DO-IT to Lead $4 Million Northwest Alliance!

December 1, 2002

On December 1, 2002, the University of Washington's (UW) award-winning DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) program began its work as the lead agency in the Northwest Alliance for Access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The purpose of this Alliance is to increase the participation of people with disabilities in STEM careers. It is funded by a five year $4,000,000 cooperative agreement from the National Science Foundation (#HRD-0227995).

Primary project efforts are focused in the Northwest region - in the states of Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon - and outreach and dissemination efforts extend nationwide. The collaboration includes regional site teams at the two largest STEM research institutions in the State of Washington, the University of Washington and Washington State University (WSU), who will collaborate with K-12 and postsecondary schools, employers, and leading STEM research institutions in neighboring states - the University of Idaho, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and the University of Alaska in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The project partners with ENTRY POINT! to place STEM postsecondary students with disabilities in paid internships. It collaborates with MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) adapting for students with disabilities the hands-on science activities and teacher training strategies it uses with racial/ethnic minority and female students.

The Alliance builds on established collaborations and brings together practices that have proven successful individually, to create a unique, comprehensive set of interventions. Objectives and examples of interventions include:

  1. The Alliance will increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing STEM academic programs and careers. Interventions: Motivational college/career transition and STEM fairs for precollege students and STEM academic/career activities for college students that identify participants for the AccessSTEM Team in objective 2 interventions.

  2. The Alliance will provide on-going support and encourage high school and college students with disabilities who show interest and aptitude in STEM with peer and mentor interaction, work experiences, and other activities as they transition to college, graduate school, and employment.

    Interventions: Students join the AccessSTEM Team to engage in an on-line community, mentoring, fields trips, research, paid internships, and other activities to assure their success in STEM careers and promote the success of others.

  3. The Alliance will provide precollege educators and staff with strategies, tools and support to create more inclusive programs for students with disabilities, where they are encouraged to pursue STEM studies and careers.

    Interventions: Training and curriculum materials through established networks of MESA, Educational Services Districts, teacher training programs, and professional organizations; provide educators with opportunities to work with students who have disabilities.

  4. The Alliance will help STEM postsecondary faculty, support staff, counselors, and employers fully include students with disabilities in their courses and programs and create accessible facilities and electronic resources.

    Interventions: Opportunities for faculty to receive training and work with students with disabilities in research; assistance in making facilities, equipment, distance learning, and Web pages accessible.

Each intervention is associated with measurables that provide evidence of effectiveness. The National Center on Postsecondary Educational Supports (NCSPES) will evaluate project outcomes and impacts, conduct research on factors that promote success for students with disabilities, describe replication models, and help disseminate results.

Additional information is available on the Alliance web site: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Programs/nwalliance.html