DO-IT Scholars 2011

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[Sheryl:] Hi, I'm Sheryl Burgstahler, director of the DO-IT programs at the University of Washington in Seattle. we prepare high school students with disabilities for college and careers.
[Brianna:] By the time that you walk out of here you're going to have pretty much anything that you need for college.
[Ali:] That gave me some, you know, belief or strength that I can do things.
[Jessica:] I'm loving every minute of it. It's really great. The people here are so nice; you can relate to them; it's been a wonderful experience.
[Matt:] DO-IT's helping me get to the level I need to be.
[Instructor:] After that, then you can take biology.
[Sheryl:] DO-IT encourages students to prepare for college and for challenging career fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
[Marco:] Math is my forte, it's what I'm best in, but I am interested in all science. I like knowing how things work.
[Tetzaro:] I'm currently planning to become an industrial designer and I'm also interested in writing and art.
[Susanna:] Probably computer science, software, maybe software engineering. Maybe I'll help Microsoft make software or something; build it, design it, you know.
[Sheryl:] There are three phases in the DO-IT Scholars program.
[Instructor:] You should be able to select electronic portfolios the DO-IT Scholars?
[Sheryl:] In Phase One, students learn to use computers for educational enrichment and enhanced communication.
[Nejowa:] I learned a lot of computer skills that have helped me in many ways like researching for my senior project and all that kinds of stuff.
[Sheryl:] DO-IT provides the computers, including assistive technology, for all students in the Scholars program.
[Norma:] I am so excited. I'll be able to use it for school, I'll be able to use it at home, you know, I'll be able to e-mail people, I'll be able to use it in high school. I mean, there are so many options, it's great.
[Intern:] Here you go.
[Sheryl:] During Summer Study, Phase One Scholars spend two weeks living in the dorms at the University of Washington.
[Kayla:] In the Scholars program you're definitely kind of taught how to be independent, and that was the first time I really experienced it.
[Val:] Here's your folder and your nametag. Inside your folder is your schedule and all that.
[Sheryl:] Summer Study offers classes, labs, field trips, dances, and just hanging out with new friends.
[Sara:] DO-IT Scholars are definitely teenagers first and students with disabilities second. There's all the social interaction that's usual, there's the interest, there's the energy level, there's just the excitement of being a teenager.
[Michael:] I think you hit -enter- to get it to pop up.
[Sheryl:] In Phase Two, Scholars begin practicing leadership skills by acting as peer mentors for new Scholars. This is done on the Internet throughout the year, and in person during the Summer Study. They also work on individual projects.
[Cynthia:] I want to learn the web page so bad, and right now they get me into this workshop, and I learn how to do a web page, and like how to write a newsletter article and all those. It's really good.
[Sheryl:] Summer Study during the second year is one week of living on campus.
[Rima:] My name is Rima Saha, and I'm a Phase Two Scholar, and I was involved in the Web accessibility workshop this week.
[Sheryl:] Phase Two Scholars work in groups to design and complete projects and then deliver presentations to a large audience of peers and parents.
[Sheryl:] In Phase Three, Scholars contribute to the DO-IT community by developing programs, writing newsletter articles, and assisting as interns in the Summer Study.
[Scott:] In early spring, the Scholars are invited to do their internship. And to apply, they have to send a current resume and fill out an application, which includes several essay questions about why they would like to be an Intern and what they have to offer to the program, and things of that nature.
[Michael:] I really liked the fact that DO-IT opened up that new opportunity for me, so it's a real positive building experience.
[Sheryl:] When Scholars have graduated from high school and completed Phases One, Two, and Three, they can become DO-IT Ambassadors. Ambassadors help with the program, participate in e-mail groups, and, most importantly, mentor younger Scholars.
[Annemarie:] I've really enjoyed coming back as an older ambassador to mentor the younger kids. I feel that I have the experience, and I really appreciate the environment and the opportunity to share that.
[Lucas:] I'm able to help and be able to give back, and just help out the staff of what they've been doing for me for the last couple of years. And it feels, makes me feel better, you know, that I can give back to a program that's done so much for me.
[Sheryl:] Washington State high school students who have disabilities and hope to go to college are encouraged to apply for the DO-IT Scholars Program.
