Laboratory Urges Students to Just DO-IT

This article is reprinted with permission from the April 29, 1994 issue of Greenie, Battelle's newsletter.

On April 8, 20 students participating in the Disabilities Opportunities Internetworking Technology (DO-IT) Program spent the day visiting with scientists at the Laboratory.

The students were introduced to a wide range of research including robotics, materials science, fisheries biology, cloud chamber and laser applications and chemical engineering.

James Alzheimer, Carl Baker, Michael Chieda and Carol McDonald, Automation and Measurement Sciences Department: Ross Gordon, Materials Sciences Department; Gregg Martenson and Jim Young, Earth and Environmental Sciences Center; and Max Phelps, Chemical Technology Department, hosted tours for the students.

"The scientists did a great job, and the students were really inspired and enlightened by their visit," comments Royace Aikin, Science Education Center.

The program recruits high school students with disabilities who have an interest in science, mathematics and engineering. The program helps students gain the prerequisite knowledge to enter careers in science, mathematics and engineering.

Established in 1993, the program includes a two-week summer camp at the University of Washington where students study through lectures, laboratory exercises, computer applications, electronic mail and Internet resource exploration. DO-IT is sponsored by the U of W and funded by the National Science Foundation.

"Electronic communications between the students and their mentors is an important part of the program," Royace explains. These mentors are college professors, students and participating scientists and engineers from around the world, most of whom have disabilities themselves.

Frank Cuta, Automation and Measurement Sciences Department, serves as a DO-IT mentor. Frank also was a guest speaker during the session last summer, and he chairs the Laboratory's Staff Diversity Enhancement Program's disabilities committee.

"The students communicate from home using computers, adaptive technology, modems, software and Internet network connections. Participating students who do not have the technology receive the equipment on loan while they're in the program," Royace adds. Information Systems and Services connected local DO-IT participants to Internet through the Laboratory.

Throughout the year, disabled students, mentors, teachers and service-providers participate in science-related activities hosted by the U of W, corporations and other organizations.

The program also includes disability awareness and adaptive technology presentations to post-secondary faculty and staff, high school teachers and administrators and corporations.

The Laboratory's participation in DO-IT is jointly sponsored by the Science Education Center, the SDEP disabilities committee and IS&S.

Other staff members involved in the program include Barb Fecht, Technology Systems Analysis Department; Irene Hays and Karen Wieda, Science Education Center; and Jerry Johnson and Jeff Nye, IS&S.