AccessComputing’s inaugural Capacity Building Awards were awarded to Stephanie Ludi of the Rochester Institute of Technology and Daniela Marghitu of Auburn University. The Capacity Building Award recognizes collaborators who have forged pathways that significantly advance students with disabilities in computing fields. Through their work and accomplishments, award recipients change the way the world views people with disabilities and their potential to succeed in challenging computing careers and activities.

Stephanie Ludi is an associate professor in the Software Engineering Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She received the Capacity Building Award for her work engaging students with visual impairments in computing and robotics activities. In 2010, with funds from an AccessComputing minigrant, Stephanie provided a long-term opportunity for 10 high school students with disabilities learn robotics and prepare for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge robotics competition. The goal of the program was to increase technical skills, as well as develop skills in problem solving and teamwork.  

Daniela Marghitu is a professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Auburn University. She received the Capacity Building Award for her work including students with disabilities in computing camps. Since 2009, Daniela has received multiple AccessComputing minigrants to include students with disabilities in already existing computing outreach programs. These efforts have facilitated success in computing for children with disabilities and educated the computing university students in how to work with diverse populations of students.