AccessEngineering Project Staff and Leadership Team

Project Staff

Project staff directly work towards AccessEngineering's goals by organizing events, collaborating with the leadership team, and creating resources to promote more students with disabilities in engineering education and careers.

Image of Sheryl

PI Sheryl Burgstahler is the founder and director of the DO-IT Center and the Access Technology Center and is an Affiliate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. Her teaching and research focus on the successful transition of students with disabilities to college and careers and on the application of universal design to technology, learning activities, physical spaces, and student services in educational settings.

Image of Maya

Co-PI Maya Cakmak is an assistant professor at UW in the Computer Science & Engineering department, where she directs the Human-Centered Robotics lab. She received her PhD in Robotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, after which she spent a year as a post-doctoral research fellow at the robotics company Willow Garage. Her research interests are in human-robot interaction, end-user programming and assistive robotics. Her work aims to develop robots that can be programmed and controlled by a diverse group of users with unique needs and preferences to do useful tasks. Maya's work has been published at major Robotics and AI conferences and journals, demonstrated live in various venues and has been featured in numerous media outlets. She teaches undergraduate human-computer interaction and robotics courses.

Image of Kat

Co-PI Kat Steele 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. She received her PhD and MS in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and her BS from the Colorado School of Mines. She was recently awarded one of the first NIH K12 Career Development Grants in Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering. Her research focuses on combining device design, dynamic musculoskeletal simulation, and medical imaging to improve diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. She also teaches courses on medical device innovation and biomechanics. Dr. Steele has worked in multiple clinical environments including the Cleveland Clinic, the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Image of Brianna

Brianna Blaser is a counselor/coordinator at the DO-IT Center. She earned a bachelors degree in math and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD in women studies at the University of Washington. She has a background in broadening participation and career development in science and engineering fields. Before joining DO-IT, she was the project director for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Science Careers Outreach Program.

Image of Lyla

Lyla Mae Crawford is a counselor/coordinator at the DO-IT Center. She holds a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology. With a background in disability testing, support services, and outreach activities, she coordinates publication content development and online community engagement and serves as internal evaluator.



Leadership Team

A diverse group of engineering faculty and administrators serve on the Faculty Leadership Team. The group includes engineering faculty and administrators who have experiences working with students with disabilities, who have personally experienced a disability, have expertise in assistive technology or other disability-related issues, who have directed departments or other academic/program units, and/or who have included disability/accessibility content in courses and professional conferences.

  • Christopher Atchison
    Assistant Professor, Science Education, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Christopher Andersen
    Associate Professor, Ohio University, Athens, OH
  • Kimberly Bigelow
    Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
  • Sheryl Burgstahler
    Affiliate Professor, Education and Director of Accessible Technology Services, UW, Seattle, WA
  • Maya Cakmak
    Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Human-Centered Robotics Lab, UW, Seattle, WA
  • David Chesney
    Lecturer in Computer Science and Engineering; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Song Choi
    Assistant Dean, College of Engineering; University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI
  • Bradley Duerstock
    Associate Professor of Engineering Practice, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Jenna Gorlewicz
    Assistant Professor, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology ; Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO
  • Ayanna Howard
    Motorola Foundation Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Science and Associate Director of Research, Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines; Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
  • Richard Ladner
    Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UW, Seattle, WA
  • Jonathan Lazar
    Professor, Director of IS Program, Towson University, Towson, MD
  • Stephanie Ludi
    Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
  • Daniela Marghitu
    Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering and Director of the Auburn University Laboratory for Education and Assistive Technology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • William Smart
    Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
  • Leyf Starling
    Upper School Faculty, Durham Academy, Durham, NC
  • Katherine Steele
    Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Ability Lab, UW
  • Robert Stodden
    Professor and Director, Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI
  • Robert Viens
    Science Dean, Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA
  • Chang-Yu Wu
    Professor and Department Head, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL