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Access to Advancement, Part I: DO-IT & AccessSTEM Improve Transitions to STEM Education and Careers


Seattle, WA – DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology), a program operated by the University of Washington in Seattle, was designed to broaden the participation of people with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. Through AccessSTEM, a project within DO-IT, the University of Washington has partnered with two local community colleges and all high schools within the Seattle Public Schools system to increase the numbers of individuals with disabilities graduating with associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The project works to engage educators, employers, and service providers in making STEM education and careers more welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities. The program also uses evidence-based practices, such as mentoring, peer support, and internships, to increase student success, and distributes information about accessibility to educators, employers, students, and others through an online resource center. This story features DO-IT scholars, such as Emily Horwitz who says the program gave her confidence, as well as DO-IT founder, Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, who describes how DO-IT and AccessSTEM's focus on critical academic junctures is an important part of their success.

For more information about the DO-IT program, please visit www.washington.edu/doit.To learn more about AccessSTEM, visit www.washington.edu/doit/Stem. For information on the college and career pathways of students who have participated in DO-IT projects, please read the report of the AccessSTEM/ AccessComputing/ DO-IT Longitudinal Transition Study at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/tracking2.html.

Featured in this story: Emily Horwitz, high school student and DO-IT scholar; Jessie Shulman, DO-IT mentor; Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, founder and director of DO-IT, and director of AccessSTEM; Yomara Bedolla, high school student and DO-IT scholar; Anna Golden, college student; Patricia Walsh, program manager at Microsoft; Mylene Padolina, senior outreach manager at Microsoft.