DO-IT News July 1997: All Articles

This page features all the articles from the DO-IT News July 1997 newsletter. This newsletter can also be viewed article by article on the DO-IT News July 1997 page.

Director's Digressions

Sheryl Burgstahler

All aboard the DO-IT train! This year DO-IT traveled across the United States for the second consecutive year to recruit the 1997 Scholars. They are a creative and talented bunch of high school students with disabilities who are excited to meet others with common interests, goals, and challenges. These Phase I Scholars will be arriving in Seattle, in August to attend a two-week Summer Study program at the University of Washington. During the second week of the program, these students will be joined by the Phase II Scholars, last year's Phase I Scholars.

Joining us from Idaho is Veronica. Her favorite subjects are math and science. Having arthrogryposis has not stopped Veronica from excelling in school. She is currently in advanced math and hopes to attend the University of Washington and get her Ph.D. in genetic engineering.

Justin joins us from Florida. Justin is legally blind and uses Braille and a computer with voice output to do his homework and attend school. His goal is to become a computer programmer. The only blind person in his school and neighborhood, Justin is interested in meeting other blind teenagers.

Also joining us from the East Coast is Chris. Chris's dyslexia doesn't stop him from pursuing his interests in science and math. His current career plans are in the computer field.

Joshua, from Pennsylvania, has a learning disability and has volunteered for the past three years at the Easter Seals Society. He has an interest in radioactivity and would like to do research in this area.

Karyn, a Washington local, loves math and science, especially biology. Karyn, who has a learning disability, wants to become a pediatric physical therapist working with kids with disabilities. She is excited to meet other students who are motivated like she is.

Also joining us from Washington is Ben. Ben sustained a spinal injury two years ago and is excited to make new friends in the program. He excels in math and looks forward to attending college.

Joining us from up North is Keaton. From Alaska, Keaton just loves science. He said, "It's like candy to me, I can eat it up." Keaton is blind, but that hasn't slowed him down in pursuing his interest is science, backed up with computers.

Sharon really likes biology and math. She lives in Oregon, is self-disciplined, and has a high level of motivation. She has retinitis pigmentosa and is excited to interact with other teens with disabilities.

From Ohio, we welcome Laura. She has Turner's syndrome and enjoys biology and math. She is looking forward to interacting with other students who have similar interests.

Jennifer is leaning toward a career in counseling and psychology. From North Dakota, Jennifer has been blind since birth.

Don joins us from Kansas. Don, who has a learning disability, is interested in technology, social science, and math. He plans to attend college and pursue a Master's degree in either electrical engineering or counseling.

Amanda, who is paraplegic, joins us from Montana. She has special interests in biology, chemistry, and math. She plans to attend college and become a veterinarian or journalist.

Coming from Connecticut is Steven. Deaf since birth, Steven has special interests in math and science. He plans to study these areas in college.

Alexi, who has a hearing impairment, is also from Connecticut. He enjoys chemistry, biology, and physics. He is leaning toward a career in microbiology or nuclear science.

A Seattle local, Minh, loves math and science and wants to become a surgeon, pharmacist, or a business person. Minh has dwarfism and uses a wheelchair. She is interested in meeting teens in the program because she says, "We all learn from others."

Trent is another Seattle local. He likes chemistry and computers, and plans to study sports medicine in college. Trent has motor and visual impairments and is excited about learning about the Internet.

Joining us all the way from Mississippi, Shakethia is partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. She loves math and acting, and wants to become a lawyer. Brad also comes from Mississippi. He likes science in general, but especially astronomy and the physical sciences. Brad, a wheelchair user, wants to learn more about computers and the Internet.

Andrew is from Pennsylvania and has been interested in quantum mechanics for many years. He also enjoys learning about mathematics and computers. Andrew has limited use of his left arm due to a stroke.

Michael of Colorado would like to become a professor. His main interests are in geography, linguistics, science, and mathematics. Michael has reduced fine motor skills as a result of spina bifida. He is excited about DO-IT because it will give him the chance to experience life on a university campus.

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

Cloning - Do It, or Don't Do It?

Darin Stageberg, Counselor/Coordinator

DO-IT participants engage in interesting and meaningful discussions on our discussion lists. We have a group of more than 175 DO-IT Pals, Scholars, Ambassadors, and Mentors. Career Mentors are typically practicing engineers and scientists or college students. Many Mentors have disabilities themselves. DO-IT Ambassadors (Scholars who have graduated from high school and moved to postsecondary programs and careers) are peer mentors to younger DO-IT Scholars and Pals. Mentors help with academic questions, accommodation issues, career steps, and other important topics. The overall idea is that we support one another in setting and reaching personal, academic, and career goals.

