DO-IT News January 1997

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Volume 5, Number 1

Below are the articles of the DO-IT News January 1997 newsletter. These articles can also be seen all on one page at the Full Newsletter option.

Director's Digressions

Sheryl Burgstahler

We completed our fourth DO-IT Summer Study session this past August. Thirty-eight DO-IT Scholars participated as campers; four Ambassadors worked as interns. They represented twelve different states. We all worked hard, learned a lot, and ended up exhausted!

One plus in the DO-IT program is we don't lose contact over the year because we're all on the Internet. Serious and not-so-serious conversations help create a strong support system for all involved. To give you a sample of the types of communications that take place throughout the year, I'll share a part of one conversation thread about terminology used to describe people with disabilities. It took place on our DO-IT discussion lists for Scholars, Ambassadors, and Mentors this past spring. Below I've listed parts of some of the messages; some comments have been edited to save space.

  • The term "differently-abled" drives me nuts. It strikes me as a phrase coined by non-disabled people who were trying to be politically correct but really had no idea what they were talking about. Some non-disabled people tend to think, also, that a term referring to a deficit, rather than a difference, is offensive to us. I don't know about everyone else, but I know I'm not offended by it. I do still prefer "disabled" to "handicapped"; however, my mom still uses "handicapped". I always tell her, "Handicaps are for bowlers and golfers..."
  • In fact the word "disable" comes from the union between the Greek prefix "dys-" that means, "in a different way" plus "able".
  • The word 'handicapped' comes from the phrase 'to beg with cap in hand' and is from an era where that was all people with disabilities were allowed to do, or could do. I really don't like the concept of being politically correct (PC). My personal guess is that PC was created by a bunch of people who felt guilty about how they treated others. Bottom line is as long as it shows respect for the person, that's cool. I prefer "person with a disability", "person with...", etc. The point is the person is coming first and is separated from the disability.
  • The phrase "differently-abled" annoys me. Granted this is total personal preference, but my belief is that there is nothing inherent in a disability that makes us better in something else. Besides, the "differently-abled" term tends to provoke the "supercrip" image.
  • See, what the problem is with these names is that they're to get us all into one group for convenience's sake. But for each of us, there is a term that's true. I'm blind for example. If you say I'm blind, I state, "Yes I am." But physically challenged, disabled, handicapped...Hmmmm.
  • I have a bumper sticker on my car that reads, "The real disability is attitude." You are right! The day we stop needing the labels is the day it will truly be inclusion. I sometimes forget I am deaf because the "silence" has become so normal and on those days I am startled to be labeled. Let's work for that day when we are people first and not the labels!
  • If people feel it's necessary to describe me, I prefer my name and "who is physically challenged". Too many people associate cerebral palsy with mental disabilities [which irritates me!].
  • Does anybody find that people who aren't disabled spend way too much time thinking up new ways to call "Us?" In the 70's and earlier most of us were called "cripples". That seemed a little too cold so throughout the 80's we were called "handicapped" or "disabled." But now in the (PC) 90's we've seemed to gain the phrase "physically challenged." So that brings me to my question: do you guys feel any different when any of these names are used?
  • I feel differently when different labels are put on me. When someone says, "What disease do YOU have?" It hurts like hell, no matter how much self worth I have or how good I know myself.
  • No, it doesn't hurt or change anything when I'm called handicapped, physically-challenged, or even disabled. No, I don't think I'm any of these things. However, our society has norms that no one can and ever will live up to. Therefore, we must categorize the way people don't fit into the norm. We have names for the groups of people with different skin colors. We have names for the people of different religions. We even have names for the groups of people from different countries. The human mind must categorize things. I can't think of every single item in its scope as an individual entity, because it would take up too much processing, and way too much storage space. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a computer science geek :) )

    Yes, it's not nice when someone walks up to you and says, bluntly, "Hey, what's wrong with you?" But remember that this person is curious. My experience has been that if you tell them about your disability they are sometimes actually interested. Granted, you have to keep it on a low level, no scientific jargon and all that, but if you educate one person about your disability, dispel one rumor, isn't it worth the anger at the bluntness of the question?

