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Relying on Sight as the Primary Sense: Employing Deaf Students in STEM and Design Fields

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33236

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33236

Download Count

26

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Paper Authors

biography

Wendy A. Dannels Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf

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Wendy A. Dannels is a research associate professor in the Center on Access Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Her primary goal is to generate more collaborative partnerships that will assist lifelong learners in deaf education and the greater deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, particularly putting them on an equal footing in term of accessibility issues in the workforce and their daily life. She is a subject matter expert in product design/development and digital engineering/manufacturing especially from prototype or service to marketplace. Prior to joining NTID, Dannels worked for several engineering corporations.

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Chris Campbell Rochester Institute of Technology

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Chris Campbell is a Research Associate Professor with the Center on Access Technology at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of the colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology. His research and development focus is on access technologies that will positively impact post-secondary educational experiences for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

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Brian Trager Rochester Institute of Technology

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Brian is the Associate Director for the Center on Access Technology at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), where he is often involved in various projects related to accessibility such as MUSEAI, Automatic Speech Recgnition, VisualSync and bilingual storybook apps to name a few. He is also an Associate Professor as the lead faculty in the Mobile Application Development program, and the Principle Investigator (PI) for the NSF ATE RoadMAPPS to Careers grant.

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Byron Behm Rochester Institute of Technology

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Byron Behm is a project coordinator/sign language interpreter for the Center on Access Technology at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. His goal is to combine his passions for inclusive technology, research, and accessibility in an academic environment to engage both students and colleagues. He is a native sign-language user who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting and a Master’s degree in Special Education.

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Abstract

The university of interest operates an R&D center that encourages students and faculty to develop and test prototypes of devices to benefit individuals with diverse abilities. During the 2017-18 academic year, the R&D center hired fifteen deaf students employees in STEM and design fields to work on a suite of projects that investigate, evaluate and report on the most effective and efficient use of innovative access and inclusive technologies. Numerous prototypes directly resulted from the creative work of deaf students which was thoroughly vetted by subject matter experts, many of whom are deaf. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act require employers to make reasonable accommodations for deaf employees. This paper describes how an R&D center focusing on accessibility for deaf part-time and full-time co-op employees, provides students the inclusive opportunity to experience the same equal benefits and privileges of being in a “hearing” employment.

Per focus group interviews of university student employees, the research team analyzed the responses of the interviewees and identified patterns. Descriptions of students’ reflections of their work experiences will be presented, along with the discovery of themes prevalent to the characteristics of a good employer abiding the ADA and Section 501.

Based on the review of the literature and preliminary research findings noted, an employment guideline for employers hiring Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) employees will be developed and disseminated. It will include, but not be limited to, effective ways to communicate between DHH employees and their hearing co-workers, different ways to overcome cultural differences, and ways to become a quality advocate of co-workers.

Dannels, W. A., & Campbell, C., & Trager, B., & Behm, B. (2019, June), Relying on Sight as the Primary Sense: Employing Deaf Students in STEM and Design Fields Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33236

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