Sunday, January 4, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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A Funding Cutoff For Project Do-It

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Last year Project DO-IT won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

But the 1998 crop of 20 DO-IT Scholars may be the last. A grant from the program's biggest funding source, the National Science Foundation, is ending.

DO-IT stands for Disabilities Opportunities Internetworking Technology.

Since 1992, selected high school students with severe disabilities have attended a two-week live-in summer camp at the University of Washington where they're tutored in math, science and technology and use the Internet.

Whether they're blind, deaf, learning-disabled or have severely limited mobility, students can be outfitted with adaptive technology to gain and dispense knowledge through computers.

Over the next two years, they maintain e-mail and personal contact with other students, educators and mentors.

Most of the students go on to college; many attend the UW.

Other aspects of the DO-IT program have benefited tens of thousands more, including DO-IT Pals, an "online community" similar to the networking program for DO-IT Scholars; college transition workshops; adaptive technology seminars; electronic resources and videotapes starring DO-IT Scholars.

Funding for those programs comes from a variety of sources, including the state.

Sheryl Burgstahler, program director, said she would love to see a company such as Microsoft or Intel fund the 20 DO-IT scholars each year.

People with disabilities and their employers need to be upfront about the limitations but not stop there.

"Go the next step and think, `How might you do this?' " Burgstahler said.

"Maybe they can't be exactly what they want to be, but maybe there's another choice that's pretty darn good."

Deadline for application to the DO-IT Scholar program is Jan. 31.

For information, write DO-IT, University of Washington, Box 354842, Seattle, WA 98195-4842. Call 206-685-DOIT (Voice, TDD). Fax: 206-221-4171. E-mail: Web site:

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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