Additional Data from DO-IT Participants

A rich body of evaluation and research data have been collected on the DO-IT Scholars program, which was originally funded by NSF and is now supported for Washington residents with Washington state funds. DO-IT Scholars participate in a comprehensive set of interventions that include a summer residential program on the UW campus, college/career preparation workshops, internships and other work-based learning activities, and mentoring. Results particularly relevant for selecting evidence-based practices for DO-IT projects include the following. 


Parents of DO-IT Scholars reported that DO-IT interventions of college preparation activities, e-mentoring, internships, and other work-based learning experiences enhanced their children's lives, in descending order of average rating:

  • interest in college
  • awareness of career options
  • self-esteem
  • self-advocacy, social, academic, and career/employment skills

As summarized by one parent, "My son has benefited greatly from the DO-IT networking allowed [participants] to continue to support each other through the year... He came home talking about his college plan with confidence that he could manage them. DO-IT has also helped my son get a part-time job during his first year of college...he has achieved a level of independence we never thought possible."

Reference: Burgstahler, S. (2002). The value of DO-IT to kids who did it! Exceptional Parent, 32(11), 79-86.


When DO-IT participants were surveyed to retrospectively assess the long-term impact of program engagement, they reported positive changes (in descending order by level of change) in their level of preparation for college, internet skills, preparation for employment, self-advocacy skills, computer skills, independence, perceived career options, social skills, self-esteem, and perseverance. One reflected that participation in DO-IT "helped me to understand more about myself and the people in the real world. I have learned how to adapt to society without thinking that I am disabled, that I am useless." Another said, "I'm less shy now that I know there are more people out there that are just like me!"

Reference: Kim-Rupnow, W. S., & Burgstahler, S. (2004). Perceptions of students with disabilities regarding the value of technology-based support activities on postsecondary education and employment. Journal of Special Education Technology, 19(2), 43-56.

Case Studies

Four case studies of DO-IT Scholars highlighted DO-IT practices that promote success.

References: Burgstahler, S., & Orvis, M. (1995). Transition to college: Preliminary findings of four case studies.
In E. Makas, H. Beth, & D. Tanis (1995). Accessing the Issues: Current Research in Disability Studies (pp. 297-301). Lewiston, ME: Society for Disability Studies.

Comparison of Perceived Benefits

When comparing the perceived benefits of program participation of participants with interests/strengths and/or career goals in STEM (the STEM group) and those without (the non-STEM group), it was found that there was a higher percentage of students in the non-STEM group who majored in STEM fields (26%) as compared to the percentage of those in the STEM group who majored in non-STEM fields (13%), suggesting the program interventions for students not initially interested in STEM hold promise for recruiting these students into STEM majors. Both groups experienced significant improvements in self-advocacy skills. Access to assistive technology and to engagement and information and resources on the Internet received significantly higher ratings from the STEM group than from the non-STEM group.

Reference: Burgstahler, S., & Chang, C. (2009). Promising interventions for promoting STEM fields to students who have disabilities. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 21(3), 151-174.