The Build a Better Book Teen Internship at the University of Colorado Boulder is a 4-week paid summer internship based on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Each year, 12-16 interns from a variety of high schools in the Denver metro area complete a 100-120 hour internship, working in teams to fabricate accessible products for community clients. TVIs from partner organizations provide client profiles and project ideas for intern design projects. Client profiles typically include pre-school/kindergarten children with cortical visual impairment (CVI) and mobility challenges, as well as middle and high school students with blindness and low vision. Working in teams of 2-4 students, interns collaborate with their community client to design, fabricate, test and improve an accessible product that can be shared with the client at the end of the program.
The 4-week BBB Teen Internship is designed to provide interns with an authentic engineering design experience in a workplace setting. For most of the internship, students work collaboratively in project teams to design and produce a product for a community client. Additional experiences, including campus field trips, tours and guest speakers, complement this hands-on learning. Through the internship, students develop an understanding of:
- Universal Design principles and empathy-driven design
- Accessibility tools and designing for disabilities
- Tactile and multi-modal learning styles
- Maker Technologies, such as 3D modeling and printing, sound, computer programming (e.g., Arduino, microbit, Makerbit, GameMaker), electronics, and laser cutters
- Characteristics of blindness, vision impairments, and other disabilities
- 21st century workplace skills
Year 1 - Summer 2022 (pilot program)
CU Boulder hosted its pilot Engineering and Design Teen Summer Internship in summer 2022. Interns in the four-week program completed 30-35 hours per week, for a total of ~120 hours. Students designed and built tactile and accessible books and games for blind and low vision clients at the Anchor Center for Blind Children, Boulder Valley School District, Douglas County School District, and St. Joseph's School for the Blind.
- Interactive, light-up storyboard for children with CVI based on The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- Interactive, light-up number board for children with CVI, designed for learning numbers 1-10
- CVI pegboard book with tactile elements, based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Tactile and digital Wordle game for blind and low vision accessibility, designed for middle school students at St. Joseph's School for the Blind
Year 2 - Summer 2023
In the program's second year, interns worked Monday - Thursday for four weeks, for a total of ~100 hours. 15 interns and 1 teen mentor (from the 2022 program) worked in 5 project teams to complete projects for the following community clients: Anchor Center for Blind Children, Clovernook Publishing, a Boulder Valley School District TVI, and Douglas County School District.
- Interactive, light-up giant lite brite for children with CVI at Anchor Center for Blind Children
- Tactile garden signs for a sensory garden at Anchor Center for Blind Children
- Tactile maps of the RTD transit system in Denver
- An interactive, tactile book for a child with CVI
- Tactile book prototypes designed for Clovernook Publishing, a braille publishing house
The application process for the CO Build a Better Book Teen Internship takes place each spring and includes an online application and an online teacher recommendation. Additional application information will be posted here on this page; please check back in February 2024!