In early 2012, Arizona State University (ASU) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) partnered to create an interdisciplinary fellowship training, research, and practice program. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the five-year initiative, entitled Alliance for Person-Centered Accessible Technologies (APAcT), trains graduate students who are seeking doctoral degrees.
As part of NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, APAcT offers opportunities for doctoral students with and without disabilities to become leaders in designing, developing, and implementing person-centered technologies and practices in order to ensure that each person with a disability is included as a fully participating member of society.
Universal access and inclusion are fundamental cornerstones of APACT’s design and implementation, and up to 30 IGERT fellows will work on cutting-edge research projects spanning departmental and institutional boundaries. Currently, students in disciplines such as engineering, education, public policy, law and ethics, psychology, health science, design and architecture, and bioengineering are engaged in immersive internships in disability research, service learning, and unique educational experiences.
As pioneers merging person-centered vision and values with technology, research, and practice, the students trained by this IGERT will be amply qualified to choose between a variety of career opportunities, such as leaders in fusing interdisciplinary approaches to disability, in academia, as entrepreneurs or research scholars, or as directors and policy makers in federal or service agencies.