  • That's what I was trying to say earlier. I guess it didn't come out right. We must categorize people, although it may sometimes hurt who we categorize. is still worth it because that one person will feel nicer to the next, but it's still frustrating when it seems like everyone feels the need to be rude, ask, or stare.
  • Being labeled might not change who you are, but it might affect people's attitudes toward you. The extreme example is that "cripple" to me has a very negative connotation. I don't think there is anything wrong with the term "handicapped". After all, any sort of disability is a handicap in certain ways, but that doesn't mean you can't figure out ways around the handicap. For example, as a blind person, I can't drive, but I can take the bus, walk, take a cab, or get a ride from someone.
  • Well, I don't really think of this too much. I guess I just say to them or think, I am who I am. I don't think of my disability or whatever you want to call it at the time. I really don't think of it at all unless someone brings it up.
  • Well, as a lot of you were saying, you weren't bothered by the labels. I'm not either. I just don't like them. I'm a person like everyone else and have my problems. We can get help if we need it. We just don't have to make a scene out of it.
  • Actually, this reminds me of how one day I was walking through campus last year and I suddenly realized that I'm technically a minority. I was shocked!!! It's just so weird to think that someone somewhere would consider me to be that. Because I don't. *shrug* Very strange.
  • An insight that people who get carried away with labeling need to catch is that we are all partially disabled, whether our disability is being hair growth impaired, having a crippled tolerance perspective, or just being blind to the feelings of our fellow travelers.
  • People who use labels to put others in a frame of reference (A BOX) that helps make their world make sense.
  • A couple of conclusions that I've come to are these. First, we "label" things so that we CAN talk about them. That is the purpose of language -- to identify people, places, things, ideas, and feelings. If we had no term to describe a person who has a disability, we would not have the Americans with Disabilities Act, this discussion list, or any of the other access instruments that we've all seen develop in the past several years. I don't think the problem is necessarily in the language, but rather in the negative feelings that may be behind the language. Humans have to communicate, and we do it most often through language. Identifying our thoughts and objects and even people as clearly as possible is a good thing. Using language to discriminate or be cruel is a bad thing.
  • I'm simply [name 1].
  • I've been watching the responses to this "label" deal for several days now. Not until I read your response did I get this thought - you know when you said, "I'm simply [name 1]. I only hope the world can someday come to that same attitude about all people." Well, it hit me that I don't hold much hope for that. The world, as I know it today, thrives on labels. And this is one area the world isn't prejudiced. We've got geek, nerd, grunge, cool, old, stupid, woman, dude, poor, rich, street, queer, black, yankee, hick, red-neck, deaf, dumb, etc., etc. It seems that if there weren't labels - no one on this planet would know how to talk about someone else. I'm with you, [name 1].... just call me [name 2].
  • Persons with disabilities is the term I use most, but I have discovered something. Yes, I am blind, but most people I meet have a disability. Not in the way that most people think of disabilities, but in a different way. Some people have such a large chip on their shoulder that this is a disabling condition. I've met people who were so egotistical that this caused major problems in their life.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I believe everybody has a disability of one type or another. This may be a little radical, but it helps me understand my position in society. I'm right in there with everybody else. Look for people's strengths, not their weaknesses.

  • Bingo. That's just what I mean. We need to be remembered for who we are, not what is wrong. If that would be the case, things would be pretty scary. Need I say more?
  • It is not impossible, but difficult to teach people to be more sensitive and understanding to how we feel when they give us different labels. But, I don't blame anybody if they don't treat me the way I want to be treated, because I know that they are not in my shoes. They can never have that mental approach where they can see or feel what I want them to see or feel, because they don't experience what I do, and this is their disability. I have a beautiful life to spend. I have so many goals to achieve and dreams to seize. I am on my way to success, I have no time to stop and hear what they think I am, because what they think of me is none of my business.

And, this was only part of the thought-provoking conversation we had about labeling. As for me, just call me an NDA (Not Diagnosed with Anything) - for now, at least.

Summer Study '96: What Did the Phase I Scholars Do?

Sheryl Burgstahler

DO-IT Phase I Scholars participated in a live-in summer study session on the beautiful University of Washington campus in Seattle. They learned about college life; explored science, engineering, mathematics, and technology; surfed the Internet; and had fun. Below, Phase I Scholars share some of their experiences.

Medical Workshops

by Lucas, '96 Scholar

On Tuesday, August 13, the DO-IT Phase I Scholars participated in a medical workshop presented by two science professors of the University of Washington. We were taught about how a person with a disability and an interest in a medical career can enter the field and have a successful career.

The first lecturer concentrated on research and discovery science. This field is a little more limited when it comes to adapting. It involves a combination of observatory skills, hands-on techniques, and good use of the five senses. When a disabled person adapts actions to meet his/her needs, the work variety narrows and the focus can become more specialized.

The next lecturer was an occupational therapist who spoke about how occupational and physical therapists work together with employers to evaluate applicants and employees with disabilities using assistive technology equipment in the workplace. There are a number of respected professions in the field of rehabilitation in which these professionals provide services to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Having a disability and adapting it correctly could actually be an advantage for the person, as their ability to be precise and more efficient is important in this line of work.

The medical field has a wide range of possibilities. If the interest and desire is there, there is almost certainly a field in which you can enjoy and do a great job.

