Research Experiences, Internships, and Other-Work-based Learning

Positive perceived value of internships and other work-based learning in earlier DO-IT projects include the following:

  • Students who participated in internships and other work-based learning opportunities reported increased motivation to work toward a career, knowledge about careers and the workplace, job-related skills, ability to work with supervisors and coworkers, and skills in self-advocating for accommodations, however specific outcomes are different for high school and college students.


    Burgstahler, S., Bellman, S., & Lopez, S. (2004). Research to practice: DO-IT prepares students with disabilities for employment. NACE Journal, 65(1).

    Burgstahler, S., & Bellman, S. (2005). Perceived benefits of work-based learning: Differences between high school and postsecondary students with disabilities. The Asia-Pacific Journal of Inclusive Education, 2(1), 1-20.

  • In the first AccessSTEM project, 256 high school and 253 college students with disabilities participated in work-based learning experiences with a focus on STEM fields (similar to those offered in AccessSTEM2). Survey respondents reported increased STEM interest and enhanced self-determination and employment skills.


    DO-IT. (2008). AccessSTEM final report to NSF.

  • The range of career options perceived by both genders increased significantly during the course of involvement in DO-IT interventions. Female participant perceptions of career options changed even more than those of males.


    Burgstahler, S., & Chang, C. (2007). Gender differences in perceived value of components of a program to promote academic and career success for students with disabilities. Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities, 12(1).