Earlier this year, DO-IT participants engaged in a fascinating interactive discussion about cloning of humans that generated many responses involving science, engineering, and technology. Below are excerpts:

  • The topic of your message has been a hot potato in my biology classes this week! Students are actively aware of this event, and asking many, many questions ranging from "How was it done?" to "Is this ethical?" The tenor of our discussions has actually been quite positive.
  • For moral reasons, I oppose human-cloning.
  • Who are we to be Mother Nature? I think, that if this fell into the wrong hands, it could be chaotic! Besides, if we cloned humans for organs, are we going to kill them to take them out? Using a human life to save another? Who decides who is more important? The scientific aspect of this *is* incredible, however. I just think it could be used in more "ethical" ways.
  • I really felt strongly against cloning people after I read the book Brave New World. In this book people are created to fit certain jobs. One of the great things about the United States is the diversity of people. With cloning we could have many people who are exactly the same.
  • Cloning an entire human being is just asking for trouble. Do clones have rights? Better figure that out before we start cloning people.
  • I believe that it is allowable to clone a human if that particular human is in medical need, such as needing a transplant.
  • Good point about using clones for medical purposes, but just as long as it doesn't go too far. Technology almost gives too many options if it ends up in the wrong hands.
  • I am all for the cloning of a human being. Imagine having perfect genetic matches to any organ needed at any time. The average life span for humans will increase dramatically since most people die of failures of certain vital organs. The only problem I could foresee would be the moral complications of the life of the Clone. Should they be told that they are a clone? Should they just be used for "spare parts" and how is that morally and ethically justifiable? Even though the person is a clone, they have a soul too.
  • It is wrong to create an exact copy of a whole person because I feel each person is an individual and to go and copy them would be taking their individuality from them.
  • ...I don't think you can mess with God and his ways. Now I know this may seem harsh, but I just don't think you can mess with nature. Remember the movie Jurassic Park???
  • Now that the door is open, I can't see that legislation is going to stop human cloning. I think back to all the fuss when Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant, and many people said that was not rightŠplacing someone else's organs into another person ­ but look how "everyday" that procedure has become, with many types of organ transplants being completely acceptable. Is the fear of cloning mostly because people do not understand it???
  • The idea of cloning humans tends to bother me because I think some people might try to create the "Perfect Society." However, this might be a good way to increase the populations of endangered species.
  • With my personal beliefs, I think it would be WRONG to clone a human.
  • In a society that grades people by whether or not they are perfect, (Let's face it, no one is. Some disabilities and/or handicapping conditions are visible and some are not.) I feel this would only further complicate and hinder those that already have a steep hill to climb.
  • Who we are is not determined by our physical makeup, physically perfect or not, but by each and every thought we think that enables us to overcome each challenge we face in life and our ability to help others do the same.
  • I think people are freaked out. It took me 20 minutes to dictate my fears. Maybe we need more time on this subject.
  • As for restrictions, we should at least start with them. Cloning is something new. We don't know the implications and so on. Best to start cautiously so we don't inadvertently make a mess.
  • comes down to what you believe is morally and ethically right.

Congratulations Graduates!

Another year has passed and DO-IT celebrates the DO-IT Scholar and Pal high school graduates of 1997! Congratulations to:

  • Jesse (North Dakota), who will attend the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Zachary (Pennsylvania), who will attend the honors program at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania
  • David (Oregon), who plans to attend Eastern Oregon State College in La Grande, Oregon
  • Bror (Idaho), who plans to attend North Idaho Community College, in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
  • Michael (Washington), who will attend Highline Community College in Kent, Washington
  • Shawn (Washington), who will attend Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington
  • Bridget (Washington), who will attend Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington
  • Matthew (Washington), who will attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington
  • Janny (Washington), who will attend Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona
  • Rachel (Washington), who plans to attend either Central Washington University or University of Washington in the Fall of '98
  • Jeremy (Washington), who plans to attend Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington
  • Chris (North Dakota), who will attend the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Katrina (Oregon), who will attend Augustana College in Illinois
  • Tracy (South Dakota), who will attend Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota
  • Dan (New York), who will attend Oberlin College in Ohio in the Fall of '98
  • Andrea (Minnesota), who will attend Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota
  • John (Idaho), who plans to attend Twin Falls Community College in Twin Falls, Idaho
  • Susana (Washington), who will attend the Cornish Arts College in Seattle, Washington
  • Jodi (Idaho), who will attend Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho
  • Shawnna (Washington), who has yet to decide a college to attend
  • Carolyn (Washington), who has yet to decide a college to attend
  • Bill (Oregon), who will attend Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, Oregon

Congratulations from the DO-IT clan. You did it!

DO-IT Does the President's Summit

Zachary, DO-IT Scholar

One of the responsibilities placed upon every DO-IT Scholar is that they must disseminate information concerning the DO-IT program to individuals who may be a beneficiary and/or a benefactor to the program. Scholars have fulfilled this requirement by: addressing a School Board, communicating with colleagues, writing articles for various publications, corresponding with individuals by means of electronic mail, and myriad other methods. One method DO-IT employs to propagate itself is attendance at conferences around the country by DO-IT staff and/or emissaries. One special conference DO-IT attended this year was the Presidents' Summit in Philadelphia.