Accessibility to Library Videotape Assignment

by Zachary, '96 Scholar

All the Phase I Scholars during the 1996 Summer Study worked on a video project concerning the accessibility of public libraries to people with disabilities. The Scholars were divided according to their disabilities and met during their lunch hour to plan and discuss the material that should be included in a video. However, before actual discussion could begin, the intended audience had to be selected. Once the audience was agreed upon, discussion could then proceed. The purpose of the video is to make the audience aware of the technology available in order to make public libraries more accessible to those with disabilities. Discussion focused on ways of implementing technology to provide access to public libraries.

The Scholars help create videos to disseminate information in order to make people more aware of the difficulties faced by those with disabilities. We all like to travel to distant lands, swim with the fish, fly with the birds, and let our imagination take us to the unimaginable: all of this is possible because of libraries and the many treasures contained in them. The video, called World Wide Web Access, will be available from DO-IT by the end of November for $25.

Digital Imaging

by Dana, '96 Scholar

As computers slowly take over every part of daily life some way or another the number of fields in which computers can be used in has increased. In one field in particular computers are used more and more often. That field is the one called art. For years now artists ranging from musicians to painters have been using computers in one way or another. The musician, for instance, uses computers to make sounds on there instruments that would otherwise be impossible to make. The painters use computers to plan out what they want to paint and also make computer painting or digital images.

Right now there are lots of jobs in the world of art and music that require computer skills, from planning an artist's works or designing a sound system to maximize the band's music in a live performance. Sticking with the subject of digital imaging computers are being used more and more in the advertising department from selling shoes to toothpaste. Another closely related field to digital imaging is computer animation which has been proven to be very successful after the launch of the movie Toy Story.

People that want to make a living using their artistic abilities have to be creative. For instance in the music industry only a number of bands I feel stand out for being creative. If you remember in the later half of the eighties a new band caught on that would change the music industry for ever. The name of that band was Nirvana. By incorporating simple guitar lines and heavy bass and drum parts Nirvana created music later to be called grunge. In the fields of computers and art being creative is a must.

Space, Flight, and Atmospheric Sciences

by Kevin and Anh, '96 Scholars

During the 1996 Summer Session, we learned about what it's like to be in space, we toured the Museum of Flight, and learned about weather and radiation.

Pinky Nelson was an astronaut who told us the "411" about being in space. He told us about some of the more bizarre stuff that happens when you are in space.

Our field trip to the Museum of Flight, which includes displays about aviation, was very interesting. We got to see vintage planes. We also got to see the Blue Angels take off and land.

The Daisy lecture was entertaining. The speakers talked about radiation and how color (daisy) can affect our weather. The lecture was one of the most interesting ones we had.

College Quirks

by Katrina, '96 Scholar

My impressions of campus life through my experience at the DO-IT Summer Study have been both good and bad. Let me give you the upside. I have met many neat people. I have learned to communicate more effectively in a social setting. I learned how to work with different types of people on projects. The experience has increased my confidence that I can make a success of going to college. The down side is that college is not home. The food can be terrible at times. You lose a lot of conveniences and comfort. You have to abide by a curfew. I feel that the pros outweigh the cons by far.

My experience has been very different from my expectations. I had to consider how to get around on campus. While I had thought about it, I did not realize the complexity involved. I have learned about the process of requesting accommodations I will need to attend college. Learning in a college environment is different from high school. There is a lot more discussion and lecture. The experience has taught me about what I'll need to consider to prepare for college.

Aside from costs and the quality of the classes offered, I learned that there are some other things it may be important to know before choosing a college. The University of Washington seems to me to be one of the most accessible to those with disabilities of any that I have visited. While this is definitely important to those who are disabled, I have decided that it is important to me for different reasons. I have never really had the chance to meet such a wide variety of gifted people. In choosing a college that is accessible to disabled people, as well as ethnically diverse, you get the chance to meet so many GREAT people, and that's not something I'd ever want to miss out on.

HTML Editing

by Dave and Dan, '96 Scholars

During the 96 Summer Study, David Edfeldt helped Phase I Scholars create our own personal Web pages. We made some very interesting pages. You can see them by visiting the DO-IT home page at Once you have entered DO-IT's Web site, scroll down a little, and select Summer Session . After that page has loaded, select 1996 Summer Session . Next, select DO-IT Summer Sessions, then Web pages . After you have done that, a list of the Scholars will appear and you can select a name to view that person's page.

DO-IT Impressions

by Jodi and Travis, '96 Scholars

Some of my impressions are that DO-IT is different from high school in that you have more freedom to choose what you want to do and then do things your way. Campus life is very different from what we are used to at home. You have to go to so many different buildings; one building to sleep, another to get some food, other buildings for classes. It is a lot harder than when you are at home and everything is under one roof and you don't have to memorize so many routes to get the basic things you need in a day.

