DO-IT News March 1994: All Articles

This page features all the articles from the DO-IT News March 1994 newsletter. This newsletter can also be viewed article by article on the DO-IT News March 1994 page.

Director's Digressions

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.
Picture of 1994 Phase II DO-it Scholars
The whole gang of DO-IT Scholars pose at the University of Washington.

We are recruiting high school students to join the DO-IT team. Perhaps you know or are a high school student who:

  • is a sophomore or junior
  • likes science, engineering, or math
  • hopes to attend college
  • lives in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon or Washington
  • has a disability

If the answer is yes, we encourage you or your friend to apply to be a DO-IT Scholar and:

  • spend two weeks living on campus
  • participate in labs and lectures taught by UW faculty and graduate students
  • learn to use computers and the Internet network
  • meet other Scholars, post-secondary students, and scientists who have disabilities
  • prepare for successful transitions to college and careers

DO-IT Scholar Anna values the special friendships she has made as a member of the DO-IT team. And DO-IT Scholar Mark Bessett reports that DO-IT activities have "made my world seem a little bigger, and a little more within my grasp. I think bigger with my life goals," (Seattle Times, Feb. 21, 1994). Applications are considered on a space available basis. Call (206) 685-DOIT (685-3648) for an application or more information.

Upcoming Events

UW Computer Fair
Click here to find out more about the UW Computer Fair, taking place March 16 and 17.

UW Engineering Open House
Come by the DO-IT information table at the University of Washington College of Engineering Open House April 22 and 23. Hundreds of local junior high and high school students come to the UW to see examples of everything from robotics to lasers. Call 685-DOIt (685-3648) for more information.

Transition Workshop
DO-IT is putting on a free workshop, Saturday, May 7, from 9-4 called "Preparing for the Transition to College." K-12 students with disabilities, parents, teachers, counselors and service providers are encouraged to attend. Topics to be covered will include: college preparation strategies, entrance requirements, financial aid resources, accommodations and campus resources, and adaptive computer technologies. Call 685-DOIT (685-3648) for more information.

Math Day
The Fourth Annual Math Day for High School Students will be held Thursday, March 24. Learn how mathematics can be exciting, practical and rewarding at cutting-edge lectures by top UW faculty, on-campus field trips, computer lab experiences, and hands-on activities. Call the UW Mathematics Department, (206) 543-1150 if you have questions about program content; call UW Extension, (206) 543-2310, about registration and disability-related accommodations.

Women in Engineering Conference
The Fourth Annual Women in Engineering Conference: Empowering Engineers Choices, Challenges and Actions is scheduled for Saturday, April 9. Explore career options, network, build collaborative relationships, form industry partnerships, create mentor relationships, and share experiences. Call (206) 543-4810 for information about the event; call (206) 543-6450 (voice)/543-6452 (TDD) to request disability-related accommodations.

Access '94
Access '94, A community event for business leaders and people with disabilities, will be held Tuesdays May 17 and June 7, at the Seattle Center. For information call Peter Heymman (206) 323-7826; to volunteer to help with the event call Jennifer Nelson, (206) 553-7661.

Pacific Northwest Technology Conference
The 1994 Pacific Northwest Technology Conference will be held April 27-30, at Meydenbauer Convention Center, Bellevue. Learn how technology can transform limitations into opportunities for those with special needs through attendance at presentations and exhibits. Call the Washington Technology Access Center (206) 776-3663 for information.

Integrating Talent with Technology
A celebration of technology in education and beyond--Integrating Talent with Technology--is scheduled for April 1-2, at Lake Washington Technical College, Kirkland, WA. Call (206) 881-4421 for information.

Exploring Battelle Laboratories


Robotics, materials sciences, fisheries biology and more are what was seen in a walk-through tour of the Battelle labs in Richland experienced by two DO-IT Scholars.

Now, another tour is being set-up for the remaining DO-IT Scholars during the month of April. Katie, a fellow DO-IT Scholar, and I are the hosts of the tour. We saw a lot about the Hanford cleanup and all the things that are still being worked on today at Hanford.

