Teenagers Tackle Tough Topics

Kevin Berg

Recruiting and retaining disabled students into science, mathematics and engineering programs have been difficult, but the University of Washington, through the DO-IT program, is tackling this problem.

Nineteen high school students with disabilities including blindness, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, learning disability, low vision, health impairment and attention deficit disorder are enrolled in a summer program designed to encourage and hone their interests in these fields.

The students, who come from Washington and Oregon, will live on the UW campus for two weeks this August spending their days participating in science labs, engineering demonstrations and computer exercises. They will learn to navigate the Internet, recycle plastics, grow crystals and create an electronic journal. Experts in their fields will present the lectures, design the demonstrations, facilitate the labs and adapt their programs to suit the audience's special needs.

Although the schedule is challenging, there is still time for fun. Evening and weekend programs include a barbecue, a treasure hunt, a tour of the Pacific Science Center, a trip to downtown Seattle and movie or video nights in the dorms.