DO-IT puts a lot of new and different responsibilities on your shoulders. You learn some very neat things like working on the Internet. DO-IT is a challenge, but a good challenge.

Internet Scavenging

by John, '96 Scholar

Browsing the WWW is fun and educational. You can find out about the weather, entertainment, politics, and all kinds of interesting things. Electronic discussion groups provide valuable information too.

Summer Study '96: What Did the Phase II Scholars Do?

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

Electrical Engineering Workshop

by Michael, Bror, Jeremy, Jorja, and Matt, '95 Scholars

We took an electrical engineering class for our '96 Summer Study. We learned from the five-day class:

Day 1 - Studied the design and learned the operation of the D-camera.

Day 2 - Learned the mechanics behind the operation of tape recorders and radios. We also got the opportunity learn how to take these devices apart to replace damaged motors.

Day 3 - Learned how CD's operate in conduction with audio-machines such as coding, frequency, and timing. We were also informed of the common errors people make that destroy CD's and how we can educate ourselves and others to avoid these costly mistakes.

Day 4 - Learned how continuation audio amplifiers affect sound distribution and observed the parts of the machine. Also observed the electrical functioning of the machine when it's working and malfunctioning.

In 5 days we learned a lot about how engineering works in everyday objects. It was a very fascinating class.

Game of Life Workshop

by CJ, Shawn, Matthew, and Priscilla, '95 Scholars

The Game of Life workshop was one of those projects where you wish you could keep working forever. The projects that we worked on have been some of the most fun and exciting that we have ever done. The Game of Life was invented by John Conway about 1970. It is a game where there are certain rules that govern when cells die, when they are born, and when they continue to live. Because it is usually played on a grid, you aren't limited to using a computer.

In the workshop, we learned a lot about the programming language C and used it to make some interesting and useful utilities. For instance, Shawn made a program that improves the contrast of a grayscale image. We also have one that fills in a rectangle from the upper left corner to the lower right. One of the most fun things that happened was a result of a mistake made by CJ. While trying to make a fill routine, he ended up making something akin to a screen saver.

After participating in the Game of Life workshop, we came away from it with a greater understanding of C and image processing. More information about The Game of Life can be found in a book by Martin Gardner titled, "Wheels, Life and other Mathematical Amusements."

Technical Communication

by Aimee, '95 Scholar

Our Phase II Summer Study group learned many things with the help of our wonderful instructor, Serena Shubert. We were taught how to develop information suited for viewing on a computer screen. Todd, Jesse, and I used a Mac authoring tool to help us develop a useful and entertaining computer document about our subject: first dates. Our project is called, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Dating Manual for the 1990's." As we created the manual, we were taught, and in some cases, reminded, on how to do mapping, links, buttons, create text, use graphics, use advanced organizers, and animation. We challenged our minds, creativity and had a great deal of fun learning about the many aspects of technical communications.

We started by brainstorming our ideas of how to get started, what we would write about, and how we would end our presentation. We ended up creating the different sections to our project using Hypercard. Consequently, we were able to create a title page, an acknowledgments page, two chapters, a quiz over the content, and a glossary of our own special terms. Because of the tact of our instructor, parts of our project were edited.

Our project enticed the readers with an eye-catching title page and a well deserved acknowledgments page. Chapter one informed the readers how to get a date by asking them what kind of person they were attracted to, what kind of places they are attracted to, and asked them how they tried to attract this person. Chapter two told the reader the importance of body language, table manners, morals, religion, avoiding conversation about previous dating experiences, traditional rituals, and the inevitable dilemma of saying good-bye. The quiz was humorous and a little corny. The glossary containing our own terminology was as creative as it is funny.

We had a lot of fun creating our project with our fellow Scholars. We learned a lot and are continuing to learn with enthusiasm. We hope that in the future every Phase II Scholar can have an awesome Summer Study group and have as much fun as we did.

Genetics Workshop

by Rachel, Bill, Bridget, Janny, '95 Scholars

There are different procedures used to manipulate the DNA in order to create a desired protein, molecule, etc. Being able to do this, scientists can do a lot of good in areas of medicine and disease resistance, and it also serves as a foundation for future discoveries to build upon.

During our one-week Phase II workshop, we basically manipulated the plasmid DNA, which is a small circular piece of DNA, by putting the Streptavidin gene in to produce more of and create a certain protein. We also learned about a valuable technique called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) that allows scientists to make lots and lots of DNA from a very small amount.

We all loved this workshop!!! It's so fun working with all the equipment such as pipetmen, centrifuges, spectrometer, and gel electrophoresis. A few of us are planning on pursuing genetics as a career. Those of us who may not continue this particular field have had an experience we will never forget. Thanks DO-IT!

