The new director of Utah State University’s Utah Assistive Technology Program is also a familiar face. Bora Lee came to UATP as a VISTA member in 2019. Soon after that, she earned her Ed.D from California State University, Los Angeles, focusing on transitioning to adulthood for minority students with disabilities. Previous work with the families of underserved populations showed her that many are prevented from receiving services due to barriers of trust, language and simply not knowing where to go for help. Mainstream Americans often don’t know about the assistive technology that is available to them, or how it can make them more self-sufficient.
“For minorities, it is a lot harder to find resources,” Lee said.
People of all cultures want to be independent, she said. Sometimes they don’t know what is available. Sometimes resist using assistive technology, preferring to rely on their families instead.
“But their families worry about them,” Lee said. “If we change the stigma and the stereotype, I think that could definitely bring positive aspects to their lives.”
Lee has worked hard to reach out to Utahns everywhere, making sure they know their options.
“The more knowledge you have, the more you can use it to be more independent,” Lee said.
The Utah Assistive Technology Program was founded in 1989. Its mission is to put independence-giving technology into the hands of people who need it: high- or low- tech, off-the-shelf or customized. This is done by transferring affordable, refurbished devices to those who need it; assisting people with the financing of new devices; helping people learn what device works best for them; and even building equipment from the ground up.“We’re excited to welcome Bora Lee as the new director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program,” said Matthew Wappett, executive director of the Center for Persons with Disabilities. “She brings a unique skillset and background in outreach to diverse and underserved communities in the state, and we are excited to have her take the UATP in new directions that will help this program reach more people.”