NTID faculty member helps Time Warner improve accessibility for people with disabilities

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Raja Kushalnagar

An instructional faculty member in NTID’s Information and Computing Sciences Department has received a $20,000 stipend to develop policy and design recommendations for inclusive virtual peer communities for students with sensory disabilities.

Raja Kushalnagar of Pittsford expects to complete his paper in May. The award, from the Time Warner Research Program, aims to increase understanding of the political and social benefits and challenges that face digital technologies in the home, office, classroom and community.

“I have experienced first-hand the effect of policy and laws on boosting access through technology, such as video relay service,” he says. “I am interested in advocating for full access through accessible and inclusive technology.”

Kushalnagar plans to enhance participation of students with sensory disabilities in science, technology, engineering and math.

“I’ll look at factors that influence participation in online communities and to develop policy mechanisms to address these factors, so as to boost student preparation through mentoring, peer contacts, networking and enhanced information accessibility,” he says.

The project will inform policymakers and industry stakeholders about ways to promote outreach to marginalized populations through technology and mentoring.

The Time Warner Cable Research Program on Digital Communications awards stipends to foster research dedicated to increasing understanding of the benefits and challenges facing the future of digital technologies in the home, office, classroom and community.

“We are pleased we continue to attract the best minds working on communications, media and technology policy issues and are particularly proud to be funding research in one of our home communities, in Rochester, N.Y.,” says Fernando Laguarda, vice president for External Affairs and Policy Counselor at Time Warner Cable.