Guidelines for DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors

Congratulations on being accepted as a DO-IT Scholar!

DO-IT Scholars

The DO-IT Scholars program is designed to encourage and prepare you to pursue your interests in college and challenging careers. It consists of four phases.

Phase I

From your acceptance date through August 31 of your first year in the DO-IT Scholars program, you will participate in the following activities:


You will learn to use the Internet to explore your academic and career interests. You will communicate electronically from home using a computer, software, Internet connection, and, if necessary, assistive technology.


Frequent electronic communications and personal contacts will bring you together with mentors who will promote your academic, career, and personal achievements. Mentors are college students and professionals in science, engineering, math, technology, and other fields, many with disabilities themselves. Some mentors are DO-IT Scholar "graduates" called DO-IT Ambassadors.

Summer Study I

During a two-week live-in summer program at the University of Washington, you will participate in academic lectures and science labs, live in residence halls, and develop skills which will help you to be successful in college and careers.

Phase II

From September 1 of your first year through August 31 of the second year, you will learn about college application procedures, entrance requirements, and strategies and resources to help you transition to college. In addition, you will participate in the following activities:


You will apply your interests, skills, and knowledge to design and complete a project independently or with another Scholar. You are encouraged to use DO-IT ScholarsDO-IT Mentors, staff, and UW faculty as resources.

Internetworking and Peer Mentoring

You will develop and practice communication and leadership skills by becoming a peer mentor for incoming Phase I DO-IT Scholars. You will also recruit students into the DO-IT Scholars and DO-IT Pals programs.

Summer Study II

You will return to the University of Washington campus for a one-week live-in summer program and meet the new Phase I Scholars. You will also have the opportunity to further develop your knowledge, skills, and interests gained during the previous year by working on a team project with other Phase II DO-IT Scholars, UW faculty, and professionals.

Phase III

Beginning September 1 of the second year, Phase III includes opportunities to contribute to the DO-IT program. You will continue to develop your communication and leadership skills through internetworking and peer mentoring, and explore opportunities for summer internships.

DO-IT Ambassadors

After you graduate from high school, you have the option of becoming a DO-IT AmbassadorAmbassador responsibilities encompass those of Phase IIIScholars, with the addition of the following:

  • Share college experiences with DO-IT Scholars and give college transition advice based on these experiences.
  • Mentor younger Scholars and help monitor the doitchat and doitkids discussion lists to make sure all Scholars stay active and netiquette rules are followed, mainly by setting a good example.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to teach local pre-college students how to use a computer and the Internet and tell them about DO-IT opportunities.
  • Be available to assist at conferences and speak to groups about the value of the Internet, computers and program activities for students with disabilities.

DO-IT Mentors

I'm sure you can think of one or more people in your life who have supplied information, offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated friendship or simply expressed an interest in your development as a person. Without their intervention you may have remained on the same path, perhaps continuing a horizontal progression through your academic, career or personal life. Mentors are an important part of the DO-IT team. DO-IT Mentors are college students, faculty and professionals in a wide variety of career fields, many with disabilities themselves.

Mentors are valuable resources to you. As guides, counselors, teachers, and friends, they inspire and facilitate academic, career, and personal achievements. Relationships developed with your mentors become channels for the passage of information, advice, opportunities, challenges, and support with the ultimate goals of facilitating achievement and having fun.

Most DO-IT mentoring takes place on the Internet. To get to know DO-IT Mentors:

  • Introduce yourself. Share your personal, academic, and career interests and plans.
  • Ask them about their personal interests as well as their interests and experiences in academics and careers.
  • Seek their advice about college preparation, entrance and success. Ask about career options. Discuss disability-related academic and job accommodation issues.

DO-IT Mentors offer:

  • Information - Mentors share their knowledge, experiences and wisdom.
  • Contacts - Mentors provide valuable opportunities by facilitating academic career, and personal contacts.
  • Challenges - Mentors stimulate curiosity and build confidence by presenting new ideas, opportunities and challenges.
  • Support - Mentors encourage growth and achievement by providing an open and supportive environment.
  • Goal Setting - Mentors help you discover talents and interests and define and attain your goals.
  • Advice - Mentors guide you in reaching academic, career and personal goals.
  • Role Models - By sharing their stories of achievement with you, Mentors can become your role models.

