AccessEngineering featured on UW College of Engineering’s website

Thanks to AccessEngineering and other DO-IT programs, I don’t feel like I’m pursuing my education alone, or that I have to figure out how to overcome obstacles that others don’t have to by myself.

AccessEngineering, an interdisciplinary universal design program co-led by Dr. Kat Steele at the University of Washington, was featured on the College of Engineering’s news webpage.

Since it’s launch in 2014, AccessEngineering has sought to champion the development of a diverse, well-prepared workforce of engineering graduates and university faculty. One of the key ways that this program seeks to promote this agenda is by increasing general participation of individuals with disabilities in engineering. AccessEngineering also aims to promote their core goals by improving engineering education. The primary means by which this group seeks to enrich the curriculum is by integrating disability-related and universal design content into engineering courses.

Dr. Kat Steele coordinates AccessEngineering at the UW with Dr. Maya Cakmak, an assistant professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, and Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, director of UW Access Technology and the DO-IT Center.

To read about AccessEngineering program as posted on College of Engineering website, follow this LINK, or visit the program’s website.

Make it Universal

AccessEngineering and Dr. Steele’s recent work on creating guidelines for making makerspaces accessible was featured in the School Library Journal. It is a great resource, featuring different DIY and makerspace movements that support individuals with disabilities around the US. In particular, check out some of theAccessEngineering and DO-IT summer students explore the CoMotion makerspace. great work on how toys can be easily hacked for individuals with disabilities from John Schimmel and Holly Cohen, cofounders of DIYAbility, .

You can read the full article here:

Make It Universal

Capacity Building Institute

CBI participants.The proceedings from AccessEngineering’s first Capacity Building Institute have been published on-line.

This institute focused on bringing together faculty, staff, and students from engineering departments around the country to discuss how to support individuals with disabilities in pursuing careers in engineering.

There were many wonderful presentations and discussions. In particular check out:

These discussions helped to inform several new resources from AccessEngineering including:

The Capacity Building Institute was hosted at the University of Washington-Seattle April 7-9, 2015. Please let us know if you are interested in participating next year!

KUOW Feature: Accessible Makerspaces

Brainstorm session for creating accessible makerspaces.We were privileged to have Jamala Henderson from KUOW Public Radio join in during our brainstorms and activities for creating accessible makerspaces.

She has put together a wonderful news story about our project and included some great quotes from the students about why we should create accessible makerspaces:

“The cool thing about engineering spaces is a lot of people use engineering spaces to help solve other problems for people with disabilities, and I think it would be cool if people with disabilities were more involved with solving their own problems.” – Kayla Wheeler

Listen to the full story here: KUOW 94.9 FM

KING 5 News: Makerspaces

Hannah giving an interview for KING 5 News.Check out KING 5 News at around 5:30pm this evening. They will be featuring a short piece on AccessEngineering‘s guidelines for creating accessible makerspaces.

You can view the final video and story here.

Hannah, one of the UW DO-IT Scholars who helped to create the guidelines, did a great job in the hot seat! She helped to share her experiences as an individual with visual impairments for making a welcoming and accessible space. She contributed key observations such as remembering how important mental maps are for individuals with visual impairments. Having flexible workspaces (furniture on wheels, etc) is great in makerspaces, but having key equipment organized and in fixed locations helps her build a mental map of the space. Hannah will be a freshman at UW in the fall and is considering majoring in physics or engineering. I’m sure she will have many creative things to build in the makerspace as a new student.
Go Hannah!