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Universal Design Student Spotlight: Kyra Seevers

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:

-Amanda Corbin

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HDI Hosts Virtual Open House for the Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design

The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute invites current and prospective students, staff, and faculty to a Virtual Open House to learn about the Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design.  Universal Design creates products and environments that are as usable as possible by as many people as possible. Principles of Universal Design are utilized to make products, systems, buildings, classrooms, and other environments that are accessible to everyone. 

Register at to participate via Zoom on Thursday, May 21 at 3:00pm ET. A stipend up to $3000 is offered to students who are accepted into the certificate program on a competitive basis. Click here to learn more about the certificate program or you can contact Dr. Phillip Rumrill, Director of Research and Training, at 

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HDI Student Planning Still We Rise Banquet to Honor Resiliency of Fellow UK Students

Last year, as part of their studies in the Human Development Institute’s (HDI) Universal Design Certificate Program, two undergraduate students, Lauren Brown and Kennedy Guess, wrote and received an Inclusive Excellence Student Program Grant for $9,975. The Inclusive Excellence funds were awarded to the HDI in September to host a Still We Rise banquet that will recognize the strengths and resilience of students who have overcome extreme circumstances. Along with the Human Development Institute, partners on the Still We Rise banquet include the UK Disability Resource Center, Student Support Services, and the Martin Luther King Center.

Nominations are now open for the Still We Rise 2019 award. To nominate a student, submit a brief personal statement from the student, student resume, and a letter of support from UK faculty/staff or from a fellow student. Deadline to nominate is December 15, 2018. All materials can be submitted electronically to Kennedy Guess: Continue reading