Do-IT: Do-It Pals


PROJECT LOCATION:  Teenage students all over the world

ADMINISTERING ORGANIZATION: Do-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology), which is a collaboration of Computing & Communications and the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Washington. Do-IT serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology.


Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D., Director
University of Washington
Box 355670 Seattle, WA 98195-5670
206-685-DOIT (3648) — voice/TTY
888-972-DOIT (3648) — voice/TTY, from Washington only,
Outside Seattle 206-221-4171 — FAX
509-328-9331 — voice/TTY, Spokane office

FUNDING SOURCE:   Primary funding for the DO-IT program is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education.

POPULATION SERVED: Teenagers with disabilities who want to go to college.

SERVICE TYPE:    A program which links mentors with Do-IT pals (teenagers with disabilities) through frequent electronic mail and personal contacts in order to support DO-IT Pals’ academic, career, and personal goals SERVICES PROVIDED:   Mentors in this program are college students, faculty, and practicing engineers, scientists, and other professionals. Many DO-IT Mentors have disabilities themselves. DO-IT Mentors and staff act as resources and provide assistance. Examples of possible projects include: complete an exhibit or a paper about adaptive technology for people with disabilities for a school assignment; be a “mentor” to younger students with disabilities in the community—become their friend, encourage their interests in school, show them how to use a computer and the Internet; or give a presentation to recruit DO-IT Pals.

DO-IT Mentors are valuable resources for DO-IT Pals. As guides, counselors, teachers, and friends, they inspire and facilitate academic, career, and personal achievements. Relationships developed with Mentors become channels for the passage of information, advice, opportunities, challenges, and support with the ultimate goals of achievement and fun. DO-IT Mentors offer role modeling, information, challenges, goal setting, support, and opportunities to connect with academic, career, and personal contacts.  DO-IT Pals come from all over the world. Experienced DO-IT Pals also develop and practice communication and leadership skills by acting as peer mentors for incoming DO-IT Pals. They make friends and motivate each other to achieve their goals.  DO-IT Pals use the Internet and apply their skills and knowledge in projects based on their interests. A DO-IT Pal who graduates from high school can become a DO-IT Mentor. To get to know Mentors, DO-IT Pals introduce themselves, share their personal, academic, and career interests, describe their future plans, ask Mentors specific questions about disability-related issues, college, careers, and/or transition to adulthood, as well as their personal interests, their academic background, and their career experiences.

DO-IT does not provide funding for computers, adaptive technology, or Internet access for DO-IT Pals; however technical assistance for selecting equipment or an Internet service provider is provided by DO-IT staff. To become part of DO-IT Pals, students need to have access to the Internet, probably from the home, library or school.  Students need an electronic mail account.