On April 27, 1997, the Summit opened with delegates assisting in the clean-up of a neighborhood in Philadelphia. This conference, with the central theme of community service, gave DO-IT a fortuitous opportunity to publicize its efforts to serve individuals with disabilities. Winning the NII award in 1995, DO-IT was invited to host a display which showcased program efforts. Staff members Julie Smallman, Darin Stageberg, and Sheryl Burgstahler served as spokespersons for the DO-IT program, speaking with the delegates who visited the DO-IT booth. However, the DO-IT staff felt that it would be beneficial to have a DO-IT Scholar attend the Summit so that they could share their experience with the delegates. Serendipity would have it that I, living in Pennsylvania, would have the opportunity to share my experience in the DO-IT program with the delegates in Philadelphia. I became a DO-IT Scholar in 1996 and I am blind.

I have been asked to recount DO-IT's experience at the Summit, and I shall present some of the highlights. The days' activities consisted primarily of speaking with delegates who stopped to learn about DO-IT. (Delegates came from many states, if not all the states, and, were officials of differing degree.)

The evening activities for the first day included a taste of Philadelphia and an awards ceremony. The taste of Philadelphia was an event in which the participants had the opportunity to sample cuisine from various restaurants.

The award ceremony was a recognition of outstanding individuals or organizations who have contributed valuable community service. For example, a fifteen year old was recognized by President Clinton for her service to the homeless, providing bagged lunches and treating the homeless like family. Amazingly, she knew each of their names and birthdates. Apparently she likes to surprise these individuals with small gifts on their birthdays. The second day's events consisted of managing the booth and attending a dinner to share information with others about the program. Overall, the atmosphere, the events, and the many acquaintances made this experience a very special and memorable one.

DO-IT Does the UW Computer Fair

Eric, DO-IT Ambassador

I had heard a lot about the annual UW Computer Fair in the past, but I did not have the opportunity to attend until this year. I decided to attend because I like to give technical advice and I wanted to see several of my peers again. I am blind and from Oregon. This is the first long trip I've taken alone.

Prior to the event, Kristin Otis, DO-IT Counselor/Coordinator, and I made arrangements to alleviate any confusions. Before the event started, I saw several people I knew. I saw Ambassador Lloyd, a DO-IT Ambassador who was working for the Adaptive Technology Lab. I got to meet Darin Stageberg, another DO-IT Counselor/Coordinator, for the first time and he and I talked a lot about career planning and internships. At the Computer Fair, my duties included giving technical advice and telling people about the DO-IT program. At first, there were not many people at the booth, but later on, I had so many people to talk to that I thought I was going to lose my voice. At 4:00, I got to take part in a presentation that Dan was giving on the different kinds of adaptive technology. I had taken public speaking in college and that gave me practice for this presentation. I talked about the adaptive technology I use and how it helps me.

Everyone liked the presentation and several people came to me with questions. I went back to my hotel at around 5:30 that evening. A couple of my relatives in Seattle picked me up and took me to their home for dinner. They were very curious about the technology I use. I got back in time to rest up for the next day.

I arrived at the HUB (Husky Union Building) at 9:00 on the next day. I had some rather interesting situations that day. First, I had someone come to me for advice about selecting a computer. He was not able to type very fast and he wanted to be able to type faster. One person came to me and wanted to learn about the program as well as different types of adaptive technology. She had never heard of a speech synthesizer, scanner, or Braille printer and she sounded surprised when I told her about them.

In addition to meeting several people, I helped with another presentation. Beth, a DO-IT staff member, talked about accessible Web pages and I talked about how to make the page usable to persons with visual impairments. The audience liked our presentation.

I had arranged to be picked up at 7 p.m. to return to the hotel. This gave me a chance to participate in the dinner they held for those helping with the DO-IT booth in the UW Computer Fair. This also gave me an extra opportunity to visit with the students and new staff members.

I learned some good lessons when going on this trip. First of all, if you have access to shuttle services you should use them whenever you can. These services are cheaper than cab companies and the drivers are very service oriented. If you have an access card that functions as a charge account, you should use it for making large purchases such as hotel rooms, airline reservations, and any other large purchases. The most important lesson I learned was about communication. Communication is the key to a successful mission no matter what kind of disability you have. As long as you can tell people what you need, your trip is likely to be successful.

Who Goes to Summer Camp? DO-IT Does

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

DO-IT staff, Scholars, Ambassadors, Pals and Mentors will again be involved with computer and Internet activities at summer camps for children and youth with disabilities. Campers will send messages to their friends and family with electronic mail, use the World Wide Web for fun activities and searching for resources, and create World Wide Web home pages and on-line publications for their camps.

Between late June and early August DO-IT will be coordinating Internet activities at summer camps run by five different organizations in Washington and Minnesota. We'll start the sessions with an "All Abilities" camp offered jointly by the Easter Seal Society of Washington and the Pierce County Department of Parks and Recreation at the Easter Seal camp at Vaughn Bay, Washington. Children of all abilities will participate in a week of fun activities between June 23-26 and are encouraged to attend with a friend.

