UW News

July 26, 2004

Students with disabilities gather at UW to learn success strategies

Next week, more than 40 college-bound students with disabilities will gather at the University of Washington to explore challenging careers and strategies for success in the academic world as participants in the annual DO-IT Scholars Summer Study Program.

The DO-IT scholars — DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology — will engage in a variety of activities, including exploring cutting-edge virtual reality at the university’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory, studying space science and complex image processing and learning about Global Positioning System satellites.

And they will have an opportunity to talk with Marsha Ogilvie, a professor of forensic anthropology from the University of New Mexico and successful academic who also has a disability. The summer program begins Aug. 3.

“DO-IT scholars learn about college life by living in a dorm, getting along with a roommate, participating in academic classes, preparing for challenging careers and having fun,” said Sheryl Burgstahler, founder and director of DO-IT. “Year round, they communicate via the Internet with their new friends and are mentored by successful adults with disabilities. Year after year, they connect through DO-IT activities and are supported as they transition to college and careers. Many successful DO-IT scholars continue in the program as mentors to future participants.”

DO-IT targets high school sophomores and juniors with disabilities who are interested going to college and encourages participants to pursue challenging careers in math, science and engineering. Each year, about 20 new students enter the program and begin their experience with the summer study program. Once selected, participants are loaned computers, modems, software and adaptive devices to use in their homes as they learn to use technology as a tool for empowerment. The program continues during the school year with projects and Internet interaction with mentors, teachers and fellow students.

Initially funded by the National Science Foundation, DO-IT also receives support from the State of Washington and other private donors, including the Boeing Co., Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education.

DO-IT scholars and their hometowns are as follows:

  • Tracy Foss, Amanda Park
  • Jessica Williams-Hall, Bainbridge Island
  • Meghla Julin, Bellingham
  • Markenna Padgett, Bellingham
  • Scott Ferguson, Bothell
  • Theresa Nicholas, Camano
  • Norma Ordonez, Corsicana, Texas
  • Scotty Ayers Wrobel, Eastsound
  • Julie Johnston, Everett
  • Vanessa Lombard, Goldendale
  • Matthew Pedersen, Kenmore
  • Amanda George, Kennewick
  • Rima Saha, Kent
  • Jamie Giesler, Kirkland
  • Conrad Reynoldson, Kirkland
  • Katherine Ross, Kirkland
  • Joshua Allen Penn, La Push
  • Angela Wilson, Lynnwood
  • Laura Bersos, Mercer Island
  • Blanca Vazquez, Mesa
  • Michael Thompson, Mill Creek
  • Garrett Swanburg, Monroe
  • Patrick Baldwin, Naches
  • Carson Smith, Olympia
  • Andrew Schafer, Pasco
  • Jamie VanderVeen, Quincy
  • Justin Fleming, Redmond
  • Crystal Ann Bear, Rice
  • Andrew Barringer, Sammamish
  • Jesse Shaver, Seattle
  • Tressa Reed, Seattle
  • Annemarie Louise Poginy, Seattle
  • Senait Tilahun, Seattle
  • Corey Torgerson, Seattle
  • Saroj Daisy, Seattle
  • Lacey Reed, Seattle
  • Vishal Saraiya, Seattle
  • Carrie Duffy, Shoreline
  • Shaun Hegney, Spokane
  • Lukas Bratcher, Spokane
  • Zachary Furney, Stanwood
  • Ashley Salvati, Sunrise, Fla.
  • Skylor Lee, Tacoma
  • Russell Taylor, Tacoma
  • Gimmie Dexter, Vancouver
  • Kathleen Ann Denlinger, Vancouver
  • Natasha Wentz, Wapato
  • Joshua Niklason, Woodinville
  • Alex Motteler, Woodinville


For more information about photo opportunities, program visits and interviews with students, contact Scott Bellman at (206) 685-6222 or swb3@u.washington.edu. More information about the DO-IT program is available on the Web at http://www.washington.edu/doit/