UW News

November 15, 2002

National program expands to educate campus leaders and encourage students with disabilities to enter science-oriented careers

A national UW-led program that teaches students with disabilities to use technology as a prominent ingredient in their recipes for success is celebrating a landmark birthday with new programs to reach out to university administrators and encourage students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

The Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology program has received $5 million in federal funding for two separate initiatives: one involves teaching university administrators across the country how to better include students with disabilities in their programs, while the other gives DO-IT the reins of a Pacific Northwest coalition established to encourage such students to enter careers in the sciences.

Both grants come as DO-IT celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“These grants definitely made a nice birthday present for us,” said Sheryl Burgstahler, director of the DO-IT program. “They will help us continue our momentum into our second decade.”

The coalition, the Northwest Alliance for Access to Science, Technology and Mathematics, seeks to increase the number of disabled students who choose to enter careers in the science, engineering and math arena. DO-IT will lead the group and work with other organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s ENTRY POINT!, in placing participants in paid internships. In addition, DO-IT will collaborate with the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program (MESA) in conducting teacher training to adapt hands-on science activities for students with disabilities. The alliance will also nurture participants with field trips, mentoring, work experiences and involvement in an on-line community.

The National Science Foundation is funding the alliance with a $4 million grant over five years, beginning in December.

The second new project, DO-IT Admin, is patterned after a successful earlier effort, DO-IT Prof, which developed videos, handouts, and training materials for teaching college faculty how to more effectively work with students with disabilities. That program then distributed the materials nationwide via the Web and a network of 23 institutions, each of which in turn worked with a partner institution in its home state.

DO-IT Admin will create similar products, but gear them toward offices of admissions, libraries, tutoring and career centers and general student services on the nation’s campuses. The project is funded for three years by a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.


For more information, contact Burgstahler at (206) 543-0622 or sherylb@u.washington.edu.