Reports from Panel Discussions (Access to Computing in Higher Education: Capacity Building for BPC Projects 2010)

Photo of several students posing for the camera while working on laptops

Our Paths to Computing-Rich Careers

IT students from the University of California, Los Angeles and a faculty member from New Mexico State University shared their experiences and insights into pursuing a computer science career as a person with a disability. Some panelist comments follow.

  • An education takes hard work and effort; use all of the resources at your disposal to help you succeed and keep your academic goals in sight.
  • Enlist the support of family and friends in your educational pursuits.
  • Choose your career based on your interests as well as career opportunities.
  • Don't focus on what you can't do, focus on what you can do.
  • When you are choosing a school, be sure to look at the physical accessibility of classrooms and the campus.
  • When looking at campuses, be sure to meet with the disability services office to see how helpful they are with accommodating students.
  • Note takers and one-on-one assistants can be helpful for people with certain disabilities.
  • Ask if the disability services office provides exam proctoring, which may provide extra time for test taking.
  • On your campus visit, check out the computer labs and ask if they provide assistive technology, such as one-handed keyboards, voice dictation software, scanners, and other tools for student use.
  • Research other local organizations, such as rehabilitation offices, to see if they can provide assistance.
  • Talk to your advisor to ensure you are taking the correct courses to graduate on time.
  • Make it a priority to initiate and maintain direct contact between yourself and faculty members; consider this type of initiative crucial for students with disabilities.
  • Don't let your disability get you down; everybody has some form of disability.
  • Anything is possible; think of the possibilities. Have a vision of success.