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Technology summer camp welcomes disabled high-school students


More than 50 college-bound high-school students with disabilities will come together on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus to participate in the annual DO-IT Scholars Summer Study program.

Beginning Tuesday, new DO-IT scholars will spend 10 days living on campus, participating in an intensive program designed to promote college and career success. DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology. The award-winning program seeks to encourage students with disabilities to participate in challenging academic programs and careers. Participants will learn about careers in fields such as technology, science, engineering and mathematics.

“DO-IT scholars learn about college life by living in a dorm, getting along with a roommate, participating in academic classes, preparing for challenging careers and having fun,” said Sheryl Burgstahler, founder and director of DO-IT. “After the summer study ends, they communicate via the Internet with their new friends and are mentored by successful adults with disabilities. Year after year, they connect through DO-IT activities and are supported as they transition to college and careers.”

The DO-IT scholars program targets high-school sophomores and juniors with disabilities who are interested in pursuing higher education. Students apply to the program in the fall by submitting recommendations from their parents, teachers and counselors. Each year, approximately 20 new students enter the summer study program. Students are then loaned computers, software and adaptive technology to use at home. The program continues with independent projects and online interaction with mentors, teachers and fellow students during the school year.

“Many successful DO-IT scholars continue in the program as mentors to younger participants,” Burgstahler noted.

Second- and third-year students will continue learning while mentoring first-year participants. Returning scholars will stay on campus for seven days. The returning students will work this year on Web page design and accessibility, a human-computer interface project and a project related to environmental conservation.

DO-IT is funded by the state of Washington, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. Other donors include the Boeing Co., Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Department of Labor.


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