Josh Huizar '22
Hello, my name is Josh Huizar, and I am a senior Psychology and Sociology double major. This past quarter I worked on my applied capstone project, which focused on comparing the websites of disabilities resource offices at six different Jesuit institutions to Santa Clara University's Office of Accessible Education to find potential recommendations and areas of improvement. Working at the Office of Accessible Education gave me insight into what would be useful for the office, as well as how other disabilities resource offices may be run and the hurdles they face.
I chose the schools based on a mix of features including geographical location and undergraduate student population, trying to find schools that were similar to Santa Clara. Afterwards I chose categories that I would be looking at for each school, such as number and type of staff members, what types of resources they had linked on their websites, and if information was presented in ways other than just text. During data collection I gave myself a 30-minute time limit for each school, and wrote down the results in a spreadsheet.
Throughout the course of my research, I found it interesting and surprising what other disabilities resource offices offered. Some of them had a campus accessibility map which displayed the accessibility options of buildings on campus, and others had detailed information about accommodations, disabilities, and impairments, with the purpose of educating students and faculty that visited the website. The number of staff members also varied from office to office, with bigger offices having more specific or duplicate roles to spread the workload out more evenly.
Overall, I learned a lot about how to do applied research, from drafting the initial idea and whittling down exactly which schools and categories to study, to collecting the data and analyzing it to find the most important findings and recommendations. Learning how to research best practices and grants for funding was also very useful. I'm very grateful to Dr. Laura Nichols for her support and help throughout the process.