Arts and Politics, a Student Associate for the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces, and a proud supporter of Disability Justice at Brown.
Rishika’s greatest joy lies in teaching, learning, and relationship-building. In the past, she has done social science research at the Bedny Neuroplasticity Lab at Johns Hopkins and the American Foundation for the Blind, as well as medical research for the Department of Obstetrics and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at CU Anschutz Medical Campus. She is currently conducting independent research as a 2023 Royce Fellowship Recipient analyzing the importance of "tactile fluency" for rehabilitation in blind communities. In Spring of 2023, Rishika partnered with 2 blind peers to create and teach a new course at Brown: "Blindness, Arts, and Media," and her writing has been published in papers such as Future Reflections Magazine and the Braille Monitor. In the future, she hopes to continue advocacy work through public speaking, artwork, design, and blogs on my website, rishikastudio.com.
Ways to connect with Rishika:
Tedx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jiTWP0lCls
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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