DO-IT News -- June 1993

Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology


Volume 1, Number 1

CONTENTS

This newsletter, a publication of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) project at the University of Washington, contains the following articles:


DIRECTOR'S DIGRESSIONS

DO-IT News is a newsletter designed to inform educators, parents, participants and professionals of current DO-IT activities. DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) is a project primarily funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by the University of Washington College of Engineering. Dr. J. Ray Bowen, Dean of the College of Engineering, is the Principal Investigator of this National Science Foundation-funded project. The purpose of DO-IT is to recruit disabled students into science, mathematics and engineering academic programs. The project includes:

Summer Program
High school students with disabilities live on the UW campus for two weeks and spend their days exploring the Internet, mapping earthquakes, studying mathematics, building estuarine models, producing a newsletter and growing crystals.

Mentoring Program
College students, professionals and university faculty members work to inspire and facilitate academic and career achievement from disabled high school students. Most communication is established through electronic mail.

Information Dissemination
Materials designed to recruit and retain disabled students into science, mathematics and engineering are being created and distributed.

Disability Awareness
Presentations for educators increase the awareness of some of the barriers faced by students with disabilities. Practical and creative solutions are an integral part of the sessions.

DO-IT efforts will help increase the number of individuals with disabilities who successfully pursue academic studies and careers in sciences, engineering and mathematics. We welcome your comments, suggestions and support.

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph. D.
DO-IT Director
Computing & Communications
University of Washington


CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH STEPHEN HAWKING

Dr. Stephen Hawking, Cambridge Professor and author of A Brief History of Time, will meet with students enrolled in the DO-IT summer program and other disabled students during a special private session at 1:30, July 1st at Seattle University. This meeting allows students with disabilities to talk to a brilliant mathematician who is also disabled.

Dr. Hawking, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, lectures with the help of a Toshiba 1200XE computer which is attached to his wheelchair. The system is connected to a speech synthesizer that translates his typewritten words into speech. The author will be in Seattle for a public lecture at the Opera House at 8 p.m. the same evening. Tickets are sold out.

We thank the Institute of Science, Engineering and Public Policy for providing complimentary tickets for DO-IT participants.


DO-IT MENTORS CONNECT WITH STUDENTS

Do you remember the science teacher who made chemistry come alive or the neighbor across the street who identified all the types of birds living in your yard? People with experiences to share make great mentors and the DO-IT project has lassoed some of the best.

About thirty people have volunteered to be mentors to the nineteen high school students enrolled in the DO-IT 1993 summer program. Most of these volunteers are engineers, scientists or post-secondary students with disabilities. They use computer resources such as electronic mail to develop relationships with the students.

Mentors who have signed up for the program represent a variety of fields. Volunteers include: Frank Cuta, a research engineer at Battelle Pacific Laboratories in Richland, Washington; Gregory Fowler, a software engineer working at Cisco Systems Inc. in Menlo Park, California; Ed Pottharst, a biologist for Seattle City Light; Rod Chard, a network engineer at U.S. West; and Todd Heywood a computer scientist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Several Mentors are students themselves including: Karl Booksh, a chemistry student at the University of Washington; Teddy Chen, an engineering/law student at Stanford University in California; and Kevin Berg, a computer science student at Seattle Pacific University.


TEENAGERS TACKLE TOUGH TOPICS

Recruiting and retaining disabled students into science, mathematics and engineering programs have been difficult, but the University of Washington, through the DO-IT program, is tackling this problem.

Nineteen high school students with disabilities including blindness, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, learning disability, low vision, health impairment and attention deficit disorder are enrolled in a summer program designed to encourage and hone their interests in these fields.

The students, who come from Washington and Oregon, will live on the UW campus for two weeks this August spending their days participating in science labs, engineering demonstrations and computer exercises. They will learn to navigate the Internet, recycle plastics, grow crystals and create an electronic journal. Experts in their fields will present the lectures, design the demonstrations, facilitate the labs and adapt their programs to suit the audience's special needs.

Although the schedule is challenging, there is still time for fun. Evening and weekend programs include a barbecue, a treasure hunt, a tour of the Pacific Science Center, a trip to downtown Seattle and movie or video nights in the dorms.


HELP DO-IT

The purpose of DO-IT News is to inform and entertain our readers, and we anticipate that this newsletter will grow and change to suit your needs. In order to serve you better, we request your input.

We are particularly interested in science and disability related Internet resources and science programs, competitions and activities open to high school students. We encourage you to send in article ideas and other tidbits of information to one of the DO-IT addresses listed below.

TO REQUEST MORE INFORMATION ON DO-IT NEWS

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9255803. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.