An Easter Seal session at the Vaughn Bay camp follows. This a live-in camp for youth of ages 14 and older with motor impairments mixes computing with more traditional camp experiences (July 2-8).

Camp Courage is next - July 12-21. In its third summer, this internet/college preview camp runs in partnership with the Camp Courage in Maple Lake, Minnesota. Courage campers participate in intensive Internet and college preview activities, including a field trip to nearby St. Cloud State University.

Then we're off to Rogers High School in Puyallup for a week of fun with campers in the Pierce County Parks and Recreation "Camp Lots of Fun". These younger campers with a variety of disabilities and health impairments swim, participate in crafts and games, and cruise the Internet in a computer lab at the high school. We're at Rogers from July 21-23 and again from July 28-August 1.

Beautiful Camp Waskowitz in the foothills of the Cascades at North Bend is last. A former Civilian Conservation Corps camp built in the 1930s, Waskowitz is on the national historic register. DO-IT will be working with two organizations at Waskowitz. The Muscular Dystrophy camp for youth with neuromuscular diseases takes place July 21-15. Burn Foundation of the Northwest for survivors of burn injuries hosts a camp for youth July 28-August 1. Besides using e-mail and the World Wide Web, campers at these sessions will be creating home pages for their camp and parent newsletters, ending a full summer of exciting camp activities.

You can get registration information for any of these camps by contacting the sponsoring organizations or the DO-IT office. See you's your turn to bring the marshmallows.

DO-IT and Barbie in the News

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

Two DO-IT participants made the news in articles published recently in The Seattle Times and San Jose Mercury News, expressing their opinions about Barbie's newest friend. In the Seattle Times front-page article June 7, "Barbie's friend finds doors closed," Shelby Gilje states, "Becky, the strawberry-blond babe in the hot-pink wheelchair, has a problem. Big time." Becky is the new Barbie friend recently released by Mattel as "Share a Smile Becky." Advocates for people with disabilities heralded Becky's arrival, although some have objected to the perky name (Why not Becky the veterinarian, software engineer, or scientist?).

However, as Gilje points out, Barbie and friends have not read the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires accessible entrances for wheelchairs. Becky's wheelchair, it turns out, doesn't fit through the doors of the Barbie dollhouse. That's fueled lively conversations on the Internet, including discussion lists maintained by DO-IT. Gilje reports that staffers at the Easter Seal Society of Washington in Seattle received an e-mail from Kjersti, a junior at Curtis High School in Tacoma, and Priscilla, a Bellevue Community College student. Johnson and Wong are participants in the DO-IT program and learned the bad news about Becky via e-mail exchanges with others. "How ironic and true housing for people with disabilities that is not accessible! Mattel said they will redesign the houses in the future to accomodate now if it were that easy for the rest of us!" their message said. "This (inaccessibility) is what we live with every day," added Johnson. "When you're having a bad day, it's good to have something to laugh about."

Well, We Did It!

by Jesse

Well, hello again. Things have been a total rat race this last month or two. Just thought I'd tell you I finally made it. I graduated from high school on May 18, 1997. I would have told you sooner, but the lines around here haven't been working right due to what Mother Nature has brought to North Dakota this Spring. My internet connection is really bad. But the overall thing was a lot of fun. The actual ceremony went fine. It was funny though. One person dropped her little notes when she went up to speak--nervous probably. Well, who wouldn't be? I sure would be nervous. Then we had an open house here and talk about people. I couldn't walk. The bad thing was that the weather was really crappy that day, so we had to cram 50 or more people into a little trailer house. Try it some time. It's a lot of fun... Oh, ready for a surprise? Middle of May, right? Well, later on during the open house it SNOWED. Of course, but just the thought of it wasn't cool if you know what I mean... Well, hats off to my fellow peers who graduate this spring!

by Bridget

Hi! My graduation ceremony was on June 12, but I had an award ceremony earlier in the week. I was in the Top Ten and I got some other academic awards but my favorite was the Student of the Year for the Science Department. I was so happy when I got that award. I'm happy to graduate from high school and I wanted to say congratulations to the class of '97.

by Rachel

Hey all, I'm so excited. The week of June 2 was a great week for me. First, I signed a song by Garth Brooks called "Standing Outside the Fire," at our senior talent show. I got a standing ovation. The next day a reporter interviewed me for the newspaper and the day after I made the front page. It was an article about how I was a cheerleader and accomplished so much even with kidney failure and a degenerative hearing loss. As graduation rolled around, I received two awards at the ceremony. One was the special services award for outstanding senior from one of my teachers and the other award was a special one they have been doing for only three years now. It's an award dedicated to a guy named Ronny Griffith who recently died of cancer in the brain. Ronny showed a spirit and attitude that inspired many people. I'm the third person ever to win this award. Of course, my mom and family cried and stuff. It was an awesome graduation. I just thought all my friends at DO-IT might like to hear about it.

by Matthew

Hello Everyone, just to fill everybody in, I graduated, like many of the DO-IT Scholars and Pals, this year. We had our ceremony at the Seattle Mercer Arena. It was pretty cool. Things are going well for me. I have gotten a scholarship from Pemco and I'm working with DVR to get an adaptive van and for them to pay some of my college expenses. I now have a foster sister named Harmoney. She has been living with us about 3 months now. It's a little weird since I've been an only child but it's also nice having someone to talk to. She's 15. Well, that about wraps it up. See everyone at the summer camp this year.

