Project Website: Program ACCESS
(1998 – 2003)
Principal Investigator: David Lovelock, Professor of Mathematics
Georgia Ehlers, Graduate College
Ali Mehrabian, Civil Engineering
John Olson, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Program ACCESS (Accessing Career Choices in Engineering and the ScienceS) is an NSF-funded multi-faceted project aimed at students with physical disabilities from middle school to graduate school. It is designed to encourage these students to study Science, Engineering, Mathematics, or Technology.
We have undergrads mentoring school kids, and graduates mentoring undergrads, all with physical disabilities. We give encouragement grants to school teachers to help them make their classes more accessible. We give in-class demonstrations at schools to show that their handicaps are not handicaps. We work with the College of Architecture and have their sophomores analyze various labs on campus and suggest ways to make them more accessible. And we offer an annual summer camp (Camp ACCESS) for 12 middle school kids.
The camp is our pride and joy. It lasts for 2.5 weeks, and is run by Faith Bridges, an adjunct faculty member in the mathematics department, who has experience as a middle/ high school teacher. The camp emphasis is on science, not on disabilities. The program is a smorgasbord of hands-on activities and is presented by UA faculty from many disciplines. These activities range from Grocery Store Botany to Mammals With Wings, from Being a Paleontologist to How Spaceflight Affects Humans, from Practical Dendrochronology to Experiments With Liquid Nitrogen, from Hands-On Math to Blood and Guts!, from Building and Testing Model Bridges to What's Inside My Computer? The campers visit a clean room, play with an electron microscope, take a tour of IBM and spend time selecting science books at Borders bookstore.