2005 DO-IT Trailblazer Awards

Sara Lopez, DO-IT staff

DO-IT Trailblazer awards highlight DO-IT community members who have forged new pathways which will benefit others. For this award we have selected individuals who, through their work and accomplishments, have changed the way the world views people with disabilities and their potential to succeed in challenging careers and activities. The 2005 recipients of the Trailblazer awards are listed below

Karen Braitmayer

Architect, DO-IT Mentor: For accomplishments as a business owner and in progressing accessibility efforts within the field the architecture.

  • Karen is a terrific role model as a person with a disability in a challenging career, business owner, and strong advocate.
  • She is active in DO-IT's electronic mentoring community and a participant on multiple DO-IT panels.
  • Karen worked actively to assist a specific Scholar, who was being discouraged from entering architecture, in learning about how she could be successful in her college courses and about what accommodations might be effective.
  • She created awareness about accessible housing on a 2005 episode of Extreme Makeover-Home Edition
  • Karen has had an impact on the field of architecture and design as an active member of Adaptive Environments, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to researching, gathering, and promoting the most current ideas on Human-Centered Design.

Mylene Padolina

Microsoft Sr. Diversity Consultant, DO-IT Partner: For accomplishments in the integration of disability in the diversity efforts of businesses and programs encouraging youth to pursue high tech career fields.

  • In her role as the Senior Diversity Consultant at Microsoft, Mylene is working to create a corporate environment that is responsive and supportive for employees with disabilities. She is a true champion in the effort to keep disability highly visible and maintain its proper place in the diversity mix.
  • She is an enthusiastic partner of DO-IT supporting field trips to Microsoft, job shadows, encouraging internship applicants, facilitating access to software for Scholars, and recruiting employees with disabilities to participate on panels.
  • Mylene has tirelessly worked to assist DO-IT in connecting with other organizations and networking to increase the inclusion of students with disabilities in other diversity efforts. She is active with the Washington Business Leadership Network, Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities, and the ACCESS Job Fair.


DO-IT Ambassador and '98 Scholar: For accomplishments in increasing access and support on the UW campus and providing a strong role model to students with invisible disabilities.

  • In her third year at the UW, Jessie is pursuing a challenging major in informatics and has been active in pursuing incredible internship opportunities. Jessie turned a high school senior project experience in the UW HIT lab into a summer internship working wtih virtual reality technology. She was selected for the highly competitive AAPD/Microsoft IT internship in Washington DC, and the following year was selected for another D.C. internship with the World Bank Information Solutions group.
  • Articulate and engaging, Jessie participates in DO-IT videos, presentations, panels, and the electronic community. Of tremendous value is Jessie's willingness to disclose and discuss her learning disability, which is not readily apparent.
  • She has recently taken a leadership role in DASA (Disability Advocacy Student Alliance) a new student group here on the UW campus.

Suzanne Weghorst

Assistant director for research, UW Human Interface Technology Lab: For accomplishments in research and providing numerous opportunities for students with disabilities to explore the field of human interface technology.

  • Suzanne is a leader in providing a Phase II workshop and Phase I tour for numerous Summer Study since its early years. These tours and workshops are some of the most highly rated activities on the Summer Study schedule!
  • She is incredibly supportive in establishing HIT Lab internship opportunities for both high school and college students.
  • Suzanne is a leader in research on science applications for students who have disabilities. Her interests and professional work focus on the role of virtual reality in the world of medicine.