Off The 'Net

Useful Acronyms:

PCMCIA People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms

ISDN It Still Does Nothing

APPLE Arrogance Produces Profit-Losing Entity

SCSI System Can't See It

DOS Defunct Operating System

BASIC Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control

IBM I Blame Microsoft

DEC Do Expect Cuts

CD-ROM Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months

OS/2 Obsolete Soon, Too.

WWW World Wide Wait

MACINTOSH Most Applications Crash; If Not, The Operating System Hangs


The Top 12 Things You Don't Want to Hear From Tech Support

12) "Do you have a sledgehammer or a brick handy?"

11) "...that's right, not even MacGyver could fix it."

10) "So -- what are you wearing?"

9) "Duuuuuude! Bummer!"

8) "Looks like you're gonna need some new dilythium crystals, Cap'n."

7) "Press 1 for Support. Press 2 if you're with 60 Minutes. Press 3 if you're with the FTC."

6) "We can fix this, but you're gonna need a butter knife, a roll of duct tape, and a car battery."

5) "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."

4) "In layman's terms, we call that the Hindenburg Effect."

3) "Hold on a second... Mom! Timmy's hitting me!"

2) "Okay, turn to page 523 in your copy of Dianetics." ...and the Number 1 Thing You Don't Want to Hear From Tech Support...

1) "Please hold for Mr. Gates' attorney."


DO-IT Mentor Profile

Jarret Knyal

My name is Jarrett Knyal and I work at the Institute for the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. We are involved in multimedia development research. Primarily, we make applications that assist corporations in their training programs and schools in their education programs.

I'm from a small suburb about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. I graduated high school in 1982. My favorite subjects in high school were my science and art courses. When I enrolled at Northwestern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, I was originally a pre-med major but decided into my first term that if I wanted to be a doctor I would be in school/residency until I was *gasp* 28 or 29 years old! I said forget that and knocked around in several majors before deciding at the end of my sophomore year to major in graphic design. I enjoyed the creativity and application of design principles but I hated the craft aspect--the exact knifes, the sticky glue, the anal retentive attention to minute details like kerning type, etc. It was too late to change my major again so I stuck with graphic design; there was enough in it that I liked to make the bad stuff bearable. I was going merrily along in my senior year when...

I was involved in a major accident on October 27, 1985 -- as a matter of fact, last October was the 11th anniversary of my accident. I won't bore everyone with all the details but in a nutshell, I was on a roof and a piece of wood I was holding came in contact with a power line. I was badly burned, knocked unconscious, and fell off the roof, breaking my back and trashing my spinal cord at T4. The burns to my left hand were so extensive that I had to have it amputated ten days later at about the middle of the forearm. I spent the next 6 months in the hospital learning to live as a paraplegic amputee.

While I was at the rehab hospital, part of my rehab included vocational therapy. I was a left-handed art major who lost his left hand so I'm like, "now what?". I thought the emerging field of computer graphics offered some promise. My original plan was to be a graphics programmer because I thought I could probably still type okay if I put a pencil in my hook hand. One of my vocational counselors knew a professor at the University of Illinois who was a part of their Electronic Visualization program.

His name is Drew Browning and the fact that he has muscular dystrophy and uses a motorized scooter put some of my fears to rest about attending the notoriously inaccessible University of Illinois at Chicago. University of Illinois-Chicago also had the only program at the time where one could major in computer graphics at the undergraduate level. This was before the term "multimedia" became a household word. I was thrilled with computer technology! Finally, I could apply my creativity without the mess and anal retentiveness. The computer could draw a straight line a million times better and faster than I could. Also, I found that creating art on a computer encouraged exploration. If you aren't sure what you're going to do next is going to work out, just save and you can always come back to it if your experiment fails. I'm so used to working that way now that when I create using traditional media and I draw a line or stroke that I don't like, I've actually looked for the undo button! Drew and all my other teachers at U of I were great and I graduated with a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in June of 1989.

I spent the summer putting my portfolio together and landed a part-time job that September teaching computer graphics at a private arts college in Chicago called Colombia College. I taught an introductory computer graphics course and an intermediate 2-D animation course on the Commodore Amiga. I love the dynamic teacher/student relationship and the energy of the classroom. About a year after I started teaching, I was hired at Northwestern University where I still work today. I spend most of my time on a PowerMac 8500/120 with 80M ram. Software I use regularly include Photoshop, Strata, Infini-D, Painter, Illustrator, and After Effects. Besides those, I have a gaggle of other software that I'm less familiar with but can still get around ok in.

