Aside from DO-IT Scholars, staff, volunteers and sponsors, there is another integral group of people who make the program what it is -- we call them Mentors. Mentors are assigned to a group of students as they become DO-IT Scholars. However, any Mentor can talk to any Scholar -- and vice versa -- about careers, college, and life in general. Mentors are college students, practicing scientists, and engineers, some with disabilities themselves. The disabilities faced by some of the Mentors are as wide ranging as those faced by Scholars.
Mentors have been as close as graduate students at the University of Washington, where DO-IT is located, or from as far away as Scotland and Australia. Mentors living that far away are limited to Scholar contact through e-mail, whereas Mentors living in the Seattle area can visit campus during the Summer Study and take part in labs and other activities. The philosophy behind the Mentor program is that most of us sometime in our lives have had an individual who has guided us in one direction or another, has taught us a skill or the correct way of doing something, has been a role model, or has just been there for us to talk to. This is the same role that a Mentor fills in the DO-IT program.
In addition, Mentors are there to help Scholars with DO-IT projects. At the end of Summer Study I, Scholars must find a year long project to work on, preferably involving the Internet. This is where Mentors come in -- to help the Scholar meet their goals. Mentors also serve as role models, letting Scholars know who they are, what disabilities challenge them, the kind of academic and/or career workload they have, and what helps them to keep going from to day.
DO-IT continually recruits Mentors. If you're interested, or you know somebody who might be, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request an application. To write a letter to the Mentor group, send e-mail to email@example.com