High School Graduates - We DID-IT!

Priscilla, '95 Scholar

Hi Everybody,

On June 18, 1996 I graduated from Nathan Hale High School. Woo-hoo!! I can't believe it but I did it! I'm so happy. I actually walked in the graduation ceremony, yes you read it right I "walked." I decided to surprise everyone and walk, instead of using my wheelchair. It went fairly well, although there were a few things that went wrong, like they forgot to have someone help me up the ramp, but that's ok because my walking partner just helped me up the stairs along with a friend of mine. It was just as well if not better.

I received a lot of compliments about my choosing to walk in graduation and nobody seemed to care that I needed more time to get around. At first I felt bad because it seemed like I was holding up the entire graduation process but my classmates didn't care so that made me feel a lot better. To tell you the truth, they said that I definitely deserved to hold things up and people were just going to have to wait because they felt that it took a lot from me to walk in and participate just like everyone else. Graduated-woo-hoo!

Congratulations to all of the 1996 graduates and hope that all of you had a wonderful graduation. Three cheers to the Class of 1996 - we did it!!


Note: The DO-IT Scholars who graduated in 1996 are CJ, Jorja, Aimee, Matt, Jeremy, Carly, Todd, Priscilla, Anthony, Ben, Daniel, Mike, Nguyen, Sarah, Katherine, Kristin, and Erofei.

DO-IT Did It in D.C.

Priscilla, '95 Scholar

The day after graduation, I had the honor of going to Washington D.C. to be a part of a three-day National Science Foundation conference, where DO-IT had a booth and a panel presentation. I demonstrated adaptive technology using Dragon Dictate. Kris, DO-IT Ambassador, demonstrated accessible science lab equipment. Mentors Steve Norse, Ed Potharst, and Frank Cuta helped as well as DO-IT staff Dan Comden and Sheryl Burgstahler. DO-IT was a hit, very successful and people were quite impressed with what the DO-IT program was all about. This was a wonderful opportunity and most definitely a great experience! I hope to do something like this again sometime.

Summer Camps '96: What Did DO-IT Campers Do?

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

DO-IT hosts programs at existing camps for childern and youth with disabilities. At Camp Courage, Minnesota, DO-IT teaches a 10-day program on Internet use, college preparation, studies in careers, science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. At other camps, DO-IT offers Internet, science, and college preview experiences for campers. After their DO-IT Camper experience, many participants become DO-IT Pals, where they continue to communicate each other and with the DO-IT Mentors on the Internet. Below, three DO-IT Campers share some of their experiences from Camp Courage. Contact the DO-IT office at (206) 685-DOIT for more information about DO-IT Campers or access the DO-IT home page at

DO-IT Did it at Camp Courage

by Gina

My name is Gina. I have been going to Camp Courage for about 4 years now and this year I decided to check out the DO-IT Camp Courage computer/college preview program. It has been a lot of fun. We have learned how to use the Internet. My favorite thing on computers is global chat. I think that it is fun to get to know people through the Internet. We also did e-mail and we searched the Internet. One day we actually got to go to St. Cloud State University. We got to see a radio studio. We got to hear about how to manage our time and how to survive in college. I'm legally blind and I had software called Close View on my computer so that was a new experience for me. We also got to do camp activities like swimming, horseback riding and other things. If you are interested in going to a camp, Camp Courage is the way to go!

Camp Courage

by Tiffany

This was my first year ever at Camp Courage. I enjoyed it a lot. Here at camp, we do everything from horseback riding to surfing the Net. It was really fun and interesting. Every day here was different because the counselors plan different activities every day. It was impossible to get bored. My favorite activities here were the Talent Show and chatting on the Global Chat service. My friend's favorite activities were swimming in the pool and walking on the paths through the woods.

Camp Courage is not like any other camp you've been to. Everyone there is disabled from things like cerebral palsy to blindness. In fact Camp Courage is the only one of its kind in the entire U.S. Last year, three brand new cabins were built with money donated from companies like TCF Banking. The cabins are like mini resorts rather than cabins.

Camp Courage is located on Cedar Lake. We tube and swim on that too. If you like to help people or if you want to be a camper at some summer camp, you should definitely look into Camp Courage.

Computer Camp Story

by Tracy

Hello! My name is Tracy. I will be a high school senior this fall in South Dakota. This is my first experience at the DO-IT/Camp Courage Internet and College Prep camp. I learned more about e-mail, discussion groups, gophers, and finding my way around the World Wide Web. This camp gave me an opportunity to meet new people, learn more about college life and employment, and access the wealth of information on the Internet. The staff was friendly and helpful. I hope I will be able to come back next summer.

