Access to Informal Science Learning (AccessISL) Brochure

Access to Informal Science Learning (AccessISL) supports efforts to develop a capacity building model for making informal science learning opportunities more welcoming and accessible to everyone, especially individuals with disabilities.

Providing access to informal STEM learning for participants with disabilities by making opportunities more welcoming and inclusive.

Engagement of Informal Science Learning (ISL) Programs and Academic Departments

 ISL programs and academic departments nationwide can participate in training, consultation, community building, and activity and resource development.

  • Online Community of Practice
    Staff and administrators of informal science education programs, educators, students, individuals with disabilities, and other stakeholders discuss strategies and share resources for promoting accessible and inclusive ISL.
  • Capacity Building Institute (CBI)
    A program-funded CBI includes information sessions, panel presentations, and group discussions to explore issues and further identify systemic changes to make ISL programs more welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Consultation
    Stakeholders can consult with AccessISL staff regarding the creation of accessible curricula, websites, exhibits, events, and products in ISL programs and academic departments.

Engagement of Students

  • AccessISL Activities
    Students from the University of Washington (UW) and the UW Museology Program, some with disabilities, learn about and advocate for accessible ISL and the inclusion of disability-related topics within academic programs.
  • Online Mentoring and Peer Support
    Students with disabilities engage in an online: electronic community of peers and mentors to further explore accessibility in science and ISL


  • Searchable Knowledge Base of questions and answers, case studies, and promising practices
  • Guidelines for making ISL programs, activities, facilities, documents, and departments welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities
  • Proceedings of capacity building institutes exploring issues related to disability, ISL programs, academic departments, and education

Impact of Our Work

AccessISL offers engagement that will empower STEM students with disabilities and museology students and bring together three groups of professionals—those who offer ISL programs, those who train future ISL professionals, and those who specialize in access issues for individuals with disabilities—to work toward a worthy goal: More inclusive ISL programs in our communities.

Project outcomes benefit society by making STEM opportunities available to more citizens and enhancing STEM fields with the talents and perspectives of people with disabilities.

AccessISL Partners

Two units at the UW in Seattle lead AccessISL—the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) Center and the Department of Museology. They partner with the UW Burke Museum, the Pacific Science Center, and other local programs. ISL programs in the greater Seattle area are encouraged to join project activities as partners or collaborators.

Learn more about our community online.

Informal science education (ISE) is lifelong learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that takes place outside of the traditional classroom.

AccessISL Leaders

PI: Sheryl Burgstahler, Director of the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, Technology (DO-IT) Center
Co-PI: Meena Selvakumar, Museology Department
Project Director: Scott Bellman, Program Manager, the DO-IT Center
University of Washington


AccessISL is funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant number DRL-1906147) at the University of Washington. The content of this brochure does not necessarily represent the policies of the NSF, and you should not assume their endorsement.