We started this project with the Magic Wheelchair Organization after one of our facilitators reached out to them on Twitter, and just like we were off! We split up into teams to divide and conquer and then got down to business. I was in the USCD (user-centered design) group, which focused all on our user and how the project will fill his every need and want. Our user was a 14-year-old boy, named Jared, who has cerebral palsy. He has few motor skills and is almost entirely blind. Aside from his unfortunate condition, he is a 14-year-old boy who loves 14-year-old boy things. He is obsessed with Chewbacca, and Star Wars in general; hence the design of the Millennium Falcon for the wheelchair. After getting to know and understand our user, we were able to make sure his voice was heard in all other groups. Along the way we faced MANY challenges but with a little teamwork and a lot of hard work the obstacles were behind us. Overall this project was enjoyable and challenging but in the best way possible. It taught me so many new things about joinery and wood to circuits and software. In the end, every frustrating second and difficult minute was worth it when we saw the happiness sweep across Jared’s face.

About the Author: My name is Alyssa Dautrich, and I am a ninth-grade student at Mount Vernon. I’ve been here since second grade so I’m no stranger! Outside of school, I like to sit in my bed and watch Netflix, and then watch some more Netflix. After binge-watching my shows, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and just relaxing. In school, however, I work hard in all my classes, especially in iDiploma. I joined iDiploma just this year and it is everything from creating a website all about you to planning, building, and actually making a replica of the Millennium Falcon!

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