Thirty Years of Changing Lives: The AAAS Project on Science, Technology and Disability

Washington, D.C. – Marco Midon, a lead engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.), is totally blind. Tim Scamparinno, a project manager at I.B.M., is spinal cord injured and a wheelchair rider. Jacquelyn Wilson , a biotechnology and laboratory science major at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is profoundly deaf.

Jacquelyn, Tim, and Marco are among hundreds of individuals with disabilities whose lives have been changed by the A.A.A.S. Project on Science, Technology and Disability.

They are more than three hundred students with disabilities who have served over four hundred internships in ENTRY POINT!, one of the Project’s core programs. ENTRY POINT! may be the Project’s best-known effort to open the doors of science and engineering to a vast pool of talent and creativity that previously had been excluded.

ENTRY POINT! continues a long heritage — described in this thirtieth anniversary history – in which the Project has worked in many different ways to improve the entry and advancement of individuals with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.).

“The project kept evolving by anticipating issues and seizing opportunities that flowed from a coherent vision of what equity meant for persons with disabilities,” said Dr. Shirley Malcom, who heads the A.A.A.S. Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs.

“We have enjoyed strong and stable leadership,” Malcom added. “I think that having all of the groups together in the Directorate (women, minorities, persons with disabilities) made us a lot more savvy because the ‘rights movements’ for the different groups were at different stages of development. We could learn from each other.

“[When the laws were passed] we were happy to have the laws, but we were not naïve enough to think this solved our problems. We learned a long time ago that laws LET things happen but do not MAKE things happen.”

Continue reading “Thirty Years”.

Visit the Entry Point! homepage.

Written by Michael Woods, Virginia Stern, and Shirley Malcom.
Published by AAAS, Washington, DC, 2006.

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Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0939645. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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