DO-IT Profiles

Here's your chance to learn more about the participants in DO-IT.

DO-IT Scholar Profile

by Buffy

My name is Buffy and I live in Oregon City, Oregon. Oregon City is 15 minutes away from Portland. I am a senior in high school and I am having a great time. I play basketball, played on varsity since freshman year until now. My team won two state championships and one national title. I am 17 years old living with my brother who is 19 and in college now. I have parents and have 2 dogs, so cute!!! My hobbies are reading, computers, lifting weights, and exercising. My goal may be big but it is to get an 'A' in every class this year and win the state basketball championship one more time.

DO-IT Ambassador Profile

by Katie

Wow! Seems like only yesterday that I was with the first group of DO-IT kids! It was awesome to meet some of the new DO-IT kids when I last visited Summer Study. I try to keep up-to-date with things through e-mail.

Well, I graduated in May 1999! Yes!!! I graduated on May 8 at 8 am, with a B.S. in Biology from Washington State University! I was accepted at Eastern Washington University for Physical Therapy and so that is where I plan to go for the next three years to get my Masters in PT. It is a really intense program and I believe I am one of the first or the first deaf person to do this at EWU. It has been a wonderful experience so far and I'm truly enjoying my graduate experiences. At WSU, a group of us started a Sign Language group which began my freshman year and the second semester I became treasurer. My sophomore year I had the opportunity to be president and vice president. They have meetings regularly and during Mom's Weekend they put on a performance in sign language. An interpreter was there to voice. It is wonderful to see this club grow and I hope it continues to develop and educate others about the deaf culture.

Also...I got married!!! Yes, Katie finally found Mr. Right! His name is Ryan Aiello and we were married on September 4, 1999! Crazy, huh guys! A lot of new stuff and life changes for me happened all in 1999! Right before the year 2000!

To any of the new DO-IT kids who would like to know anything about WSU or college or biology in general, feel free to ask! My disability is deafness. Send e-mail to me at

DO-IT Pal Profile

by Shannon

I'm Shannon and am a high school senior. I live in Oregon. My disability is hearing and visual impairment, and I have glaucoma. I like general sciences (mostly general biology) and I definitely like the computers and technology that go along with it. During my spare time I like to ride horses, make up HTML documents for my school and myself, travel (if I have a large sum of spare time). I also like surfing the 'Net for things that relate to the medical conditions that I have.

DO-IT 2-4 Profile

by Greg Buell

Hi, my name is Greg Buell. I am originally from Kennewick, Washington, also known as the Tri-Cities. It was here that I started my college education at Columbia Basin College. After receiving my AA degree I transferred to Seattle Pacific University, where I majored in communications with a minor in business administration. I just finished an internship with the Seattle Supersonics and after graduating in June, I've been looking toward a long and successful career in public relations around the Puget Sound area. I was born without arms and with slight problems in my left leg (nothing a few major surgeries didn't take care of). I use my feet to do most of my daily activities, including driving, shaving, and eating. My limitations are very few and I enjoy an active life just like most other college students.

My transition from Columbia Basin College (CBC) to Seattle Pacific University was rather smooth thanks to the help provided by the Disabled Student Services (DSS) office at SPU. SPU and its staff were very willing to work with me and to make the necessary adaptations. In considering another private university, I found that they were not very willing to help in many ways. I think prospective students need to contact the DSS office and meet with them to discuss what assistance may be needed. I recommend doing this early in your search for a school. I found the whole SPU community caring and considerate. I think the choice of a smaller school was important to me, considering the assistance that I needed. I found the academics challenging (upper-level classes) and interesting. The professors all had in-depth knowledge of their respective subjects and were interested in their students' success.

Another main factor in a smooth transition for me is getting involved. Last year I just settled in and did not take an active role in extra-curricular activities. This year I have been much more active around campus and I feel like things are 100% better. I enjoy singing, so joining the chapel worship team at SPU was a logical choice for me. I encourage others to find something they enjoy doing and find out how they can become involved in leadership in that area.

DO-IT Mentor Profile

by Bill Taylor

Hi, I am Bill Taylor and perhaps we once met at the SeaTac Airport. It's one of my favorite pick-up spots. Perhaps we have raced to catch a plane, or searched for lost luggage, or called home to let mom know that things were once again in order. SeaTac has been the beginning of a number of friendly e-relationships in recent years.

I volunteered to help DO-IT at dinner one evening with Dave and Sheryl Burgstahler, and my offer was QUICKLY accepted. DO-IT has the ability to find a spot for everyone. Have you tried to escape from the talent show and suddenly found yourself the Master of Ceremonies? Have you tried to ignore the opportunity to discuss your experiences only to find yourself on a panel of experts discussing the subject? Yep, few resources are ignored in DO-IT.

Recently I retired from Boeing only to find that available time could be donated, free of charge, to DO-IT. Normally, that would be a ridiculous arrangement, but there have been some profound experiences in the last few years which make that arrangement too good to pass up. One Scholar commented that she did not think she could attend college because of her disability, but after spending time at the U-Dub she didn't think there would be any problems. Another Scholar said that she had met other intelligent kids with disabilities for the first time in her life at DO-IT. Another Scholar said that his goal was to walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma. Another Scholar said ... the list goes on and on. The comments are important and the emotional impact is unforgettable.

I believe DO-IT Scholars will influence the next millennium and DO-IT provides me the opportunity to communicate with future leaders of our society. There is no Y2K problem here. Perhaps I can influence the future through DO-IT. I know the DO-IT Scholars will.

In real life, skiing and flying small airplanes have been important. I own a pair of skis and a Cessna, but heart disease now prevents me from flying the plane. A medical certificate is not required to ski, as anyone familiar with Skiforall can attest. Travis Burgstahler (Sheryl and Dave's son) and I are in the same ski school.

DO-IT Staff Profile

by Kristin Otis

I will introduce myself as Kristin Otis, but many of you know me as I moved to Seattle in June 1996 to work in my present position as a counselor/coordinator for DO-IT. I help coordinate DO-IT Summer Study, mentoring and outreach efforts. I found DO-IT while I was happily employed in El Centro, California as a speech and language specialist. The position announcement seemed to fit my interests and background too well to pass up. It was an exciting move! A new job, a new city and forty new people to meet within my first three working months. Yes, that's right. I have the privilege of meeting DO-IT Scholars via the Internet throughout the year and face-to-face in the summer. Shortly after my move into my new apartment I took a two week jaunt to the University of Washington campus to fill the role of dorm counselor during the DO-IT Summer Study Program.

DO-IT is the type of program that I should have been involved with, had it been available during my high school years. During my freshman year of college, it was discovered that I had dyslexia. Through an excellent University of Minnesota mentoring program and experimenting with new learning strategies, I learned how to work with my learning style. I can't believe what a different person I am now that I know and understand my disability. It's not fun to struggle with things that your classmates breeze through. I often hid my struggles and questions because I was embarrassed and thus I had a pretty low self image. I became quite an actress. I was lucky to have an incredibly supportive family who always had high expectations. I know I would have never pursued college if I had not been pushed in that direction. College basically gave me the opportunity to have a life that I feel good about.

My learning disability has become an asset in my life. It has forced me to know myself and take responsibility for my future. It's just a part of life and we're all different. When I graduated from high school, I was terrified of failure. Then I found out I had a learning disability and I realized that I had the ability to learn and succeed. That was an incredible turning point in my life and I wish others could share that experience.

I have many hobbies that include traveling, outdoor adventures, art, drama and paying special attention to my many nieces and nephews. The last three years have been good and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet many of you.