DO-IT News May 2016: All Articles

This page features all the articles from the DO-IT News May 2016 newsletter. This newsletter can also be viewed article by article on the DO-IT News May 2016 page.

Meet the 2016 Scholars!

Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT Director
Phase I Scholars Emily and Chana laugh while using a computer.

This summer DO-IT will host its twenty-fourth annual Summer Study program for DO‑IT Scholars, providing participants the opportunity to experience life on a college campus and explore challenging academic and career fields such as those in science, engineering, and computing. Primary funding for the Scholars program is provided by Washington State.

I am pleased to introduce to you the new Scholars:

Adrian attends Edmonds Woodway High School and enjoys history, biology, football and wrestling. He hopes to be an NFL player and/or a video game designer or tester. He is deaf.

Bryce likes to work with animals and might want to be a veterinarian. He has dyslexia. He attends Chelan High School and enjoys math and English.

Cameron attends Newport High School in Bellevue where he enjoys math and history. He hopes to pursue a career in law. He has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic.

Jack enjoys math and would like to pursue a career that uses his skills in math. He attends Evergreen High School in Vancouver. He is on the honor roll and is on the autistic spectrum.

Jarrod attends West Seattle High School and enjoys arts and sciences. He also enjoys video games.

CSNE Director Eric Chudler shows two Scholars some information about brains.

Jon would like to be a video game designer and use his interests in math and science to get him there. He has cerebral palsy. He attends Oroville High School.

Kylee enjoys English and biology at John R Rogers High School in Spokane. She hopes to become either an actress or a child care specialist. She has cerebral palsy.

Micayla attends Ballard High School in Seattle. She has left hemiplegia from a stroke and seizures. She hopes her interests in computers and science lead to a career in graphic arts and animation.

Naomi enjoys studying writing and psychology. She plans to pursue a career in psychology or neuropsychology. She is part of a home school co-op and attends classes at Cascade College as a part of Running Start. She has cerebral palsy and dyslexia.

Rob likes history and chemistry. He would like to be a teacher or engineer or pursue his interest in environmental science. He attends Tesla STEM High School.

Rochelle has a wide range of interests in international relations, business and politics. She enjoys history and English at the Center School in Seattle. She will be traveling to Japan to live with a host family this summer. She has dyslexia.

Ryan attends Shorewood High School in Shoreline and has cerebral palsy. He enjoys science and English. He hopes to go into the field of computing.

A scholar uses an accessible bike.

Serena enjoys history and the arts. She hopes to go in to game design development. She attends Chiawana High School in Pasco. She is quadrapeligic.

Takashi has a visual impairment and attends Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. He loves to dance and philosophy, though he loves all of his classes.

Teresa hopes to attend medical school with her passion for math and science. She lives in Vancouver and attends Mountain View High School. She is on the dance team, in the choir and part of the school leadership program. Teresa was born without arms.

Veronica is interested in the field of digital media and loves animals. She enjoys math and choir, and you can usually find her on the honor roll at Eisenhower High School in Yakima. She is quadriplegic.

Ziyu enjoys math and science at Everett High School. He has muscular dystrophy and hopes to pursue a career in technology.

Keynote Address Given Via Beam Robot

Brianna Blaser, DO-IT Staff
Someone uses a Beam Robot to move around the conference room.

Attending and presenting at conferences is an important part of building a professional resume. However, traveling to conferences can be difficult, whether due to the time spent on an airplane, personal obligations, or a disability that makes travel difficult. The Beam telepresence robot, from Suitable Technologies, allows individuals to attend a conference remotely. The Beam Robot features a screen and two cameras, and moves about on wheels, allowing users to control the robot from anywhere via their computer and the Internet. For people with disabilities or those who cannot travel easily for other reasons, attending a conference remotely offers a way to still share ideas and network.

At the AccessEngineering Capacity Building Institute (CBI), held on April 5-8 in Seattle,  Dr. Bradley Duerstock from Purdue University presented a keynote address on accessible hands-on learning via the Beam. Brad stood at the front of the room in the form of a Beam and used Skype to share his desktop so his presentation could be projected. After his presentation, Brad answered questions from the audience, moving about the room and facing each person who asked a question. Throughout the CBI, Brad was able to attend presentations, network with other participants, and participate in working groups and discussions.

The CBI was held as part of the AccessEngineering project, which engages faculty and students nationwide in efforts to (1) better serve a diverse student body, including students with a broad range of disabilities, in engineering courses and programs, and (2) integrate relevant disability-related and universal design content into engineering courses. Attendees included engineering faculty members, professional engineers, individuals with disabilities, disability experts, and engineering educators from universities across the country. The CBI had a particular focus on accessible hands-on learning and design and integrating information about accessibility and universal design into the engineering curriculum.

2016 CSUN Conference: Student Recap and Review

Dustine Bowker, DO-IT Ambassador
Students with Disabilities sit in a conference room.