DO-IT Seeking 1997 Scholars

Darin Stageberg

We need your help in finding potential 1997 DO-IT Scholars! We are actively recruiting U.S. high school sophomores with disabilities to participate in the DO-IT Scholars program. Juniors may also apply. Candidates must be interested in science, engineering, mathematics or technology and plan to attend college. We are interested in attracting students who will become leaders and are interested in helping others with disabilities achieve success. Applicants should submit their applications as soon as possible and no later than December 31, 1996.

DO-IT Pals

Darin Stageberg

You've heard of the DO-IT Scholars. You've heard of the DO-IT Campers. You've heard of the DO-IT Mentors. Well, watch out for the DO-IT Pals! DO-IT Pals form an electronic community of pre-college students with disabilities from around the world, who support one another in their efforts to pursue college degrees and careers in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. They communicate with each other, get advice from DO-IT Mentors, and participate in projects throughout the year. To become a DO-IT Pal, you must meet the following requirements:

  • be a high school freshman, sophomore, or junior
  • have access to a computer and the Internet
  • be interested in attending a 2- or 4-year college
  • have interests in science, engineering, mathematics, or technology
  • want to communicate and work together with other students with disabilities who have common interests

Contact the DO-IT office for a DO-IT Pals application packet.

Scholar Profiles

Scholar Profile

by Michael

My name is Michael and I am a 16-year-old from Maine. I love computers, music, sports, and anything else fun! I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which is a pretty big problem in school. Most of my teachers are understanding enough for me to still do well. I think that if it weren't for computers, I would not be half as far along as I am now.

Scholar Profile

by Chris

My name is Chris and I am from Minot, North Dakota. I'm a 17 year old senior in high school. I have had a profound hearing loss since I was born. I am interested in computer technology. I hope to go to college and become a person who works with computers. I spend most of my time surfing the Internet and enjoying the outdoors.

Mentor Profiles

Mentor Profile

by Juanita Sloss

I am a 40-year-old special education teacher. I have degrees in psychology and elementary education, with an endorsement in special education. I am an enrolled member of the Blackfoot tribe of Indians, Browning, Montana.

In 1989 I completed my M.Ed. in reading education. One of my main pursuits in education is finding and implementing different techniques to teach mathematics and science for kids, both regular education and for disabled kids. Throughout my life I have struggled with depression, low self esteem, people telling me that I'm not working up to my potential, living on the edge, looking for excitement, getting lost, getting in trouble for saying inappropriate things, know the story, yet I'm really smart!! Anyway on January 30, 1996 I was diagnosed with severe hyperactivity and severe attention deficit disorder!!! Now I know what the solution is to my life and many of my students! Amazing, huh??

Currently, I am very interested in researching and developing a plan for transition services for Native American kids in rural areas. I'm also trying to find a good doc because I'm developing a RSI (repective stress injury). This explains my limited computer access lately.

Mentor Profile

by Paul A. Zaveruha, M.D.

  1. I'm an overweight 50 year-old guy with a beard, a wife (no beard), three kids (27, 25 and 15-year-olds---big gap there, eh?), one dog (mine), three cats (hers), too much cholesterol and a strange sense of humor.
  2. I am a surgeon in private practice on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound with a special interest in Trauma and Emergency Medical Services. I am on the Auxiliary Faculty in the Department of Surgery at University of Washington and previously was on active staff as assistant professor of Surgery at UW.
  3. I am currently in the extended degree program at UW trying to finish my thesis for the Master of Public Health degree in my spare time (that'll be grade 28 and I still can't spell).
  4. I have a long-standing membership in computer nerd-dom. I went through college using a slide rule (a what?), went on to a TRS-80 in 1978, an Apple-ll in 1982, the MacIntosh family through the rest of the 80's and still some now, the IBM and Windows world since 1990 and the Internet for the past 3 years.
  5. Six years in the Air Force. Only crashed and burned once (not recommended).
  6. Fly fishing is good (catch and release only).
  7. Why am I here? Computers + Medicine + Public Health + YOU (and a friend who may be a DO-IT kid next year).
  8. Other hobbies: Synchronized Swimming whenever the team (Burl Ives, Orson Wells, and Jackie Gleason) and I can get together.

Do You Spend Too Much Time on the Net?

DO-IT Scholars and Ambassadors are Internet power-users. But, sometimes even they feel that they've been on the Net too much. A few of their tests are listed below. Do any apply to you?

You know you've spent too much time on the Internet when:

  • You type "logout" when you are finished with a computer game.
  • You start getting nightmares about getting caught in the World Wide Web.
  • When anyone asks you a question you begin something like this "on Tuesday, 12 Oct 1996 you said...."