A couple years ago with my 30th birthday quickly approaching, I found myself looking back on my life and thinking, "If I could do it over again, I would have stuck with my early aspirations of going to medical school." It's not that I don't like my job but I felt that something was missing. I felt I needed more personal contact with others and I wanted to have a career that combined the technical/scientific aspect of working with computers with something that provided more of an opportunity to directly help people. I felt that medicine would provide this. I decided this over the course of a day and figured that I would probably need to take a chemistry class because I didn't have one during the course of my undergraduate studies. I wasted no time and signed up that day after work for a night class here at Northwestern. I didn't know a thing about what was involved in applying for med school but during the past three years I've picked up what I need to know. I took the MCAT (like the ACT or SAT for med school) in August and plan to apply this summer for the fall of 1998. In what little spare time I have, I enjoy gardening, stained glass, and running distance races.

DO-IT Ambassador Profile


My name is Nadira and I'm a DO-IT Ambassador. I go to Highline Community College and plan to transfer to the University of Washington to get my bachelor's degree in psychology. However, at the moment I'm really not sure what kind of career I want to get into. Some of my hobbies are music, Internet, poetry, and laughing.

My disability is mobility impairment. I use a wheelchair to get around twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. I believe that people's attitudes toward wheelchair users really need to change. We should not be treated differently from other people because we are not different. I am open-minded, friendly, humorous, religious, sensitive, and all the other good stuff! I think I should also mention at least one bad quality about me--I am a big procrastinator--but I'm working towards changing this behavior.

My purpose in life is to help people in any way I can. I think we humans need to be very nice to each other because the environment that surrounds us is continually giving us pain and suffering. The only remedy for it is to be nice to each other. I have learned a lot by being in the DO-IT program. DO-IT is the best teacher that I have ever had. Finally, my motto in life is: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

DO-IT Scholar Profile


Hi, my name is Katrina but everyone calls me "Katie". I have diabetes which was acquired at the age of 6, when the chicken pox virus attacked the islet cells of my pancreas. I like most athletic activities, including dance (ballet). I also like to listen to music, shop for clothes, and read books. I will be attending a very small college in Rock Island, Illinois, called Augustana College. They have a wonderful pre-med program, and a dance company. I would like to pursue a career in the medical field, but I'm also very interested in art. Perhaps, something like illustration of anatomy manuals or similar is what I want to do.

DO-IT Pal Profile

Jim Maloney

Hi, my name is Jim Maloney. I'm a new member of the DO-IT Pals program and I have been looking forward to join. I'm a junior at a high school in Illinois and I have cerebral palsy. Besides my regular classes I'm on the Crime Stoppers Board and the Rocky Pride council at the high school. In my spare time I enjoy listening to the police scanner, going to the mall, and talking on the phone. Amateur radio is another one of my hobbies and I attend regular meetings of the local clubs around here. I have my No Code Technician rating and so far only use local voice radio. I am looking forward to being part of DO-IT Pals.

DO-IT Dictionary

Confused by some of the DO-IT lingo? Here's a dictionary of some of the DO-IT terms.

adaptive (é -dap'tiv) adj. technology (tê k -nô l'è -jee) n. Specialized equipment and software that allows people with disabilities to use computers and networks.

DID-IT (did-it) n. Past tense of DO-IT. Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology, a project to increase the participation of people with disabilities in science, engineering, and mathematics academic programs and careers.

DO-IT Ambassador (doo-it- am-bas'é -dé r, -dô r') n. A previous Scholar who graduated from high school and now continues to participate in DO-IT by helping the program and guiding younger Scholars.

DO-IT Mentor (doo-it- më n'tô r', -tè r) n. An adult who is in college or career who helps Scholars and Ambassadors as they pursue academics and careers. The address of their discussion list is

DO-IT Pals (doo-it- palz) n. An electronic community of teens with disabilities perparing for college and careers.

DO-IT News (doo-it- nooz, nyooz) n. The DO-IT newsletter that features stories, articles, and events about the DO-IT program, participants, and disability-related issues.

DO-IT Summer Study (doo-it- sû m'é r- stû d'ee) n. A live-in summer program at the University of Washington in Seattle where DO-IT Scholars participate in science, engineering, and mathematics lectures and labs; live in residence halls; and practice skills which will help them to be independent and successful in college and careers.

doitkids (doo-itkids) n. The name of the electronic list that includes DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors. The full address is

doitpals (doo-it- palz) n. The electronic discussion list for DO-IT Pals. The full address is

doitsem (doo-itsê m') n. The discussion list for anyone interested in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in science, engineering, and mathematics programs and careers. The email address is doitsem
You can join the list by sending a message to

In the message text type "subscribe doitsem" followed by your name.

NSF (en- es- ef) n. The National Science Foundation. A grant from NSF funds DO-IT operations.

Phase I Scholar (fâ z- wû n- skö l'é r) n. A high school student from the time they are accepted into the DO-IT Scholars program through the completion of their first Summer Study at the University of Washington.