The 31st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference coincided with spring break for most of us students who attended. This year, eight students had the grand opportunity of attending the conference with DO-IT, a regular contributor to the CSUN Conference. This conference, hosted in San Diego by California State University, Northridge (CSUN), featured a wide collection of accessible technology products and ideas from regional, national, and international vendors.

During the first two days we attended several pre-conference workshops, where we engaged in a variety of hands-on activities with other conference participants. These workshops ranged from iOS 9 and Apple Watch accessibility to an accessible user design experience studio. During the conference itself we attended a variety of presentations on various topics around disability and technology. Topics included web accessibility guidelines in New Zealand, China, and other countries; inclusive education on a global scale; and accessibility of apps, including those from Google, Yahoo Fantasy Sports, and Apple.

Each of us had the chance to host the DO‑IT booth in the conference’s exhibit hall, an area where participants got to know more about regional, national, and international companies and organizations promoting accessibility, as well as purchase accessibility related products. We shared DO-IT’s purpose, activities, and resources to hundreds of participants, and shared how they can continue to engage with us. We met with representatives from a variety of companies, seeking to improve their employment diversity. It was a pleasure to meet everyone who stopped by our booth at CSUN.

While we learned about the various forms of accessible technology and ideas of accessibility to a diverse audience, our experiences with the CSUN conference reminded us of the importance of ensuring the accessibility of these events. Based on our experiences with attending conference sessions, workshops, and other related events, we realize how challenging it is to make events fully accessible and how important it is to give feedback and advocate for yourself to have your voice heard.

We look forward to witnessing any upcoming breakthroughs in technology, law and policy, and education that further promotes people with disabilities in the future.

Disability Disclosure for Students in the Workplace

Tami Tidwell, DO-IT Staff

Developing a plan for if, when, and how to disclose your disability in the workplace is important as you prepare for internships and career jobs. To help participants form said plan, AccessSTEM CAREERS hosted its annual Disability Disclosure workshop on March 31st.

During this workshop, participants explored options for disclosure and heard from a panel of both local employees with disabilities and employers for their perspectives. Audience members shared their experiences and struggles and asked questions of the panel.

There is no singular right way to disclose your disability. It all comes down to personal preference. Every individual may go about it in a slightly different manner. The approach may change depending on the particular situation.

There was another disability disclosure event at Bellevue College on May 17th. For more information on these events or to learn how to host your own, contact Tami Tidwell at

Engineering Discovery Days

Debra Zawada, DO-IT Staff
Two scholars man a booth with accessible science equipment and a brailler.

DO-IT’s AccessSTEM and AccessComputing projects participated again this year at Engineering Discovery Days, where students and faculty from all UW engineering departments share their work with students, teachers, families and the public. We drew quite a crowd each day with a display of accessible science equipment, examples of alternate keyboards and mice, as well as our most popular feature, the name tag brailing station. Students lined up to braille their names.

Students were also fascinated by the science equipment on display. The talking tape measure, talking scale, and color teller were popular items for the students to play with. They also were intrigued by the magnetic stirring equipment, which they turned up to the fastest speed. There was lots of excitement around the accessibility of the equipment and the idea that this equipment allows more students to participate.

Engineering Discovery Days is always fun and gives DO-IT an opportunity to increase awareness about accessibility to a younger crowd.

Awards Abound for DO-IT Partners

Brianna Blaser, DO-IT Staff
Profile image of Andy Stefik.

DO-IT has been excited to see many of our partners receive significant awards from national organizations and their own institutions over the last few months, including the following:

  • AccessCSForAll PI Andreas Stefik of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas was named a White House Champion of Change for Computing Education. For the last decade, he has been creating technologies that make it easier for people, including those with disabilities, to write computer software. Stefik braved travel during a blizzard to visit the White House to receive the award. AccessCSForAll collaborator Jane Margolis was also named a White House Champion of Change.
  • AccessEngineering co-PI Kat M. Steele, received the University of Washington (UW) College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award. Kat is an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at UW and the director of the Ability Lab, focused on using engineering and design to improve human ability.
  • AccessComputing and AccessEngineering partner Jonathan Lazar of Towson University received the SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction) Social Impact Award. Within the area of human-computer interaction, Dr. Lazar is involved in teaching and research on web accessibility for people with disabilities, user-centered design methods, assistive technology, and public policy.
  • AccessComputing and AccessEngineering partner Ayanna Howard of Georgia Tech received the Computer Research Association’s Habermann Award for her work increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in computing, including students with disabilities.

The Thread: Task Management Applications

Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT Director
A student uses a smartphone.

I wanted to share with you a question posed by an AccessSTEM Team Member from our Internet discussion forum and some of the responses so that you can get the flavor of the many rich conversations the DO-IT community has online. Forum posts are edited for clarity and brevity.

