Local High Schooler Participated in Summer '95 DO-IT Program at the University of Washington

The following article appeared in the September 6, 1995 issue of the Idaho World. Reprinted with permission.

Garden Valley -- Jorja Jankowski of Garden Valley, participated in a national award-winning program at the University of Washington this month designed to encourage high school students with disabilities to pursue careers in science, engineering, mathematics or technology.

The UW's DO-IT, or Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology Program, now in its third year, is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

Jankowski, a high school senior, was among 19 first-time DO-IT participants who were on campus for the full 13-day summer residential program, starting August 6th. For at least a week of this period, they were joined by 18 other students who returned to the UW campus for a second year of participation in DO-IT.

All 37 students came from Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington.

The DO-IT program captured first place on July 12 in the educational category of the first annual National Information Infrastructure Champions of Cyberspace awards program. The program focuses on high school students with disabilities who are interested in science, engineering, mathematics or technology. It has two main components:

  • Each summer, participants spend nearly two weeks on campus learning about what makes careers in these fields exciting. They also learn how new computer and other technologies are making it easier for the disabled to attend college and live normal lives. Participants also interact with students and faculty with disabilities who already have faced many of the challenges they are encountering. Meals and housing are provided, as are sign language interpreters and any other accommodations needed to facilitate a successful academic experience. 
  • Then, year-round, DO-IT students use home computers and electronic mail to link up with each other and others around the world -- including mentors who hurdled similar obstacles before succeeding in their respective fields. Program mentors include a lecturer in computer science at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, for instance, who is hearing impaired.

If a student doesn't own a computer, he or she can borrow one from DO-IT, along with a modem and any other adaptive equipment and software.

The DO-IT program is an undertaking of the UW College of Engineering and the UW Office of Computing & Communications. Its director is Sheryl Burgstahler.

The program's electronic mail address is doit@u.washington.edu; telephone (206) 685-DOIT.