[Sara:] The students who attend end up being a real combination from different geographical parts of the state, you know, rural versus urban. Some are in special ed, others are pretty much mainstreamed and they have a couple of classes in a resource room; and also just students with different backgrounds in terms of their family support. Some of them have had a great deal of support all the way through school, others, this is a real change and maybe the first time that they're learning about what the possibilities are.
[Sheryl:] We encourage students to apply in January of their sophomore year in high school. That's when DO-IT's Advisory Board begins reviewing applications and selecting Scholars. Sophomores are given first priority, then juniors.
[Sheryl:] It's best when students start Phase One in the spring of their sophomore year. Then, when they move on to Phase Two as juniors, we can help them with their college applications.
[Tressa:] Hey!
[Doug:] Hi, Tressa. How are you?
[Tressa:] I'm excited.
[Sheryl:] When Scholars join the program, the loan of a computer is a part of the package. Scholars use the computers at Summer Study, to participate in DO-IT throughout the year, and to succeed with school work.
[Sheryl:] Our technology specialist works with each Scholar individually before camp starts, delivering computers to homes and setting up connections. DO-IT provides both hardware and software for each student's particular needs.
[Sheryl:] Once Scholars receive their computers, an e-mail message goes out from DO-IT to Mentors, Scholars, and Ambassadors, asking them to welcome the new student.
[Doug:] So as soon as their computer is set up at home and they log on, suddenly all these e-mails will show up welcoming them to the larger DO-IT community.
[Sheryl:] Throughout the year, DO-IT staff is available to answer computer questions.
[Doug:] If there's a hardware failure, we have on-site tech support, can just show up to their home, fix the hardware issue. If it's a software issue, they've done something wrong and messed up the system, they usually call me. And if there's something we can work out over the phone, I can talk them through, they can fix. Otherwise, there's times where I'll visit them in person and fix those issues.
[Instructor:] Ooh, we've got a double bypass in progress here, huh?
[Alexandra:] My first year of DO-IT, my favorite thing was definitely the sheep hearts. I read it on the schedule when I first got there and I was so excited. I'm like, "sheep heart! And so, and it was neat, too, because like it wasn't like "just chop up this dead sheep heart." It was well, if you make your incision here and stick the tubes in here, wow, you just did like a bypass type thing that they do in this situation. It was like "wow, that's neat," you know!
[Instructor:] Today, we're going to use solar ovens to cook hotdogs.
[Sheryl:] Over the years, we've offered solar cooking classes, sheep heart labs, astronomy classes, computer workshops, and trips to the seismology lab.
[Instructor:] Particularly in the summertime at St. Helens, it dries out a lot. It's quite dangerous inside the crater at St. Helens?
[Annemarie:] I think I had most fun at, like, the zoo, when you're allowed to go explore, kind of in small groups, or on the scavenger hunt, when you're wandering around campus and you get to kind of - be a little more independent.
[Sheryl:] Part of the college experience is living in a dorm, eating in the cafeteria, and making new friends. During the DO-IT summer program, we provide that experience - with a lot of consideration given to safety and comfort.
[Yomara:] I was really nervous because I'm an only child, and accommodations are really hard when you have a physical disability - more for like the living lifestyle than the actual education. So that was really stressful, but I managed to do it; and that's why I think DO-IT is such a great program, because they provide all that for you.
[Sheryl:] Campers eat in the dorm dining room for breakfast and dinner, and in other campus restaurants for lunch. If a student needs a specific diet for health reasons or because chewing is difficult, we'll arrange for that. We'll teach the student how to make that request in a college cafeteria.
[Sheryl:] Both on campus and for field trips, we have to consider moving students from place to place.
[Sheryl:] Students who are blind may also have concerns about getting around campus, and we often pair them with other Scholars or Interns. For field trips to Microsoft, the Pacific Science Center, and other locations, we rent accessible buses.
[Sheryl:] Can anyone remember which discussion list, which distribution list is the one where most of the discussions occur?
[Sheryl:] During Summer Study, we are constantly communicating with Scholars.
[Sheryl:] Every one of you is going to send out a question to the DO-IT chat list.
[Sheryl:] Periodically, I help Scholars connect what they've just learned with earlier lessons. We also discuss how these activities apply to college, careers, and life. And we talk about how Scholars can keep building knowledge and relationships by communicating with peers and mentors in DO-IT's year-round Internet community.