Anyone use a killer task management website or application? Having ADHD, I often get overwhelmed. I use Google Calendar, but I find it doesn’t fit all my needs.

DO-IT Staff: I have heard good things about, but I haven’t dug into it. I’ve also heard good things about EverNote and Microsoft’s OneNote.

AccessComputing Team Member: I use for free on my phone. I am a strong proponent of lists. However my major complaints for are the font size and inability to color code—there are small color markers, but you can’t change the background or highlight.

DO-IT Staff: I am a very visual learner, and sometimes apps put things out of sight out of mind. I like having a classic planner like Plum Paper where I can customize the sections for work, chores, bills, etc. I’ve also used the app Hours, which tracks what I’m doing and for how long. I also sometimes just set a timer so I can focus on one activity for a limited amount of time.

AccessComputing Team Member: Since I am blind, much of this software can be inaccessible and doesn’t work with audio or is very slow and tedious while looking through color codes. I tried using MS Outlook’s task management, but I gave up. I ended up settling on just a text file (Notepad) that I manage myself. I’ll make different text files for each project. Maybe I am biased because I can’t use a lot of the software out there, but it seems like more effort to use the software for me than just keeping these text lists.

AccessComputing Team Member: From my understanding, MS Outlook has a very accessible task schedule that works with Jaws. I personally keep a planner with events and to-dos. When I have a ton going on, I think the task apps can be helpful for never forgetting the little things. A long to-do list adds stress because the list can seem endless, whereas daily tasks are more mentally appealing, even if this means micromanaging tasks.

AccessSTEM Team Member: I use a combination of Wunderlist and Ical to organize my tasks. I really like Wunderlist as it has a built in reminder and priority system and can be synced across platforms. It can also export task lists and send them as an email attachment if I need to print them out.

AccessComputing Team Member: There is an IOS app called Errands that I use to prioritize my tasks.

AccessComputing Team Member: Task management is an issue that almost everyone deals with. If you are looking for something simple, Trello works with both web and mobile. It can handle team projects by assigning different people for tasks. Trello organizes things by project, where you then create tasks as part of a project. There are color labeling options and priorities, and you can post comments, and attach files.

AccessComputing Team Member: I also have ADHD and struggle with managing my to-do list. I’ve found the most success in following David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, where you basically write down everything you need to accomplish, and then sort these items into project categories. The two apps that work best for me are EveryTask and Wunderlist, both of which allow you to set reminders and priority levels.

DO-IT Director: It’s important to prioritize projects, but I also like to think in terms of a timeline, so progress can be made on all projects. I like noting my tasks in a calendar format, whether electronic or paper. I have tasks listed for each day, and when I don’t finish something, I move it to another day. This can also help motivate me to finish things quickly so I don’t have to move it.

DO-IT Staff: I appreciate this thread because I love to-do lists and organizing my tasks. I use a written list and also use Google calendar so if I need to remember to do a specific task by a certain time I can have a reminder email.

DO-IT Ambassador: I also use Trello, which can be organized into to-do, doing, and done. It is great for tasks not done in one sitting or take many days, or tasks with multiple parts. There is a great sample to see how it works here:

DO-IT Staff: I like—it allows me to enter a due date, priority, status, and notes. I can then create filters that allows me to see things in different ways. It has a very intuitive, easy-to-use interface and has both an iPhone and Android app. It is also pretty accessible with VoiceOver.

Thank You, Advisory Board!

A photo of the DO-IT advisory board.

A special thanks to the DO-IT Advisory Board for all their work and support in choosing the newest Scholars every year. The Board is made up of professionals and parents who work diligently to provide us with the best matches for the program.

The Advisory Board also supports DO‑IT in other programs by providing advice and knowledge. DO-IT appreciates their hardwork and thoughtful input!




Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices Call For Articles

Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices

In DO-IT’s online publication, Universal Design in Higher Education: Promising Practices, practitioners share promising practices related to the application of universal design in postsecondary education settings. This collection of promising practices complements the more general content in the printed book, Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice, which recently published a second edition under Harvard Education Press.

This complementary publication is available freely online at It can be freely copied and distributed as a book or in part for noncommercial, educational purposes. The collection will continue to grow as more articles are submitted.

Articles may be submitted at any time to Submitted articles should include specific ways practitioners and researchers have applied universal design in postsecondary settings along with evidence of success. They are peer-reviewed by members of the Universal Design in Higher Education Community of Practice (, and if accepted, edited by DO‑IT. Articles selected for the online resource are freely available on our website. Authors must agree to these conditions while retaining copyrights to their individual contributions. For author guidelines, consult the preface of the book.

About DO-IT

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers, 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.

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

University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
888-972-DOIT (3648) (toll free voice/TTY)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane
206-221-4171 (fax)
Founder and Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.