Q: Please tell us about yourself and the path that led you to the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) initiative.
Bellman: I'm Scott Bellman. I am the program manager at DO-IT. I have a master's
degree in rehabilitation counseling and earned my undergraduate degree in
psychology and business. I am a licensed mental health counselor in
Washington State. I also serve on several boards and committees, including
the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment. I joined the
DO-IT team in 2001, because I am very interested in the career development
of individuals with disabilities and their full participation in society.
Q: Tell us about the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) initiative. Why was it created? In a few words can you please tell us the programs, services and resources do you offer and who do you serve?
Bellman: The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology)
Center is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through
technology and education. It promotes awareness and accessibilityin both
the classroom and the workplaceto maximize the potential of individuals
with disabilities and make our communities more vibrant, diverse, and
The DO-IT Center strives to:
- Increase the success of people with disabilities in challenging
academic programs and careers.
- Promote the application of universal design to physical spaces,
information technology, instruction, and services.
- Freely distribute online content, publications, and videos for use in
presentations, exhibits, and the classroom.
- Provide resources for students with disabilities, K-12 educators,
postsecondary faculty and administrators, librarians, employers, parents,
Q: Can you please elaborate on three of DO-IT?s programs: (1) Access Computing; (2) Access Engineering, and (3) AccessSTEM Careers.
DO-IT Pals: DO-IT Pals is an electronic community of teens with
disabilities planning for college and careers. They engage with each
other, mentors, and DO-IT Staff and learn about useful resources.
DO-IT Pals use the Internet to explore academic and career interests. It
is their door to the information and resources they need for success.
AccessComputing: High school, college, and graduate students with
disabilities can connect with mentors and professionals to learn about
internships and other opportunities in computing fields.
AccessSTEM CAREERS: AccessSTEM CAREERS, a DO-IT project funded by the
Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, promotes STEM fields to students
with disabilities in the Seattle area and works with career centers at
local colleges to make their offerings welcoming and accessible to
students with disabilities. Project partners include the University of
Washington, Bellevue College, and the Seattle Community College District.
Q: Tell us of the importance of programs such as DO-IT in the education and development of students with special needs.
Bellman: Students with disabilities need access to encouraging adults in the form
of teachers, parents, and mentors. They also need access to empowering
technology, including assistive technology. Programs that promote
mentoring and technology have been shown to contribute to the success of
students with disabilities.
Q: In your opinion, what are the 3 main challenges students with special needs face in terms of pursuing their STEM Education?
1. Lack of role models and supportive adults.
2. Lack of technology and assistive technology.
3. Inadequate preparation in secondary school for college classes.
Q: In your estimation, how can we improve the STEM participation of students with special needs?
Bellman: Provide opportunities for mentoring, improve the K-12 education system for
students with disabilities, and provide access to technology.