Minigrants: Support Your Event (AccessComputing News Feb 2009)

Michael Richardson, AccessComputing Manager

Since February 2006, AccessComputing has contributed funds to support computing-related activities, training, and experiential learning opportunities nationwide. Individuals can seek funding to support:

  • an existing campus computing event to attract and involve students with disabilities
  • a stand-alone event to attract and support students with disabilities in computing fields

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) received an AccessComputing minigrant to fund a stand-alone event. This event gave incoming freshmen with disabilities a running start, as they made the critical transition from high school to college and explored potential studies and careers in computing fields. In conjunction with UMD's orientation program for incoming freshmen, the UMD Career Services and Disability Services and Resources (DS&R) departments held a special orientation program, called Orientation 2, for incoming freshmen with disabilities. This workshop introduced students with disabilities to college, DS&R, assistive technology, computing careers, and self-advocacy. It included an introduction to adaptive technologies used on campus, including an opportunity to try assistive software programs. A science and engineering panel of students with disabilities exposed the freshmen to role models and potential mentors. Panelists shared academic experiences, accommodation strategies, and led a campus tour. Career Services staff led a discussion that featured computing fields of study at UMD. A student affairs advisor from the College of Science and Engineering talked about computing fields and study strategies.

A companion workshop at Orientation 2 for parents educated them about DS&R, college transition issues, and ways to support their children's development of self-determination.

For more information or to apply for a minigrant, visit