Director's Digressions

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

This has been a busy spring for DO-IT Scholars. Rachel and Katie arranged a tour of Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland. Several of the old-timer DO-IT Scholars and two of the new recruits attended along with staff member Dan Comden. Rachel's entertaining report of her experiences is in this issue.

DO-IT Scholar Randy won runner-up in an essay competition with his insightful piece on using the Internet. The national contest was sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics, the NASA K-12 Internet Project, and the National Science Foundation. Randy's prize-winning story in the grade 10-12 category is also reproduced in this issue.

Congratulations also go to DO-IT Scholar Anna. Anna won a prestigious NASA Space Grant Scholarship to the University of Washington. The award covers four years tuition, two years room and board and half room and board plus a part-time job to cover the second two years.

We can also congratulate Rachel for securing a full-summer paid internship at Battelle Laboratories. Way to go Rachel!

The DO-IT Advisory Board Members have spent the last few months reviewing applications for the new DO-IT Scholars. Narrowing the field has not been easy, but the task is done. Adaptive technology specialist Dan Comden has begun the job of designing and installing the individualized computer systems that DO-IT Scholars use as participants in this program. Soon, the new group of Scholars will have the opportunities so well described by Rachel and Randy in this issue.

Another successful Computer Fair has been planned and was presented on March 17-18. The DO-IT booth was especially well-received. Special marks go to Scholars Nhi, Mitch, Randy, Rodney, Anna and several Mentors for helping out in the booth. Randy, Mitch and Mentor Kevin Berg also joined me and Dr. Ray Bowen in a DO-IT presentation that was well attended.

DO-IT was also well represented at the annual Engineering Open House where our new videos were a popular attraction. Scholars Rodney and Katie and Mentor Susan Valdez were especially helpful at our information table.

Dan, Anna and I were guests on the Evergreen Radio Reading Service live talk show. Two mentors, Frank Cuta and Eric Ho, called in with questions and comments. Anna also demonstrated technology at North Seattle Community College.

Career mentor Dr. Elizabeth Thompson and post-secondary Mentor Kevin Berg joined me in a panel discussion of DO-IT at a technology conference in Bellevue.

I have given presentations about DO-IT, adaptive technologies and the Internet at a Cooperative Education Association Conference in Florida and a Northwest Cooperative Education Association Conference in Washington.

Dan and I gave a presentation at an adaptive technology conference at California State University - Northridge. In addition, Dan demonstrated equipment at the Spinal Cord Institute in Seattle. DO-IT staff, Mentors and others delivered a one day workshop to students with disabilities and their parents in April.

On another note, congratulations to Nikki (DO-IT staff) and Rod Stauber on the birth of their daughter, Alita Rai.