Vertical Mentoring Workshop for the Blind in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

July 26-28, 2006
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

This three-day workshop will provide a venue for blind students and professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to get together to share their experiences and learn from each other how to maximize their chances for success. High school students will learn from college students, college students from graduate students and professionals, and graduate students from professionals. Blind professionals who have successfully completed their degrees and launched their careers will help guide students. There will be speakers and breakout sessions that focus on strategies and technologies that have been successful in helping blind students reach their goals. There will be social gatherings and open blocks of time for participants to build personal mentoring relationships and network with each other.

On the final day of the workshop there will be a technology fair where researchers and vendors can demonstrate their latest accessibility technology. The focus of the technology fair is on the technologies that provide access for students in their studies and for professionals in their work.

Also on the final day of the workshop there will be an Employers' Workshop offered by the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute to give guidance to employers in hiring blind employees. (Interested employers should go to the web page or contact Mark Riccobono at 410.659.9314 ext. 2368 or MRiccobono at nfb dot org.) The focus will be on employers who would potentially hire in technical fields. There will be opportunities for participants at the VMWB - STEM to interact with their potential employers.

The Program for the VMWB - STEM will be continuously updated as the time of the workshop approaches.


All blind students who are either interested in or are already studying in STEM fields and blind professionals in STEM fields are invited to apply to be participants in the workshop. High school students should be planning to go to college and major in STEM fields College students should be majoring or planning to major in STEM fields Graduate students should be pursuing a graduate degree in STEM fields. Professionals should be employed or seeking employment in STEM fields. The workshop will pay reasonable travel expenses and provide lodging and meals for all participants. The first round of acceptances have been made, but there is still room for more participants. Applicants after February 28, 2006, will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please apply using the participant web application or by completing the hard copy participant application.

Technology Fair Participation

On Friday July 28th, the Technology Fair will be held for researchers and vendors to exhibit their accessibility technology for the blind participants. This is an opportunity for researchers to get feedback on their new ideas and for vendors to show participants how valuable their products are. There is some limited funding for university researchers to attend. Applications for researchers and vendors are due by March 31, 2006. Please apply using the vendor/researcher web application.

Organizers and Sponsors

The organizers of the workshop are

Richard E. Ladner
Boeing Professor in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington
Sangyun Hahn
Graduate Student in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington
Zach Lattin
Undergraduate Student in Mathematics, University of Washington
Lindsay Yazzolino
Student at Issaquah High School, Issaquah, Washington
Mark A. Riccobono
Director of Education, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
Yang-su Cho
Assistive Technology Specialist, Washington State Department of Services for the Blind

This workshop is sponsored by grants from the National Science Foundation (CNS-0549481 and HRD-0423284), support from the College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and DO-IT at the University of Washington, from the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, and the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind. The workshop is one of the activities planned when Richard E. Ladner was given the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.


For any question about participation in the workshop please send e-mail to vmwb at cs dot washington dot edu or phone 206-616-9056.