December 3, 2012 |

Free college-prep program for Washington high school students with disabilities

The University of Washington's DO-IT Scholars<> program invites applications from Washington state High School sophomores and juniors with disabilities who are interested in preparing for college and challenging careers.

DO-IT, which stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology, introduces High School students with disabilities to technology, peer support and work-based learning in an effort to help them be successful in a college environment. The program last year marked the 20th anniversary<> since it was launched.

About 16 students are selected each year. DO-IT is seeking students who:

* Are High School sophomores or juniors.

* Have an aptitude and interest in attending college.

* Have a disability such as a mobility impairment, learning disability, sensory impairment, or health condition.

* Want to meet other college-bound students with disabilities.

Selected applicants will travel to Seattle over three summers to take part in a one- or two-week program in which they participate in academic lectures and labs; live in residence halls; and practice skills that will help them become independent and successful in college. Participants are loaned laptop computers, software and adaptive technology for long-term use in their homes and at school or work. This technology enables them to continue to network online with peers, DO-IT staff and DO-IT mentors, many of whom are working professionals with disabilities.

At summer study sessions students learn about college selection, career options, technology and self-advocacy. Living in dormitories and navigating the campus also helps them get an early taste of college life.

Meals, housing and accommodation are covered. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education. There is no cost to students who participate.

"Some young people with disabilities have expectations that are lower than they need to be," said Sheryl Burgstahler, director of accessible technologies in UW Technology Services and founder and director of DO-IT. "We try to change that. Our focus is on the use of empowering technology and teaching students the skills they need to succeed in challenging careers."

Students are encouraged to apply by Jan. 10, 2013, but enrollment continues until all positions are filled. For more information or application materials, contact the DO-IT office at 206-685-3648 (V/TTY), or download forms at


For more information, contact DO-IT project coordinator Scott Bellman at 206-685-3648 or<>.

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