The Experiences of Students with Type I Diabetes(T1D) in College: A Strengths-Based Approach to Managing Autoimmune Disease

Presented by Liz Wasden Oudin

Sponsored by:

Date and Time

2023 Disability Summit

April 25, 2023

Lecture: 2:00pm-2:15pm

Q&A: 2:15pm-2:25pm

Presentation Materials

Presentation slides: PPT | PDF

Including Disability Logo.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a rapidly growing autoimmune disease. 1.6 Americans live with T1D, with over 64,000 people diagnosed every year in the United States. Nearly 8,000 freshmen with T1D enter college each year. The transition to post-secondary education is a time marked by increased independence, curiosity and experimentation, and often a less regular, balanced schedule. All of these things are made more complicated by type 1 diabetes, but these elements can also make controlling and managing type 1 diabetes overwhelming. Though many teenagers take responsibility for their own diabetes management, many still require parental support for various treatment needs. College-aged adults have the highest A1c levels compared to other age groups, making them particularly vulnerable to life-threatening complications like diabetic keto-acidosis. This qualitative pilot study seeks to understand the experiences of students with T1D as they transition to college, how their T1D impacted their college experience, and the resources that helped them effectively manage their T1D. Data was collected through interviews with three current college students with T1D. This study also seeks to understand how college students might characterize their T1D as a ‘superpower’ and what institutions can do to foster a strong T1D identity in students. How might naming disability as a superpower impact how students navigate their autoimmune disease management?

About the Speakers

Liz Wasden (she/her/hers)

Liz Wasden (she/her/hers) is an academic advisor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She is also a third-year student in the Higher Education doctoral program at the University of Maryland, where her interests in research and practice in highlighting disability from a strengths-based lens and her passion for holistic advising intersect. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 as an undergraduate in college, Liz is active in type 1 advocacy organizations and continues to assess how colleges and universities can best support their students with invisible disabilities.