Did you know that materials sciences helped a lot during Desert Storm? Materials Sciences is not only very useful, but it is lots of fun and quite interesting, too. Katie and I saw and felt some of the many different parts of an astronauts gear that are developed by materials scientists.

What about water cleanup technology? Everyone knows that clean water is a necessity of everyday life. Have you ever thought about the different cycles the water needs to go through to be considered drinkable?

How about all the salmon in the Columbia River? Did you realize that the Columbia River's fish need to be checked due to the cleanup? Hanford has a large variety of fish that are being tested daily.

All of the labs were very interesting and could certainly be learned from. The fisheries biology lab was lots of fun, and I think all of the DO-IT Scholars will enjoy it and every lab that Katie and I chose to have the Scholars tour. All the labs were fun!

Traveling the Internet


There are many diseases that exist in this world that require patients to stay in the hospital for a month or more. Living in a hospital for long periods with no recreation except maybe a TV, novel, or a radio does not sound thrilling or interesting enough for most hospitalized students.

From my experience, I believe that computers are the machines that can really help pass the time by providing lots of learning and recreation.

Computers are an important communication resource for hospitalized students. Through the Internet, students can talk to people throughout the world by just sitting in one room and keying the words on a keyboard. They can checkout books that they want to read from the libraries on the Internet and can read them on their computer screen. Students also can nourish their minds by playing fascinating computer games. There are many other things that students can do on computers without requiring any help.

To be hospitalized is the most frustrating thing in the world, but thanks to modern technology and the development of things such as computers, modems and all other computer technology, hospitalized students have help to get through their days lying on a hospital bed. I highly recommend using computers for hospitalized students.

NOTE: Nadira was able to use her DO-IT computer and Internet account to communicate during her stay at Children's Hospital.

Technology Tips

Dan Comden

The past two "Tech Tips" columns have mentioned how to find help for UNIX commands (the man command) and how to list files in a directory using ls. The next step is to understand how to create new directories to better organize your file area. For example, you might want to keep information about gopher and ftp sites in a directory called "Internet" while other files such as downloaded pictures might go in a directory called "Images." With a well-organized directory structure, you can easily retrieve information you've saved, with little searching.

As you know by now, you have a directory where you begin when you first login to your UNIX account. This is called your home directory. If you think of the computer as a building, and directories as individual offices, you can consider your home directory to be your very own office. Since this is your office, you can organize it however you like! You can put all your magazines in one drawer of your desk, hang pictures on the wall, or even stack all your stuff right in the middle of the floor. Whatever you do in your office or home directory doesn't impact anyone else.

But as you might imagine, it's easier to have a well-organized directory structure just like it's better to keep your office as efficiently laid out as possible.

So how do you expand and explore your directory area? Use the cd, mkdir, and rmdir, commands to move between, create, remove directories. The pwd command is useful to check your current location.

What directory am I in?
The pwd command is quite useful to determine your present working directory. Just type pwd at any time and the operating system will respond with your current location (e.g., /w0/danc/Images).
Changing directories
The cd (for change directory) command is used to move from one directory to another. For example, if you have a directory called "Images" that is one level down from your current directory, you would type cd Images.

Remember that UNIX is case sensitive. In other words, if a file or directory name has capitalized letters, you must type the name exactly as it's shown in order for the command to be successful.

A nice feature of the cd command is that if you type it without specifying a directory, you will return to your home directory. This is useful if you are many subdirectories away from your home directory and wish to quickly return "home."

Creating and removing a directory
Use the mkdir (short for "make directory") command to create a new subdirectory. For example, if you wanted to create a directory called "Gopher" type mkdir Gopher. You may have noticed by now that I capitalize the first letter of directory names. This is a method I've used to help me quickly recognize the difference between file names and directory names when I use the ls command to list the contents of a directory.