DO-IT: Making Campus Computing Facilities Accessible to People with Disabilities

Marvin Crippen, research consultant

On modern (and not so modern) campuses computers are becoming an all important part of the curriculum. Professors and teaching assistants find e-mail as an efficient way of communicating with students that have questions. Syllabi and handouts are frequently created on personal computers. Information about the course, reading and writing assignments, projects, and resources is finding its way onto the World Wide Web. Word processing is a must for creating critical papers and assignments. Computer labs are used to teach and apply key concepts. As a result of all this, accessibility of computing facilities can become all-important to the success of students with disabilities.

As an ongoing project DO-IT has created simple guidelines for making computer labs accessible to people with disabilities. The brochure Making Campus Computing Facilities Accessible to People with Disabilities contains a checklist for accessing computer lab accessibility, a list of helpful communication hints, a list of UW Campus resource, and a list of electronic and print resources that may be useful in finding more information. The brochure is available on the DO-IT home page at or from the DO-IT office.

Technology Tips: Csh, Tcsh

Marvin Crippen, Adaptive Technology Assistant

What is a shell?

A shell is a command language interpreter. It translates your commands so that Unix can understand them. There are a variety of shells and some have more bells and whistles than others. The 3 most common shells are sh (the original, also known as the Bourne shell), csh (Command SHell) and tcsh (an enhanced version of csh). Other shells include bash (Bourne-Again SHell), ksh (Korn SHell) and zsh. The default shell (what you use unless you select something different) on DO-IT's Hawking computer is csh.


Csh features include, but are not limited to, a history mechanism and job control facilities.

History Mechanism

Try typing history at your host system (e.g., hawking) prompt. Csh typically prints out a numbered list of the last 20-30 commands you've typed. To run any of the commands again type !NN where NN is the history number of the previous command. You can also type ! and the first few letters of the command. If you type !ls csh runs the last command that started with ls. If you wish to save more than 20-30 commands in the history list type set history=X where X is the number of items on the history list. Don't make the number too high or csh will run out of memory. To make this change permanent put the set history=X line in your .cshrc (the name of this file is .cshrc no matter what shell you're using) file. It is also possible to do history substitution, running a command from the history list with a few changes to it. For more details on this see the History Substitutions section of the csh manual page (man csh ).

Job Control Features

Let's say you're sending e-mail to someone telling them about the ls command and you want to include a portion of the man page, such as what the -l switch does. You could

  1. postpone the message,
  2. quit Pine (or other electronic mail software you're using),
  3. look up the manual page,
  4. cut out the relevant parts,
  5. quit the man page,
  6. start Pine again,
  7. restart the postponed message and
  8. paste the relevant text.

You would have to go through this process each time you want to copy something from the man page. Or using the job control features of csh you could:

  1. suspend Pine (assuming the enable-suspend feature of Pine is on) by typing <CTRL>-z
  2. look up the manual page
  3. cut out the relevant parts
  4. suspend the man page by typing <CTRL>-Z
  5. go back to composing the message by typing %-
  6. paste the relevant text

If you wanted to copy another section of the ls man page you would type <CTRL>-Z, %- to get to the man page and <CTRL>-Z , %- to get back to Pine.

Typing jobs at your host system prompt displays a numbered list of all suspended jobs. The current job is marked with a plus sign (+) and the previous job is marked with a minus sign (-). To enter a suspended job you can type %+ for the current job, %- for the previous job and %X where X is the number of the job from the jobs command.


Tcsh is an enhanced version of the csh. It behaves exactly like csh but includes some additional utilities such as command line editing and filename/command completion. Tcsh is a great shell for those who are slow typists and/or have trouble remembering Unix commands.

Command Line Editing

Command line editing allows you to access any command from the history list and make edits to it before execution. You can use the up and down arrows keys, or <CTRL>-N (Next) and <CTRL>-P (Previous) to cycle through the history list. You can use the right and left arrow keys, or <CTRL>-B (Backward) and <CTRL>-F (Forward) to position the cursor within a command. Typing inserts text into the command, the Backspace and Delete keys can be used to erase characters from the command. Other useful keys are <CTRL>-A to move to the beginning of a line, <CTRL>-E to move to the end of line, and <CTRL>-C to cancel an edit.

File Name and Command Completion

You can use the <TAB>; key to cut down on the amount of typing you do. When you press the <TAB> key tcsh will try to complete either a filename or a command. If the filename is unique tcsh will type the rest of it. If the filename isn't unique tcsh will complete as much as possible and beep. For example, let's say you have a directory called example/testing/ and in that directory you have a couple of text files called file1.txt and file2.txt and a command called reallysuperlongcommand. If you want to run the command in that directory you type ex <TAB> tes <TAB> real <TAB> and tcsh fills in example/testing/reallysuperlongcommand. If you want to look at file2.txt you type more ex <TAB> tes <TAB> fi <TAB> and tcsh writes more example/testing/file. Since file2.txt is not a unique file name tcsh beeps at this point and finishes the line with 2.txt once you press 2<TAB> .

