2004 DO-IT Trailblazer Awards

Scott Bellman, DO-IT Staff

DO-IT Trailblazer Award recipients are DO-IT community members who have forged new pathways that will benefit others. Through their ongoing work and accomplishments, award recipients have changed the way the world views people with disabilities and their potential to succeed in challenging careers and activities.

Cheri Trek

DO-IT Ambassador and '96 Scholar
"For achievements in athletics and academics."

Cheri began her academic and racing career in 1998 at the University of Arizona. She majored in molecular and cellular biology and was captain of the track team. Blauwet maintained a 4.0 GPA and was selected to USA Today's All-American Academic Team. In November 2002, Blauwet won first place in the wheelchair division of the New York City Marathon. Four months later she captured first place in the Los Angeles Marathon. Later in the month, she set a new women's road course record at the Carlsbad 5000 Wheelchair Invitational race. Blauwet shattered the 1996 world record of 12 minutes and 8 seconds, by crossing the finish line in 12 minutes and 4 seconds. In April 2003, Blauwet entered the Boston Marathon, placing second; she won in 2004. She is a three-time Paralympic medalist, capturing three medals in track and field events. Blauwet is now in medical school at Stanford pursuing a career in developmental pediatrics.

Mike Dedman

Education Specialist, National Parks Service
"For improving access in the National Parks Service."

As a Summer Study Phase II Workshop Instructor for two years, Mike taught about "Accessibility of National Parks" and facilitated a visit to Klondike National Park. He taught Scholars to use their expertise and make recommendations for improved park service access. He initiated regional nationwide training sessions about access in National Parks education programs and websites and has been a strong advocate for National Parks visitors with disabilities. He also initiated a story-reading program for hospitalized youth. Mike Dedman has been active in helping students explore careers with the Parks system. He regularly sends information about job and internship openings to DO-IT staff, inviting applicants with disabilities. In 2002, Mike taught a Phase I session called "Science-Related Careers in National Parks" to get Scholars excited about careers with the Parks. He has gone out of his way to support student career goals and this past summer worked with a DO-IT Intern funded by the National Parks.

Charity Ranger

DO-IT Student Staff
"For improving access and support on a postsecondary campus."

Charity was instrumental in the development of Disability Advocacy Student Alliance (DASA)-a student group facilitated for and by students. Their goal is to address the needs and concerns of the disability community and its allies on the University of Washington campus. They represent student interests while working with allied student groups, the UW administration, and the off-campus community. DASA regularly hosts meetings, events, advocacy projects, and web dialogue. Charity also has worked for DO-IT as a student staff member, a speaker at special events, and conference support staff.

Anna

DO-IT Ambassador and '93 Scholar
"For accomplishments in academics, martial arts, and fine arts."

Anna was one of DO-IT's first Scholars, joining the program in 1993, and was an intern in 1995. Anna always had a mischievous sense of humor and once described Summer Study to a new Scholar as "Disability Boot Camp." She received a NASA scholarship to attend the University of Washington and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in microbiology.

Anna lost her sight as a child after a bout with cancer, but she never let her blindness hold her back from anything she wanted to do. She earned a black belt in Aikido martial arts, had her own business as a Mary Kay consultant, and was an accomplished artist visualizing designs and colors in her mind's eye that she translated into vibrant pieces of art. Her work was displayed this August at the University of Washington during the 2004 Summer Study program.

As a DO-IT Ambassador and Mentor in person and online, Anna encouraged younger Scholars to set high goals and be creative in reaching them. Anna participated in DO-IT Success Panels, and she was featured in DO-IT videos (www.washington.edu/doit/Video). She was always a good sport and always up for a new challenge. Anna was also a DO-IT employee and "star" of DO-IT Show and Tell, a program in which she visited first-grade classes to talk about how she did things in alternative ways. She brought students their names in Braille and asked them to guess how she cooked, made sure her socks matched, and did artwork without sight.