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Purple arrow (1137 bytes)The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Program

Posted with permission of  DO-IT.

The information in this resource includes the following


The United States needs citizens trained in science, engineering, and mathematics, including individuals from traditionally under-represented groups such as women, ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities. DO-IT is a project located at the University of Washington and funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in science, engineering, and mathematics academic programs and careers.  DO-IT 's programs include:

DO-IT Scholars

DO-IT Scholars is a program for high school students with disabilities who have an interest and aptitude in science, engineering, or math, and who have a desire to attend college. The students are brought together with mentors (college students, faculty, practicing scientists) through electronic communication and project using the Internet.

DO-IT Workshops and Presentations

DO-IT Staff deliver workshops and presentations including:

Faculty Awareness.  DO-IT faculty awareness presentations at the UW are designed to increase the awareness of student potential, improve faculty attitudes regarding working with students with disabilities, and provide creative and practical approaches for ensuring access to educational opportunities.

Adaptive Technology.  Half-day workshops at the UW provide information and demonstrations of adaptive computer technologies available to people who have disabilities.

College Transition.  Full-day workshops for pre-college students with disabilities, parents, teachers, and service providers cover college preparation strategies, entrance requirements, financial resources, accommodations, campus resources, and adaptive computer technologies.

Conferences.  DO-IT presentations tailored to specific education, disability, science, engineering, and mathematics conference audiences are regularly delivered by DO-IT staff, Scholars, and mentors.

DO-IT Electronic Resources

Electronic access to extensive resources is available through DO-IT's discussion lists, electronic newsletter subscription service, and gopher server ( Internet resources and discussions focus on disability-related issues and science, engineering, and mathematics.

DO-IT Publications and Videotapes

DO-IT creates and distributes materials to those who wish to create similar programs or enhance existing high school and post-secondary programs for students with disabilities. Publications are available in print or electronic formats and include:

DO-IT Events

Throughout the year, disabled students, mentors, teachers, and service-providers are invited to participate in science-related activities hosted by the University, corporations, and other organizations. These events are announced in the newsletter and on the Internet.

[ Scholars | Use of the Internet | Mentoring | Info ]

DO-IT Scholars

DO-IT Scholars are high school students with disabilities who have an interest and aptitude in science, engineering, or math, and who have a desire to attend college. DO-IT Scholars are supported in their efforts to prepare for academic studies and careers in science, engineering, and mathematics in the following ways:


DO-IT Scholars are loaned computers, modems, software, and adaptive technology for use in their homes. They learn how to use powerful computer systems and the Internet network to access information and to communicate with vast numbers of people in the expanding global electronic community.


DO-IT Scholars gain valuable academic, career, and personal insight by communicating electronically with mentors. Mentors are students, faculty, and practicing scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, many with disabilities themselves.

Summer Study

DO-IT Scholars attend summer study programs at the University of Washington. They experience college life by participating in science, engineering, and mathematics lectures and labs; living in university residence halls; and practicing skills which will help them to be more independent and successful in a college setting.

[ Scholars | Use of the Internet | Mentoring | Info ]

Use of the Internet in DO-IT

by Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph. D. Posted with permission of the author.
This publication was primarily funded by the National Science Foundation as part of Project DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology).

Computer and network technologies have become indispensable tools in virtually all post-secondary academic programs. The Internet network provides a rich environment for electronic communication and information access.

Networking services create new options for independent and convenient access to on-line library catalogs, books, journals, encyclopedias, dictionaries, newspapers, and other information resources for individuals with disabilities who have computer systems, adaptive technology, and network access. The Internet is a collection of networks that use the same protocol suite in order to function as a single, giant network. It joins a wide variety of devices from laptop computers to super-computers and connects more than ten million people around the world. Many people connect to the Internet through colleges, universities, corporations, and other organizations. In addition, some commercial service providers allow individuals to purchase accounts. These services usually charge an initial setup fee and an hourly fee.

Access to computers and the Internet is an integral part of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) project at the University of Washington. The goal of DO-IT is to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in science, engineering, and mathematics academic programs and careers.

