DO-IT to Lead Alliance for the National Science Foundation

$4,000,000 from the National Science Foundation funds the Alliance for Access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for five years, beginning December 1, 2002. The purpose of this Alliance is to increase the successful participation of people with disabilities in STEM careers. Project activities are focused in the Northwest region (Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon) and outreach and dissemination efforts extend nationwide.

The UW partners with Washington State University in this effort and DO-IT leads the Alliance. DO-IT also partners with ENTRY POINT of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to place STEM postsecondary students with disabilities in paid internships and it collaborates with MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) to adapt hands-on science activities and teacher training strategies for students with disabilities. The Alliance brings together practices that have proven successful individually, to create a unique, comprehensive set of interventions. They include:

  • Hosting motivational college/career transition and STEM fairs for pre-college students and STEM academic/career activities for college students with disabilities.
  • Encouraging 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. Students who join the AccessSTEM Team will engage in an online community, mentoring, field trips, research, paid internships, and other activities to assure their success in STEM careers and promote the success of others.
  • Delivering training and curriculum materials through established pre-college teacher networks, teacher training programs, and professional organizations; providing educators with opportunities to work with students who have disabilities.
  • Helping STEM postsecondary faculty, support staff, counselors, and employers fully include students with disabilities in their courses and programs and creating accessible facilities, science labs, distance learning programs, and electronic resources.

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.

We at DO-IT look forward to coordinating this Alliance, promoting the successful pursuit of STEM fields for more people with disabilities.