The AccessSTEM Team is a community of high school and college students with disabilities, along with support staff and mentors, who engage in experiences that enhance their college and career success, particularly in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students who become part of the AccessSTEM Team participate in an online community of peers and professionals and in paid internships and other work experiences, research opportunities, and other activities as they transition to and succeed in college, graduate school, and employment.
High school or college students with disabilities are eligible to be AccessSTEM Team members. Priority is given to students who demonstrate an interest and aptitude in pursuing professional careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields. AccessSTEM Team members must have an email account and access to the Internet.
Students interested in participating in the program are asked to complete a two-page AccessSTEM Team Application form, which must include a parent or guardian signature if a student is under eighteen years of age. In addition, applicants must submit the following:
- a one-page essay explaining why they are interested in participating in an AccessSTEM internship and mentoring and how participation will help them reach their career goals;
- one letter of recommendation from a teacher, a faculty member, or someone who has worked with them closely; and
- an up-to-date copy of their résumé.
Adults with disabilities who work in STEM fields are encouraged to apply to be mentors in the program. Mentors should be interested in encouraging the success of students with disabilities in college and careers and be able to offer insights in these areas of study and practice. AccessSTEM mentoring takes place via an online discussion list. Individuals interested can apply to become an AccessSTEM Mentor by filling out the DO-IT Mentor Application form.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, DO-IT's Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM, Research in Disabilities Education award #HRD-0227995 and HRD-0833504) serves to increase the number of people with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers by encouraging and supporting students with disabilities who show interest and aptitude in these fields.