Although this campaign has concluded, if you would still like to make a donation to support ELeVATE, you may always do so here

ELeVATE: Enlisted. Enrolled. Empowered.

Raised toward our $25,000 Goal
46 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 16, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

ELeVATE: Enlisted. Enrolled. Empowered.

Why ELeVATE is Important:

We’ve all experienced change in our lives. It can be sudden and seemingly without reason. It disrupts what we consider to be our normal existence and challenges us to develop and define a new “new” in terms of self. Family and friends offer support during these times - to help ease the shock and burden that often result from such an event – and help us set a new course.

But what about a planned change, one that we know is on the horizon yet still results in feelings of uncertainty? How do we address those feelings? Who can we rely on in those moments? 

ELeVATE isn’t a handout. It’s a carefully designed program that allows transitioning veterans to successfully navigate the path from enlisted to enrolled to empowered.


Since its inception in 2012, the ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering) program at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) has positively impacted the lives of former military pursuing degrees in the STEM fields. ELeVATE is a program to assist wounded, injured, and ill Veterans transitioning into university science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, with a special emphasis on assistive technology and engineering.

Your contribution will help raise $25,000 to cover the living stipends for five veterans during the 10-week on-campus portion of the summer 2019 ELeVATE program.  Funds raised above our goal will be applied to stipends for other ELeVATE participants.​

ELeVATE provides a solid foundation and network of support in all aspects of academic preparation, professional development, rehabilitation counseling, and community reintegration, increases the academic success of transitioning Veterans with disabilities. The goal of ELeVATE is to increase the enrollment, retention, eventual graduation at the college level, and career success of wounded, injured, and ill Veterans in engineering and technology. Through a three-phased approach, participants engage in experiential learning, rehabilitation counseling, mentoring, academic preparation, and career exposure activities. The components are designed to increase self-efficacy and outcome expectations which help participants achieve their performance goals as they enroll in and complete engineering and technology degree programs, and pursue a graduate degree or employment in engineering and technology.

Putting ELeVATE to Work:

While we’re proud of the ELeVATE program, it is truly the veteran students who make the program a success. 

Shawn O’Donnell’s ELeVATE experience has come full circle. From ELeVATE participant, to HERL full-time employee, Shawn is not only contributing to the design and development of new assistive technology, he’s actively engaged as a mentor to veterans in each new cohort of ELeVATE, as well. 

Shawn’s hard work – in and out of the classroom – is a testament to his desire to build upon his military experience and give back to a program that offered him the right mix of support and challenges upon his entrance to academics. 

About HERL:

Founded by Dr. Rory Cooper in 1994, the mission of the HERL has been to continuously improve the mobility and function of veterans and individuals with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.  HERL is dedicated to advancing education and career opportunities for veterans in STEM fields of study.

Choose a giving level



Your contribution will allow a vet to take that first step towards a STEM career.



A contribution at this level will help cover the cost of program materials.



Your contribution at this level lets vets know they have a strong support network during their program.



Your contribution will cover the cost of preparing a vet's poster board presentation.



A contribution at this level will help cover the housing stipend provided to vets during enrollment in ELeVATE.



You are a game-changer. Your contribution will be the catalyst for future success in a STEM field for a deserving veteran.



The servicemen and women who defend our liberties deserve our unwavering support. Your gift will honor their commitment to country and support them as they begin a new chapter in their lives.



Courage. Excellence. Character. Characteristics that define the soldier, and traits that will play an important role for former military as they enter college. Your gift signifies the highest level of respect and will instill confidence during their academic career.

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