DO-IT (Disabilities Opportunities Internetworking Technology) Scholars Program

An Effective Practice


The DO-IT Scholars Program is designed to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. The program includes the following three phases. Phase I consists of internetworking, mentoring, and Summer Study I (a two-week seminar during the summer the Scholars are accepted into the program). During internetworking, Scholars learn to use computers to enrich their education and to explore academic and career interests. Special adaptive technology is loaned as needed to Scholars for the duration of their program participation. During mentoring, college students, faculty, and practicing professionals in technical fields (many of whom have disabilities) work with Scholars. During the two-week seminar, called Summer Study I, Scholars live in residence halls for at the University of Washington and participate in lectures and labs. Phase II takes place the second year of the Scholars involvement in the program, and provides them with information and assistance about college application procedures. It also includes projects, internetworking and mentoring, and Summer Study II. During the project section, Scholars design and complete independent and team projects. During internetworking and mentoring, Scholars act as peer mentors for incoming DO-IT Scholars. During Summer Study II, Scholars return to the University of Washington for one week in the summer to complete projects and to meet with other key personnel. Phase III occurs the final year of program involvement, and includes opportunities for Scholars to work in internships and contribute to the DO-IT community. After high school graduation, Scholars become program Ambassadors and help with program activities, participate in electronic communication, and mentor young Scholars.

Goal / Mission

The goal of the DO-IT Scholars Program is to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. Its mission is to promote the use of computing and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment.

Results / Accomplishments

More than 350 students with disabilities have participated in the DO-IT Scholars program. Participants reported increases in computer and academic skills, social skills, and employment skills. Participants in the program had increased access to computers (from 91% before the program to 100% after participation) and to the internet (from 84% to 98%). Participants also increased access to adaptive software or hardware from 27% to 64%. A majority of participants (69%) completed at least one internship, and 96% had access to mentors, up from 34% before participating in the program. All participants in the program have either graduated high school or are still enrolled, compared to a nationwide dropout rate of 21% among students with disabilities. Among those that have graduated high school, 96% enrolled in college.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Sheryl Burgstahler
Director, DO-IT
Box 354842
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-0622
Economy / Employment
Education / Student Performance K-12
Health / Disabilities
University of Washington
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Seattle, WA
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