Kyra Seevers, who describes herself as a lifelong learner, is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Sociology. She works with the digital restoration initiative in UK’s computer science department which she says sparked her interest in interdisciplinary computer research. Because she is passionate about creating accessible software and studies user experience design and human-computer interaction, the Human Development Institute’s undergraduate certificate in Universal Design was a perfect fit for Kyra.
Kyra says, “Universal Design is not just designing for people with disabilities. It’s making the world around you so that we don’t need special accommodations. It’s accessible to everyone from the start.”
A Practicum in Germany
One of Kyra’s practicums took her to Germany where she worked with a university in Munich to create software to help people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) cross the street. She worked directly with people in the early stages of the disease to try and understand things like what colors, shapes, and motion they were able to pick up in their peripheral vision.
“I used a lot of my Universal Design experience directly related to disability and helping people with visual disabilities be safer,” she said.
A Practicum with Google
In her second practicum, which she completed last fall, Kyra interned at Google in the area of web security where she worked on making the experience of browsing the internet safer and less intrusive on Google Chrome.
“So that was a completely different pivot from my previous practicum, but both of them showed me different ways that Universal Design is so important to the area of technology,” Kyra said.
Universal Design and Disability
Kyra encourages others to take advantage of the Universal Design certificate program: “I would highly, highly recommend, even if you can’t complete the entire certificate, at least taking the intro course because it’s one of those life changing classes”. Because of what she learned in the certificate program, Kyra has gained an interest in disability rights advocacy.
“Universal Design is necessary in every field… because Universal Design is about creating a world around us that is more accessible to everyone, and every single job that you can possibly have gives back to the world around you, contributes to the community around you, and by learning the skills of Universal Design, everyone can contribute every day to making the world around you more accessible.
For more information on HDI’s Universal Design Certificate, click this link: