The Build a Better Book project began in 2017 to study youth engagement in the design and creation of accessible materials with STEM and maker technologies and interest in STEM careers. In phase 2 of the project (Empathy-Driven Engineering Internships for Teens: Connecting Technical Work to Social Needs; 2021-25), we are examining the influences of a professionally-structured, empathy-driven engineering internship on teens’ perceptions of engineering, identities, and transferrable STEM skills. We are implementing and studying this internship model across four diverse formal and informal education settings, including a university-based summer internship program (CO), a public library makerspace (NJ), a makerspace/entrepreneurship non-profit organization (MA), and a public school district (AL).

Build a Better Book (BBB) is pleased to offer high school students the opportunity to participate in an immersive engineering and design internship and research project focused on using Maker technologies to create accessible materials for blind or visually impaired clients.
Student interns will learn about and complete projects using:

  • Universal Design principles and empathy-driven design
  • Accessibility tools and designing for disabilities
  • Maker Technologies such as 3D modeling and printing, sound, computer programming, laser cutters
  • Tactile and multi-modal learning styles 
  • Characteristics of blindness, vision impairments, and other disabilities
  • Job skills and designing for a specific client

Internship Requirements

Internship opportunities and requirements vary depending on the hosting site. Please view details about each site from the pull-down menus on the right. 

We strongly encourage students from the following backgrounds to apply:

  • Underrepresented in science and engineering, including girls, African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native American students
  • Underserved, such as coming from low socioeconomic means, which may be indicated by qualification for free/reduced lunch
  • Potentially the first family member to attend college
  • Absence of science and engineering degrees in family
  • Coming from a high school with low admittance rates to top-tier colleges, especially rural or predominantly minority high schools

All applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be considered, regardless of race or ethnicity.


National Science Foundation logo

The Build a Better Book project is supported by the National Science Foundation under ITEST awards #1615247 and #2049109. Any opinions, findings and conclusions presented here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.