Student works with employee to use special technology that allows him to hear rather than read materials.

Donor’s Support for Adaptive Technology Center Helps Students Overcome Barriers to Success

Student works with employee to use special technology that allows him to hear rather than read materials.

“Being here at San Jose State is a dream come true. And the dream has brought me to places that I never thought I’d be as an undergraduate. What’s ended up happening is that I’ve become a nurse leader. If not for the Adaptive Technology Center, none of this would be possible,” said Rick Becker, ’12 Nursing.

When nursing student Rick Becker found out he was a San Jose State President’s Scholar, he rushed over to share the news with the Adaptive Technology Center staff. Becker says he wouldn’t have been able to earn a 4.0 GPA without their help. Through the center, Becker was able to test-drive several document readers to find the one that works best with the complex medical vocabulary and diagrams in his nursing textbooks.

Becker learns most effectively by listening to, rather than reading, course materials. He uses document readers, which take digital files and read them back aloud, to stay on top of The Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s rigorous coursework. He also uses voice recognition software to compose emails, presentations and evidence-based research papers.

A gift from Linda Starek, ’66 Education, will be used to update the center’s technology and make it available to students like Becker. Every year, about 1,200 students from every college and every discipline—with challenges ranging from cognitive to physical disabilities—go to the center to use and get training on adaptive technology. With the training and technology the center provides, these students overcome barriers to success.

Becker is making a name for himself among his peers and in the state of California. In addition to serving as president of the Public Health Nursing Club, he is also the first undergraduate student ever to hold a voting seat on the California Public Health Association-North’s Governing Council, which influences statewide health policies. Becker is also a member of the association’s Communication Task Force, which, among other things, ensures effective communication to the California public. “The help from the Adaptive Technology Center has allowed me to excel academically and to branch out,” says Becker. “The center’s staff uncovers what you can actually do.”

“It’s not that students who use the Adaptive Technology Center cannot learn. They just learn in different ways. And with online classes and new technology that’s used in classrooms, providing equal access to course materials becomes even more essential,” said Wendy Lin, adaptive technology center coordinator.

View the complete SJSU Tower Foundation Annual Report 2010-2011.