Phase II Scholar (fâ z- too- skö l'é r) n. Phase I graduates who continue their DO-IT participation through the second Summer Study at the University of Washington.

Phase III Scholar (fâ z- three-skö l'é r ) n. Phase II graduates who retain this title until they attend college and become a DO-IT Ambassador.

You can DO-IT! (yoo- kan; ken when unstressed- doo-it) The DO-IT motto.

Technology Tips: chmod overview

Marvin Crippen, DO-IT technology assistant

The chmod (CHange MODe) command is used to change permissions for a file or directory on a Unix machine. For example, let's say you've downloaded a piece of software you want to share with other people on your system. If the file is large it would be a waste of resources to have everyone who wanted to use the software download their own copy. It would be much better to have one person download the software and change the permissions so everyone on that system could access the file. Or perhaps you've uploaded some software and you need to change the file permission so you can run it.

Finding the current permissions

Typing ls -ld at the host system prompt will show you the permissions of your home directory, with a string of 10 characters that should look something like drwx------ or drwx--x--x. The first character is what type of entry you're looking at, either d for directory or - for a plain file. The rest of the characters are broken up into fields of three. The first set of three represent the owners permissions, the second set of three represent the group permissions (the use of group permissions varies from system to system. They are not generally used on UW Uniform Access systems), and the third set of three representing the "other" permissions. The "other" category encompasses everyone else and is usually called world, which I will use for the rest of this article. The first character of each set represents read (r) which allows read access to the file. The second character of each set represents write (w) which allows changes to be made to the file, including deletion. The third character of each set represents execute (x) which allows running the file. A dash (-) in any entry means no permission for that operation. So, the first example of the ls -ld command (drwx---------) means the entry is a directory in which the owner has read, write and execute permissions and no one else has any permissions. The second example of the ls -ld command (drwx--x--x) is a directory (it happens to be my home directory on Hawking) in which the owner has read, write, and execute permissions, the group has execute permissions and everyone else (world) has execute permissions.

How to change permissions

The format of the chmod command is chmod [permission] [filename]. The permission can be specified in either the symbolic or absolute mode. In the symbolic mode you must specify three things. One, who to change the permission for; owner (u), group (g) and/or world (o). Two, what kind of change to make to the permission; add permission (+), remove permission (-) or exclusive permission (=) add that permission and remove all other permissions. Three, what permission; read (r), write (w) and/or execute (x). To add world read and execute permission to a file using the symbolic mode you would type chmod o+rx [filename]. To remove world read permission from a file you would type chmod o-r [filename]. To remove group read and execute permission while adding the same permission to world you would type chmod g-rx,o+rx [filename]. To remove all permissions for group and world you would type chmod go= [filename].

Sound a bit complex? There is an alternative. All you have to do is remember a couple of numbers and you can use the absolute mode to change permission. The absolute mode uses 3 numbers to represent the permission. To remove all permissions for group and world you would type chmod 700 [filename]. To give the owner all permissions and world execute you would type chmod 701 [filename]. To give the owner all permissions and world read and execute you would type chmod 705 [filename]. The absolute mode functions like the exclusive permission of the symbolic mode in that it exclusively sets the permission specified removing all other permissions. For more information on how to use the absolute mode, including how to figure out the numbers see the absolute mode section of the chmod man page (man chmod).

Absolute vs. Symbolic

Which method you use is a matter of personal preference; use whatever you feel most comfortable with. In general the symbolic mode is easier for making small modifications such as adding world execute to files that already have world read. Absolute mode is easier for making large modifications such as removing all world and group permissions.

Now What?

There are just a couple more steps to go in order to let other users access your files. First off you need to give world execute permission for your root directory using the command chmod o+x ~. For your root directory execute is safer than execute and read. See Important Notes for why. Second you need to change the permissions for the files you want other users to be able to access, including any directories along the way. Since sub directories generally do not have as much important information as your root directory giving sub directories world read and execute permissions is not as big a security risk. If I wanted to give everyone on Hawking access to the file ~mcrip/World/, I would use the following three commands from my root directory:

chmod o+x ~                   (Change permission of root directory)
chmod o+rx World              (Change permission of World directory)
chmod o+rx World/  (Change permission of file

Important Notes

If you set your root directory to world execute and read everyone will be able look at a list of the files in your root directory. They will also be able to view any file that has world read permission and run any file that has world execute permission. If you set your root directory to world execute no one will be able to get a listing of the files in your root directory. Other users will still be able to view or run a file if the permissions are set correctly, but only if they know the name of the file. If you were working on a private file and accidentally left the world permission on read it would be much harder (but not impossible) for anyone else to access this file if your root is set to world execute rather than read. Since your root directory contains important files many of which have a standard name (.login, .cshrc, .pinerc) it is a good idea to only assign world execute permissions.

In general, it is a very bad idea to give write permission to group or world. It effectively gives other users control of your file(s).

Make sure to remove all group and world permissions from files you want to keep private: chmod 700 [filename].

