University of Maryland


Catalyst Award Presented to Sheryl Burgstahler

March 20th, 2006

The 2006 Harry J. Murphy Catalyst Award was presented to Sheryl Burgstahler at the CSUN Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference on March 21, 2006.

This biennial award is presented by the Trace Center to honor those who bring people together and facilitate the efforts of others in the field of technology and disability. The previous three winners are Harry Murphy (2000), Judy Brewer (2002), and George Kerscher (2004).

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler founded and directs DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) at the University of Washington. Although she has many accomplishments in her own right, Dr. Burgstahler is being recognized for what she has done to enable others – both youth with disabilities and those in the field who have modeled their programs after DO-IT.

Under Dr. Burgstahler’s skillful direction, DO-IT has increased the successful participation of people with disabilities in education and careers, especially in fields where they have been underrepresented, including science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. The program has gained an international reputation and has made a significant impact in the quality of life for countless students with disabilities. Over 260 youth with disabilities have been prepared for careers in math, science, and engineering through DO-IT Scholars, a technology-rich college prep program. Dr. Burgstahler has also set up an electronic mentoring community that reaches nationwide. This email-based community links young people with mentors from a wide range of backgrounds, including scientists, educators, engineers, researchers, surgeons, artists, and architects, most of whom have disabilities themselves.

CONTACT: Kate Vanderheiden, (608) 265-4621;