DO-IT Scholars

A program to prepare high school students with disabilities for college, careers, and leadership

The DO-IT Scholars program prepares young people with disabilities for college, careers, independent living, and leadership roles in society.

DO-IT Scholars

  • experience college life on a university campus in the summer
  • explore careers and the world of work
  • learn to select and use adaptive technology, applications software, and Internet resources
  • learn about reasonable accommodations at school and in the workplace
  • network with peers and working professionals with disabilities
  • gain requisite knowledge to enter and succeed in college and challenging careers
  • participate in leadership opportunities that promote accessible environments, worksites, and community activities

Consult the Research to Practice Brief to learn how the DO-IT Scholar program components are grounded in research.

These research-based strategies include the following:

  • computer and Internet access
  • peer support
  • mentor support
  • college preparation
  • work-based learning

The DO-IT Scholars program consists of three phases. After graduating from high school and the third phase, Scholars become DO-IT Ambassadors. At the end of each phase, Scholars are asked to evaluate their experiences.

Phase I Scholars

(Through first Summer Study session) 
Phase I DO-IT Scholars participate in the following activities:

InternetworkingDO-IT Scholars learn to use computers to enrich their education and to explore academic and career interests using the Internet. They communicate with mentors and other DO-IT participants using computers and, if necessary, special adaptive technology. DO-IT Scholars who do not have the necessary technology are loaned equipment and software while they participate in program activities.

Mentor and Peer Support—Frequent electronic communications and personal contacts bring Scholars together with DO-IT Mentors to facilitate academic, career, and personal achievements. Mentors are college students, faculty, and other professionals, many with disabilities themselves.

Summer Study I—-During a two-week, live-in summer program at the University of Washington in Seattle, DO-IT Scholars participate in academic lectures and labs; live in residence halls; and practice skills that will help them be successful in college and careers.

Phase II Scholars

(Through second Summer Study session) 
Phase II DO-IT Scholars are supported with information about college application procedures, entrance requirements, and additional tips and resources to help them prepare for their transition to college. Additionally, Phase II Scholars participate in the following activities:

ProjectsDO-IT Scholars apply their interests, skills, and knowledge to design and complete independent and team projects. DO-IT Mentors and staff act as resources.

Internetworking and MentoringDO-IT Scholars develop and practice communication and leadership skills by acting as peer mentors for incoming Phase I DO-IT Scholars. Communication occurs in-person during the Summer Study program and online throughout the year.

Summer Study IIDO-IT Scholars return to the University of Washington campus for a one-week, live-in summer program to create and complete projects of personal interest with other DO-IT Scholars, faculty, and professionals.

Phase III Scholars

Phase III Scholars (through high school), complete high school and transition to college. Throughout the year they participate in e-mentoring and other DO-IT activities. Some become Interns at DO-IT Summer Study and participate in other work-based experiences.


(After high school graduation), a DO-IT Ambassador participates in helping with e-mentoring and other DO-IT activities. They engage in making their colleges, worksites, and communities more welcoming to people with disabilities.


Washington State high school students with disabilities may apply. Priority is given to students in their sophomore year in high school, followed by students in their junior year.

Application Process

Applications are accepted throughout the school year for the upcoming summer. However, priority is given to applications received by January 30th. Applications received after that date are considered on a space-available basis.

Only complete application packets are reviewed by the Advisory Board. They include:

  • Student application
  • Parent/Guardian Recommendation and Consent
  • High School Teacher, Administrator, or Counselor Recommendation
  • Student's Current Grade Report/Transcript
  • Grade Report/Transcript Request Form

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is previous experience working with computers required?

    No. However, an interest and willingness to develop computer skills and participate on the Internet is essential.

  2. Are DO-IT Scholars charged for instructional materials, housing, meals, activities, and accommodations such as sign language interpreters?


  3. Can I apply for funding to assist with the costs associated with travel and/or hiring personal care assistants?


  4. What does the Advisory Board look for when reviewing application packages?

    The Board considers an applicant's interest and aptitude in college studies, motivation to participate in DO-IT, contribution to the diversity of the program, and perceived benefit from program offerings.

  5. When will applicants be notified of the Advisory Board's decisions?

    Most applicants are notified between March and June.

  6. When are the Summer Study sessions held?

    Phase I Summer Study typically occurs during the last two weeks of July. Phase II Summer Study typically occurs during the last week of July.

  7. Who do I contact with my questions?

    University of Washington 
    Box 354842
    Seattle, WA 98195-4842

    206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
    888-972-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
    206-221-4171 (fax)
    509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane

About DO-IT

About DO-IT DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

To order free publications or newsletters use the DO-IT Publications Order Form; to order videos and training materials use the Videos, Books and Comprehensive Training Materials Order Form.

For further information, to be placed on the DO-IT mailing list, request materials in an alternate format, or to make comments or suggestions about DO-IT publications or web pages contact:

University of Washington 
Box 354842 
Seattle, WA 98195-4842

206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
888-972-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
206-221-4171 (fax)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane

Founder and Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

DO-IT Funding and Partners


Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, Washington State, and the U.S. Department of Education. Funding from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, the Boeing Company, NASA, the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation, the Jeld-Wen Foundation, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Labor, and other organizations have supported DO-IT activities.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9255803. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Copyright © 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1992, University of Washington. Permission is granted to copy these materials for educational, non‑commercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.