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November 21, 2005

Gallaudet students take part in federal

From: Gallaudet - Nov 21, 2005

For more information, contact:
Darrick Nicholas
Media Relations Coordinator, Gallaudet University
PH: 202.448.7136

Gallaudet students work with federal agency to improve transportation safety near campus

(WASHINGTON) Plans on improving safety for pedestrians and drivers in the area surrounding the Gallaudet University campus will be presented on January 24 by five University students during the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 85th Annual Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington, D.C. This the first year that students have been invited to present at the meeting.

Gallaudet will share the honor with a select few from approximately 50 colleges and universities whose students received scholarships this year through the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program. The program, sponsored by the DOT, Federal Highway Administration, provides recipients with opportunities for careers in the transportation field.

The students, Seung-hyun Kim, Andres Peidrahita, Michael Kennedy, Saba Hussain, and Kristina Burke, each received a $5,500 scholarship for their project supporting this year’s theme: “The Vital Few,” which addresses congestion mitigation, environmental stewardship, and safety.

According to Kennith Darensbourg, grant advisor for the students, the project theme follows the premise that 80 percent of the world’s resources are consumed by 20 percent of its people. How then, can the United States, which consumes much of these valuable resources, give back to benefit the majority of earth’s population? The Gallaudet project follows this theme, said Darensbourg, because “if the needs of the deaf community surrounding Gallaudet--the vital few--are addressed, then the rest of the world--the significant many--will benefit. This is the concept behind universal design. Things like curb cutaways and ramps into buildings were created to benefit the vital few but in turn have benefited the significant many.”

Gallaudet’s plan calls for improvements in lighting, traffic flow, and sidewalks, along Florida Avenue between the campus and the New York Avenue, Florida Avenue, Gallaudet University Metro station. In addition, similar improvements to two other areas heavily frequented by Gallaudet students and other deaf people--West Virginia Avenue along the campus border, and 8th Street from Gallaudet’s main entrance up to K Street. To gather information for their plan, the students interviewed residents of the areas about their feelings on traffic and pedestrian safety. They also used wheelchairs to maneuver the route between the Metro station and the University, discovering that improvements in the condition of the sidewalks are needed. The students are also at work producing a video of their findings.

Darensbourg said that in addition to the distinction of being chosen to present their findings to DOT officials, the will be an occasion to “show them what Gallaudet is all about.” He explained that this is an opportunity “to impress upon them that we have quality students. … These are bright and focused students who really know the issues.”


About Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students. The University enjoys an international reputation for the outstanding graduate programs it provides deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing students, as well as for the quality of the research it conducts on the history, language, culture, and other topics related to deaf people. In addition, the University’s Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center serves deaf and hard-of-hearing children at its two demonstration schools and throughout the nation by developing, implementing, and disseminating innovative educational strategies. Gallaudet is located in Washington, DC.