How to change your shell

To change what shell you use type chsh(CHange SHell) and type in the location of the new shell when prompted. The location of tcsh on the Hawking computer is /usr/local/bin/tcsh. The new shell will not take effect until the next time you log on and will stay in effect until you change it again.

For more information about csh and tcsh, consult the appropriate man page (man [shell name]) or send me e-mail at

Calendar of Events

Northwest High-Tech Careers Expo
October 15 - 16, 1996
A two-day recruitment event for leading high-tech companies in Seattle, featuring 85+ top companies. Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Seattle, WA. For more information, call (206) 882-2240 or e-mail
Closing the Gap Conference
October 24 - 26, 1996
Microcomputer technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation. A leading source for information on innovative applications of microcomputer technology for persons with disabilities, in Minneapolis, MN. For more information, contact Closing The Gap, Inc., P.O. Box 68, 526 Main Street, Henderson, MN 56044; Phone: (507) 248-3294; Fax: (507) 248-3810; E-mail: ; URL:
Washington Science Teachers (WSTA) Conference
November 1 - 2, 1996
A two-day event with over 50 essential learning workshops for educators and teachers to attend in Port Angeles, Washington. For more information, contact Silk Purse, WSTA Conference Planners, 1452 Eckard Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362; Phone: (360) 417-0374; E-mail:
Work Now and in the Future 13 Conference
November 3 - 5, 1996
A three-day event with over 100 session featured to challenge people in education, business, labor, and industry to carry out the mission of educational reform: To provide ALL students a solid educational foundation for the future! For more information, contact the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 S.W. Main Street, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204; Phone: (800) 547-6339 ext. 598; FAX: (503) 275-0443; URL:
23rd Annual UW Computer Fair
March 19 - 20, 1997
An opportunity for professionals from the University and the community to present and demonstrate state-of-the-art computer equipment, software, and support materials. All fair activities are free of charge to attendees. For more information, call (206) 543-3630; FAX: (206) 685-4045; E-mail: ; URL:

If you know of an event that relates to science, engineering, mathematics, or technology studies or careers and might be of interest to DO-IT News readers, please notify the DO-IT office.

DO-IT Staff Mentor Profiles

Dan Comden, computer specialist
When not serving as the head technical nerd for DO-IT, I manage the Adaptive Technology Lab at the University of Washington. I have a wife, Louise, who is a pediatric ICU nurse and a son, Zane. Apart from work and family, any spare time is spent working with my search and rescue dog.
Darin Stageberg, counselor/coordinator
My name is Darin Stageberg. I'm originally from Portland, Oregon; however, I've spent the past four years in Idaho before coming aboard DO-IT. I received both my baccalaureate, psychology, and graduate, rehabilitation counseling, degrees from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. I perform a large number of responsibilities in the program ranging from career/vocational counseling to "Dorm Dad". My disability is hard of hearing. It is my goal to provide support and be a role model to youngsters with disabilities. I have an identical twin brother, Bart. Finally, I'm a sports fanatic who enjoys playing basketball, football, and softball.
Kristin Otis, counselor/coordinator
My name is Kristin Otis and I am a coordinator/counselor for DO-IT. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and am the youngest of five children. During my freshman year of college, I discovered that I had a learning disability. This was an incredible turning point in my life. I learned that I COULD learn; although, I didn't completely breeze through college. I did get through! I graduated from the University of Minnesota in June '93 with a BS in communicative disorders. Before DO-IT, I worked as a speech and language specialist in southern California. Now I live in Seattle and am very excited to be a member of the DO-IT team.
Marvin Crippen, computer support
My name is Marvin Crippen and I work for DO-IT. I help Dan out with technical support, work on the DO-IT home page and do some research on making computer and science labs accessible. I also work in the Adaptive Technology Lab so if you're on campus come by and see me.
Sheryl Burgstahler, director
My name is Sheryl Burgstahler. I have a husband, Dave, and a son, Travis. I have Bachelors and Masters degrees in mathematics and a Ph.D. in higher education. I am an assistant director within Computing & Communications and a research assistant professor at the University of Washington. I am particularly interested in how people with disabilities can make use of computers and networks to achieve high levels of independence, productivity, and participation. I'm also interested in how the Internet can be used to create an electronic community...and, of course, I'm very interested in the "doitkids." Oh, by the way, I direct the DO-IT project!

More About DO-IT

DO-IT News is published at the University of Washington with input from the staff, Scholars, Ambassadors, and Mentors of DO-IT. The College of Engineering and Computing & Communications coordinate the program. DO-IT is primarily funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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