[Chris:] DO-IT is more than just summer study in that it continues throughout the year, that there's kind of a disability community that's formed through the program. So if you have any problems or different questions, there's always somebody you can go to, to ask.
[Sheryl:] What we're going to do this morning is an Internet scavenger hunt.
[Scholar:] Judge.
[Sheryl:] The payoff for all our planning is two intense weeks of fun and learning.
[Conrad:] We went to the zoo, and Pacific Science Center, and Microsoft.
[Tressa:] You make so many friends here, and they can be lifetime friends.
[Jamie G.:] The dance was also a wonderful thing.
[Instructor:] This magnet seems to be attracted, because the light is going down?
[Natasha:] The classes that really made me involved were science, and the labs, and including the computers.
[Andrew:] Ewww.
[Jessie:] I really enjoyed the sheep heart lab that we did.
[Instructor:] I want you to touch this. Touch this one.
[Andrew:] Probably the bioengineering one, that was pretty interesting; I'd never really thought about engineering and stuff like that, but that really tweaked my interest.
[Instructor:] Try stopping again, Jessie, so you can - oops [laughs]
[Sheryl:] When camp is over, Scholars take home more than a computer.
[Sara:] The biggest lesson that we hope they walk away with is the ability to be more self-reliant, to be able to speak up for yourself and know what you need and what you don't need.
[Shavonne:] I'm, like, more comfortable about my disability and being around others, now, than I was before. And aware of certain things I need and not afraid to ask for help when I need it.
[Carson:] Well, the technology they've given me has allowed me to do everything totally independently, and I guess that's been the biggest help, and also just the network of people. You get to meet a lot of very diverse people, and form relationships with them that can last a long time.
[Eileen:] You see these tight bonds forming, and everyone's helping everyone else and learning to be advocates for themselves and get what they need. It's been a remarkable process to watch.
[Sheryl:] So congratulations to the Phase One Scholars, you are now Phase Two Scholars. Let's give them a round of applause.
[Sheryl:] As they leave camp, Scholars are beginning a long-term connection with DO-IT.
[Sheryl:] Carson, have you met Tynesha?
[Sheryl:] DO-IT stays connected with Scholars and parents in various ways throughout the year. Mostly, it's within our online community of mentors and peers. Sometimes it's a videoconference pizza party.
[Scholar:] I see Travis.
[Sheryl:] And each year in Summer Study, mentors, Scholars, and staff get together in person for food and fun.
[Trenchcoats singing:] Yes, it's gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright sunshiny day yeah!
[Computer voice:] DO-IT Pals, an electronic community of students with disabilities.
[Sheryl:] Through Internet discussion lists, students keep in touch with each other and with adult mentors.
[Zachary:] My mentor was really encouraging and made sure that I knew I had the capability to do whatever I wanted to do.
[Karyn:] Making friends is really big. I mean, I have friends from all over, you know, and e-mailing them and keeping in touch with them, that's great. I like that a lot.
[Sheryl:] Those ongoing connections are part of what makes DO-IT so powerful.
[Alexandra:] They are always there when you need something. And I think that that widespread feeling among all the scholars is kind of what gives the program such a -- it's what gives the program so much power. Because the kids want to come back and make it spectacular, too. And well, but the staff is, they put a lot of work into it.
[Rima:] The DO-IT program is all about being connected to people and staying as a family forever.
[Sheryl:] At DO-IT, we know we're making a difference. We can see it as the Scholars go on to college and careers. We measure our success by their choices and achievements.
[Sheryl:] As a group, people with disabilities don't find the same career success as their peers without disabilities. And yet, today's high tech careers offer great opportunities. Assistive technology provides access to computers and scientific equipment, and some employers are learning that a small investment in accessibility can pay off in attracting great workers. DO-IT helps students visualize a successful future and take the steps to get there. In the DO-IT Scholars program, we achieve that goal by combining computer and Internet access, multiple Summer Study programs, year-round mentor and peer support, and work experience.
[Mak:] This will make such a big difference in my high school career and including my college career. So, thank you, DO-IT.
00:00:24,046 --> 00:00:25,476 [Sheryl:] Through our DO-IT Scholars program, 00:13:28,526 --> 00:13:34,216 [Trenchcoats singing:] I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.