DO-IT Scholars are high school students with disabilities who have an interest and aptitude in science and mathematics. They are loaned computer systems and appropriate adaptive technology. DO-IT Scholars are provided with Internet connections and matched with mentors. Mentors are practicing engineers, scientists, and post-secondary students in science, engineering, and mathematics; most have disabilities themselves. DO-IT Scholars attend two summer programs at the University of Washington where they are introduced to college life and to disciplines in science, engineering, and mathematics.

How do DO-IT Scholars access the Internet?

DO-IT Scholars use a variety of adaptive computer technologies. For example, those who are blind use voice and Braille output. Individuals with mobility impairments use alternative keyboards. Individuals with low vision use enlarged characters displayed on large monitors. Standard computers, modems, and communications software are used for Internet access once the appropriate adaptive technology is acquired. Most DO-IT Scholars access the Internet from home using standard telephone lines.

The following creative means for providing dial-up Internet access from DO-IT Scholar homes are employed:

For what purposes do DO-IT Scholars use the Internet?

Once appropriate methods are found to operate computers, the Internet provides many options for electronic communication and information access. For example, DO-IT Scholars who have visual impairments can access materials electronically and their adaptive technologies provide voice, Braille, and large print output. Individuals who cannot remove materials from shelves, hold newspapers, or turn pages in a book can use their adaptive devices to access materials to read and manipulate independently on their screens. DO-IT Scholars also use the Internet to:

Welcome to Mentorhood!

Posted with permission of Sheryl Bergstahler, DO-IT Program.

A key component of DO-IT is electronic mentoring. DO-IT participants (high school students with disabilities) are brought together with mentors (college students, faculty, practicing engineers and scientists, most with disabilities themselves) through electronic communications and joint projects using the Internet, to stimulate interest and achievement in science, engineering and mathematics. While most communication occurs via electronic mail, some mentors meet their proteges during a two week summer study program at the University of Washington or at other DO-IT activities.

Most of us can think of one or more people in our lives, more experienced than ourselves, who've supplied information, offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated friendship or simply expressed an interest in our development as a person. Without their intervention we may have remained on the same path, perhaps continuing a horizontal progression through our academic, career or personal lives.

As a mentor, you are a valuable resource to DO-IT participants, your proteges. As a guide, counselor and friend, you inspire and facilitate academic, career and personal achievements. The developmental transitions faced by DO-IT participants in each of these areas are enriched by your experience, wisdom and guidance. Your role as mentor is a mix of friend and teacher. Relationships developed with your proteges become channels for the passage of information, advice, challenges, opportunities and support with the ultimate goals of facilitating achievement and having fun.

How is this accomplished? There are probably as many mentoring styles as there are personality types and no one can be everything to one person. Each DO-IT participant benefits from contact with several mentors. The challenge and fun of mentoring is developing your own personal style for sharing the special strengths and skills you have to offer.

Following are a few suggestions for getting started as a DO-IT mentor. DO-IT staff welcome your ideas for suggestions to pass on to future mentors. Happy Mentoring!!

Getting Started

DO-IT Mentors offer Proteges . . .


DO-IT, Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology
University of Washington


Web site:


Primary funding for the DO-IT project is provided by the National Science Foundation. Additional grants have been provided by NEC Foundation of America and US West Communications. The University of Washington also contributes substantial resources.

Additional partners include: Advanced Networking and Services, Battelle Pacific N.W. Laboratory; Clark College; Communications Technology Center; The Evergreen State College; Grand Coulee Dam School District; Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy; Kiwanis; Laurence Livermore Supercomputer Center; Microsoft/Pacwest District; NorthWestNet; Pacific Science Center; Portland State University; Skagit Valley Community College; Southern Oregon State College; University of Puget Sound; Washington Library Network; Washington North Central Educational Service District; Washington Northwest Educational Service District; Washington School Information Processing Cooperative; and WEdNet.

[ Scholars | Use of the Internet | Mentoring | Info ]

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.