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2012 Learning with Disability IGERT Workshop


On May 31 – June 1, 2012 the Technology-based Learning with Disability (LWD) IGERT program conducted a workshop entitled “Learning FROM Disability: A Lens on Problem-Centered, Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration” at Wright State University. This two-day workshop examined research focused on the development of technologies to empower persons with disabilities. A unifying theme for the presentations and discussion was the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach to this research, both for problem stakeholders and for contributing science and engineering disciplines.

Distinguished keynote speakers for the event were Dr. Michele Wheatly, Provost at West Virginia University, and Dr. Forouzan Golshani, Dean of the College of Engineering at California State University Long Beach. Addressing Broadening Participation in STEM Fields and Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration as their respective topics, both speakers were major contributors to the LWD IGERT program in their former positions at Wright State.

Technical sessions were led by current LwD IGERT Fellows from the Wright State University engineering, computer science, human factors and biomedical science Ph.D. programs. The session topics included: Blindness and Low Vision – Navigating the environment and the web; Movement Disorders – Biomechanical engineering solutions ; Motor Control Disabilities – Brain-Computer Interfaces and Traumatic Brain Injury – Monitoring, compensating for, and understanding the neurological bases of cognitive impairments.

Mr. Mike May, CEO of the Sendero Group, made a special presentation entitled “There is Always a Way” that concluded the first day of the workshop. Mike was a developer of the first accessible GPS for the blind, a downhill blind skiing champion, and is one of a handful of early-blinded individuals who have experienced partial sight restoration as adults.

Address Goals

This workshop is a capstone event for PhD students in the LWD IGERT that played a role in their preparation to enter the science and engineering workforce. The workshop also documented and helped to disseminate the unique interdisciplinary research being done under the support of this IGERT program.