If you create a directory that you no longer want, use the rmdir command to remove a directory. The format is similar to the mkdir command, as you must specify the name of the directory you wish to delete. This command removes the directory called "Books": rmdir Books

Note that a directory must not have any files in it in order for it to be removed. This is to help keep you from inadvertently losing files that you may want to save.

Removing a file
Use the rm command with caution. Once a file is deleted, there's a good chance that it's lost forever! The structure of the command is simple. For example, if you have a file called "tribbles" in the current directory that you wish to remove, you enter rm tribbles.

For additional information on any of these commands, remember that you can use the man command along with the command in question to get more details and options.

DO-IT Does It Again at the UW Computer Fair - March 16 and 17

Mark your calendar! The University of Washington is hosting a program for those associated with and interested in DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) at the 20th annual UW Computer Fair. All Fair events are free and take place in the HUB (Husky Union Building) on the Seattle campus. Many seminars and exhibits on each day of the Fair are of interest to DO-IT associates; the March 16 activities listed below are of special interest.

10:00 am - 8:00 pm DO-IT Exhibit
Visit the DO-IT booth featuring computers and adaptive technology for individuals with disabilities. (Also available Thursday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.) Booths 309 - 311 in the exhibit area.

4:00-4:45 pm More Than Bandwidth: Building a Grassroots Community Network
Aki Namioka, Seattle Community Network. While corporations are offering 500 channels, learn how SCN is building a network to support the community and participation in democracy. HUB 310.

5:00-5:45 pm What Happens in a K-12 School When the Students, Parents, and Teachers Gain Access to the Internet
Fred Dust, Headmaster, Bush School. The problems and possibilities that the Bush School has discovered in allowing students, parents, and teachers access to the Internet, as well as the future impact of the Internet on K-12 schools. HUB 310.

5:30 pm - 8:30 pm DO-IT Hospitality Suite.
Stop by for an opportunity to pick up a treat and mingle with other individuals participating in or interested in DO-IT. HUB 309.

6:00-6:45 pm Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT).
Dr. J. Ray Bowen, UW Dean of Engineering; Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, UW Computing and Communications and DO-IT Scholar Randy. The use of computers, adaptive technology and the Internet in a program for individuals with disabilities. HUB 310.

7:00-7:45 pm Stepping Stones
Pat Kemp, Executive Director, RCH Technical Institute. Using computer technology to make the transition between high school and employment for individuals with disabilities. HUB 310.

For further information about DO-IT call (206) 685-DOIT (685-3648). For information about the UW Computer Fair call (206) 543-3630.

Program Pairs Engineers and Disabled Students

Serena Shubert

Two of DO-IT's goals are to help students with disabilities hone their interests in science, engineering and mathematics and to encourage them to stay in school, completing their college degrees. Several innovative programs across the country share similar goals.

An example is a program at Howard University that pairs disabled students with engineering students in an effort to keep undergraduate engineers in school. The idea is to give engineering students real-life problems that will peak their interest while providing a service to others in the community. According to an article by Robert Bellinger in December 18, 1993 edition of The EE Times (a weekly newspaper written for electronic engineers), the partnership seems to be working.

Howard's student electrical engineers, working with a $20,000 grant from NEC Foundation of America, teamed up with disabled students from Sharpe School to find out what kinds of products would be most helpful. The engineers then designed and built prototypes of products to fulfill specific needs.

Here are a two examples of some of the working prototypes developed:

  • a rapid charger that recharges the battery that powers an electric wheelchair in an hour--a process that usually takes eight hours
  • a more sensitive remote control that uses tongue pressure. This device turns appliances on and off

The engineering students learned how to work through all stages of a project--from the design to prototyping to marketing--but more importantly, they learned to think of the end user.

But perhaps the most important outcome of this project was the relationships that developed between the Howard and Sharpe students. Professor Gary Harris, who developed the program, said that the projects helped breakdown perceived notions that the Howard students had about persons with disabilities.

Even after the projects were finished, several of the team members continued to communicate with each other to preserve the friendships that developed over the course of the program.