To remove the owner's write permission, which would prevent you from accidentally overwriting or erasing the file, you would type chmod u-w [filename] or chmod 600[filename]. You can still remove the file but first you'll be asked for confirmation.

LD Resources on the Internet

Kristin Otis, DO-IT counselor/coordinator

If you're looking for information on learning disabilities, check out LD OnLine. The URL is

LD OnLine offers information and ideas about learning disabilities for parents, teachers, and children. Features include the ABCs of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder, a national calendar, audio clips from experts, artwork and essays by children with learning differences, research findings, bulletin boards, a resource guide, and in-depth information on dyslexia, ADD, and more. It's the official site of the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.

LD OnLine is a service of The Learning Disabilities Project at WETA-TV, Washington D.C., in association with The Parents' Educational Resource Center and The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities. School partners include The Lab School of Washington and Arlington County (VA) Public Schools. LD Online has been made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Apple Helps Connect Children In a Cyber-Community Setting

Darin Stageberg, DO-IT counselor/coordinator

This past April, Apple Computer, Inc. unveiled Convomania, a new World Wide Web site for kids who are disabled or have a severe illness. Convomania lets kids share their emotions and ideas with others like them in an online environment.

The Web site has six areas designed to enable children to communicate and interact with one another:

  • Say It--a place where kids participate in online chats.
  • Stick It--a digital magnetic poetry game that helps facilitate expression.
  • Share It--a message board for kids to share ideas 24 hours a day.
  • Solve It--a place to ask questions and receive answers about what it's like to live with chronic illness.
  • Sketch It--a digital art gallery focusing on illness-related themes.
  • Show It--a forum for kids to express themselves using theater art skills.

Convomania is an alliance between Apple and several other organizations nationwide (leading children's hospitals, camps and organizations for kids with disabilities). For more information about Convomania contact Rob Goodman, Apple Computer, Inc., (408) 974-0261,

Calendar of Events

AHEAD (Association on Higher Education And Disability) 1997 Conference
July 15-19, 1997
Boston, Massachusetts. Workshops and exhibits regarding people with disabilities for educators, administrators, service providers, and other professionals. For information contact AHEAD, P.O. Box 21192, Columbus, Ohio 43221-0192; (614) 488-4972 (Voice/TDD);
1997 National Leadership Forum on School-to-Career Transition
July 30-August 2, 1997
New Orleans, Louisiana. For information contact
Educational Technology Conference & Expo '97
August 3-6, 1997
Atlanta, Georgia. Practical technology solutions for all educational levels and environments--from the classroom to the district to the state. For information contact 1555 King Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 684-0510 or (800) 727-1227;
1997 Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities
August 4-7, 1997
Sacramento, California. For information call (916) 654-8055, (916) 654-9820 (TDD), or (800) 695-0350.
Assistive Technology Conference: From Awareness to Access
September 18-19, 1997
Topeka, Kansas. Annual conference of assistive technology presentations and demonstrations sponsored by the Assistive Technology for Kansans Project and the Capper Foundation. Preconference workshops on September 16 and 17. For more information contact Mary Dunbar or Mary Ann Keating at (913) 272-4060 or (800) 500-1034.
Closing the Gap Conference
October 22 - 25, 1997
Minneapolis, Minnesota. Microcomputer technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation. A leading source for information on innovative applications of microcomputer technology for persons with disabilities, in Minneapolis, MN. For more information, contact Closing The Gap, Inc., P.O. Box 68, 526 Main Street, Henderson, MN 56044; Phone: (507) 248-3294; Fax: (507) 248-3810; E-mail:; URL:
Washington Science Teachers Association Fall Conference
October 25-26, 2997
Bellevue, Washington. A two-day event with over 50 essential learning workshops for educators and teachers to attend. For information contact Dr. Richard Powell, 9031 NE First Street, Bellevue, WA 98004; (206) 454-9335,
Work Now and in the Future 14 Conference
November 2-4, 1997
Portland, Oregon. A three-day event with over 100 session featured to challenge people in education, business, labor, and industry to carry out the mission of educational reform: To provide ALL students a solid educational foundation for the future! For more information, contact the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 S.W. Main Street, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204; Phone: (800) 547-6339 ext. 598; FAX: (503) 275-0443; URL:
Tel-Ed '97 - ISTE's Sixth International Conference on Telecommunications and Multimedia in Education
November 13-16, 1997
Austin, Texas. Conference will focus on the educational aspects of telecommunications as well as multimedia. Interactive networked multimedia learning environments can involve students, teachers, and other educational leaders in a worldwide community of leaders. For more information, contact Laurie Thornley, ISTE/Tel-Ed '97, 1787 Agate Street, Eugene, OR 97403-1923; Phone: (541) 346-2472; FAX: (541) 346-5890;

More About DO-IT

DO-IT News is published at the University of Washington with input from the staff, Scholars, Ambassadors, and Mentors of DO-IT. The College of Engineering and Computing & Communications coordinate the program. DO-IT is primarily funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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