Director's Digressions

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

All aboard the DO-IT train! This year DO-IT traveled across the United States to recruit the 1996 Scholars. They are a creative and talented bunch, excited to meet others with common interests, challenges, and goals.

Joining us from State College, Pennsylvania is Zachary. Being blind hasn't quelled his fascination with computer programming, design, and operation. Zachary thinks DO-IT will provide a great opportunity to meet and correspond with other computer aficionados.

Another East coaster, Daniel of Clinton, Connecticut, excels in math. Daniel, who has impaired motor and verbal functioning, is currently learning a scripting language called Cross Talk. He's also excited to meet other DO-IT "techies."

Seattle local David is particularly interested in chemistry and plans to pursue his interests in general medicine and become a doctor. David, who has ADD, would like to fly an airplane someday.

Also coming from the Northwest is Susana of Vashon Island, Washington. She loves science and nature, especially learning about the atom. Susana has a learning disability and looks forward to meeting people who can understand her perspective.

After attending space camp and venturing to Central America, Travis from Dorchester, Nebraska has become a world traveler. He currently plans to be a computer programmer and analyst. Travis is blind and knows all about the Internet because he wrote a report on its history and use!

Cheri is leaning towards the medical profession and joins us from Larchwood, Iowa. Cheri is paraplegic and has set the all-time Iowa record in the 400 meters race. She has worked with a group to write and construct a World Wide Web home page. She loves to travel and is excited and honored to meet other people her age with similar interests and goals in life.

At his home in Independence, Iowa, Joshua designed a backyard pool with a waterfall. He can reach the water from his wheelchair (he has spinal muscular atrophy), and the fish eat right out of his hand at feeding time! Joshua says he might study landscape design or horticulture in college.

David's true favorites are computer technologies and engineering. He lives in Elgin, Oregon, is a Mac technology consultant for his high school, and has created Web pages for an exhibit at the Oregon Museum in the Life Sciences Department. He has low vision and a health impairment, and one of his teachers told us David shows remarkable leadership skills.

Another Scholar joining us from Oregon is Luke, who attends La Grande High School. Luke, who has a hearing impairment, is particularly interested in the scientific study of the human body. Always finding a way to achieve his goals, Luke envisions himself as a successful doctor someday.

Chris, of Minot, Maryland, thinks science is pretty neat; he received third place in tower building at the Science Olympiad. Chris has a hearing impairment and is looking forward to sharing creative ideas for science and meeting other people with disabilities on the Internet.

Mike of Sabattus, Maine says he is driven to attend college. He has been a BBS administrator and help desk coordinator for his high school and is interested in a career in computer software programming or testing. Mike has a learning disability and a health impairment and has learned from his mom that "for every disability there can be a greater ability if someone wants to make one."

Maria is another Maine-iac. She's from Auburn, Maine and enjoys doing research to learn how things relate to one another. Being deaf, Maria is motivated to learn the latest developments in technology, and she wants to help deaf people. Currently she's interested in being a veterinarian or an oceanographer.

Also eager to experience the latest developments in technology is John from Rupert, Idaho. John has cerebral palsy and has always been interested in science--he especially likes learning about the human body and how it works.

Rebecca from San Marcos, California also has cerebral palsy and would like to try voice recognition software. An inventor, Rebecca is interested in the field of rehabilitation engineering. One of her recent inventions is an adaptation for her guitar!

Katrina of Salem, Oregon thinks biology is tops. Katrina is currently interested in being a pediatrician, veterinarian, or anatomical illustrator. Katrina has diabetes and knows sign language, and her life experiences have helped her understand special needs and what they can mean to a family.

Joining us from Lincoln, Nebraska is Kevin. He has always been fascinated with how science works and currently plans to major in astrophysics and make it his profession. Kevin is blind and is interested in how others with conditions similar to his own handle things.

Anh would like to attend M.I.T. and major in astronomy, architecture, or accounting. Anh lives in Sacramento, California and has Larsen syndrome. He is fascinated with the universe, planets, and stars and looks forward to meeting people who share similar interests.

Calling all math whizzes! James of Poquoson, Virginia would like to meet others who love math! Math (especially Algebra) is his favorite subject, and James enjoys the challenge of solving long equations. James has cerebral palsy and is looking forward to experiencing the trials and tribulations of college dorm life.

Dana was born into a computer family: His dad worked at Digital and his mom at IBM! Dana hails from Concord, Massachusetts and is interested in mechanical design/engineering and biology. Dana has dyslexia and ADD and wants to major in mechanical engineering or pre-med at Dartmouth.

"I want people to look beyond our disabilities and focus on our abilities," says Jodi of Filer, Idaho. Jodi has cerebral palsy and has always looked at her disability as a gift, not a curse. Jodi visits her local elementary school to give scientific demonstrations, and might want to become a physician. Jodi says, "Just because a person has a disability doesn't mean that he can't think for himself or make a difference in someone's life." We agree!

On behalf of the "old" Scholars, Ambassadors, Mentors, and staff, I would like to welcome these new Scholars to the DO-IT community!