"Netiquette": Electronic Mail Guidelines for DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors

  • Keep paragraphs in your messages short and separate paragraphs with blank spaces.
  • Avoid covering several topics in one message. It's better to send multiple messages. Then, the receiver can respond to each topic separately.
  • Use mixed upper and lower case letters rather than all capitalized letters. Avoid using control characters or special keys.
  • It's friendly to begin a message with the real name of the person with whom you are corresponding. End the message with your real name.
  • When replying to a message that was sent to you, include the email message to which you are replying. Decide if the reply should be sent to the group or just the individual who sent the message.
  • Keep discussions relevant to academic, college, career and disability-related topics. Do not send chain mail or junk mail to the lists.
  • Do not use words others might find offensive. Avoid personal attacks. Don't engage in name-calling.
  • Do not participate in conversations that would not be acceptable to your parents and/or DO-IT staff.
  • Do not engage in conversations that you are not comfortable with. Immediately report offensive or troubling email messages that you receive to the DO-IT Director.
  • Remember that an email message is easy for recipients to forward to others and, therefore, is not appropriate for very personal messages-it's more like a post card than a sealed letter.
  • Take advantage of the spell check feature.
  • Review your message BEFORE you send it.

What is an "Active" DO-IT Scholar or Ambassador?

Your computer system and DO-IT activities are provided to help pursue your interests in college studies and careers. To be a member of the DO-IT team you must be an "active" DO-IT Scholar or Ambassador. As an active DO-IT Scholar or Ambassador, you should strive to meet the following goals:

  • Maintain an active email account. Notify DO-IT staff when your address changes.
  • Read and respond to email messages at least once per week.
  • Respond to personal messages sent directly to you by a MentorScholarAmbassador or DO-IT staff member (response may be as simple as "Thanks for the information").
  • Regularly communicate with DO-IT Scholars and Mentors by sending email messages to the doitkidsdoitchat or doitsem groups.
  • Respond to all requests for information sent to the DO-IT discussion lists and surveys distributed by DO-IT staff (an acceptable response is "I choose not to participate in this particular survey," or "I am unable to attend this event").
  • Send personal greetings to new DO-IT ScholarsDO-IT Pals, and to other DO-IT participants.
  • Use the computer and electronic resources in your regular academic school work (for example to write papers or to obtain information to use in class papers, projects, or discussions).
  • Attend DO-IT special events and workshops when possible.
  • Complete the special requirements of Phase I, II, and III Scholars and Ambassadors as described in this publication.

Key Electronic Resources

To contact staff, update your contact information, request publications or ask questions about the program, email DO-IT.

As a DO-IT Scholar or Ambassador you are automatically subscribed to and have the opportunity to participate in several electronic discussion lists.

Scholars and Ambassadors can communicate with each other by sending a message to DO-IT Kids.

Ambassadors can communicate with each other and with all Mentors by sending email to DO-IT Mentors.

To reach all DO-IT ScholarsPals and Mentors send email to DO-IT Chat.

To discuss issues pertaining to individuals with disabilities and their pursuit of technology, science, engineering, and mathematics academic programs and careers, DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors are automatically subscribed to the doitsem discussion list. To send a message to the group, email doitsem.

About DO-IT

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9550003. 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, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2003, 1999, University of Washington. Permission is granted to copy these materials for educational, noncommercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

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, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education. DO-IT is a collaboration of UW Information Technology and the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Washington.

Grants and gifts fund DO-IT publications, videos, and programs to support the academic and career success of people with disabilities. Contribute today by sending a check to DO-IT, Box 354842, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-4842.

Your gift is tax deductible as specified in IRS regulations. Pursuant to RCW 19.09, the University of Washington is registered as a charitable organization with the Secretary of State, state of Washington. For more information call the Office of the Secretary of State, 1-800-322-4483.

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