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

Thank You!

February 07, 2019

Thanks to the generous support of nearly 50 donors from 16 different states, we achieved our goal of raising $25,000. Again, Pennsylvania led in the total number of donors. It is both humbling and gratifying to have the support of so many diverse people. The ELeVATE program truly changes lives, and everyone who contributed, and who used their time and connections to share with their networks makes the ELeVATE program possible. Alumni of the ELeVATE program are now leading successful careers in a variety of business sectors, including government positions, academia, not-for-profit service sector, and in private industry. Many of the participants tell us that had they not taken part in the ELeVATE program, they are not sure what their futures would hold. Now they continue to make a difference by building on their military experiences, their college education, and the values learned from dedicating a portion (if not all) of their lives to selfless service.


Through the generosity of the people and organizations that support the ELeVATE program, veterans will continue to benefit. This means that veterans, who because of their injuries or life experiences did not think that they could succeed in college, will receive the support they need to achieve their full potential. Veterans who are struggling to adjust to the academic rigors and cultural differences of college life will learn the strategies to adapt, overcome, and thrive. The military is based upon teamwork, and it takes a team to make ELeVATE successful. Everyone one who supports ELeVATE is part of the team. Thank you!

A note from HERL Director, Dr. Rory Cooper

January 14, 2019

We're nearly at the end of our campaign, and we're close to the goal needed to support the ELeVATE - Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering. This high-touch program has helped Veterans to enter or return or remain in a college successfully, and to attain their career goals.


Participants are also leaders in their communities. ELeVATE Veterans are now working in for UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, Mission Continues, VA, etc. They're also active in their communities through Student Veterans of America, Veterans Leadership Program, Leadership Pittsburgh, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and No One Left Behind. 


You can help this program to continue and have more Veterans succeed. Thanks to everyone who has supported our veterans by contributing to our campaigns. Your support is greatly appreciated.

We're almost there!

January 11, 2019

It’s true – we’re almost there!  Thanks to your incredible generosity and support of our returning veterans, ELeVATE is close to reaching its goal.


Over the next few days, please share information about ELeVATE with your family, friends, and co-workers to help us cross the finish line in style.

Happy 25th Anniversary!

January 09, 2019

Dear Team HERL and Friends!


Congratulations! On Friday, 7 January 1994, in the aftermath of one of Pittsburgh's most brutal snow storms, two rental moving trucks arrived at Building 4 of the Highland Drive VA Medical in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Those trucks were driven by Steve Albright and David VanSickle. Rory and Rosemarie Cooper joined the convoy carrying equipment in their van. The equipment was unloaded by this small team into a vacant locker room and storage area that was to be transformed into HERL. Since the space had not yet been renovated to be useful, it was unpacked in phases as rooms became available. HERL had a small office in Building 2, where the ACOS For Research offices were, to work from until space could be made available. In addition, some of the labs were set-up in the Cooper's home.


Dr. Boninger had an office in the Kaufman Building, and was partially support by a NIDRR (now NIDILRR) ARRT Grant (as are some of you today). From this humble beginning Paralyzed Veterans of America has provided unwavering support and commitment to HERL and it's shared vision.


In addition, Dr. Cooper was able to bring a VA Merit Review Grant with him related to the development of a digital version of the SMARTWheel, and was awarded a new VA Merit Review Grant related to measuring "road-loads" on manual wheelchairs in the real world and on the multi-drum tester. VA Merit Review Grants remain at the core of the support for HERL's research & Development -  and HERL has had 25 years of continuous VA Merit Review funding. The partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, along with other key supporters such as PVA, FISA Foundation, DVNF, CRSR, UPMC, and others were and are key to HERL's success.


Highland Drive VAMC remained the home of HERL until 2011; when we had the good fortune to move to our current location in Bakery Square. From these humble beginnings HERL has grown to be one of the World's premier Rehabilitation Engineering Research, Development, and Training organizations. Nearly a thousand people have received some portion of their training in HERL, and millions of people have benefitted from our work.


Despite the many changes that have taken place, and the tremendous growth that HERL has experienced; at HERL's core the values of Integrity, Service, Dignity, Inclusion, Excellence, Creativity, Impact, and Team remain as relevant today as they did in 1994.


"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage." Walt Disney


Here is to remaining "curious" and "courageous" . Thank you for contributing to 25 years of success for HERL and especially the Veterans, Service-Members, People with Disabilities, and Older Adults that we serve.


Happy Birthday!



Final Stretch

January 04, 2019

Now that the calendar has turned to January, we’ve entered the final stretch of our ELeVATE campaign. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the campaign – either financially or by spreading the word about ELeVATE. Without your support, programs such as ELeVATE would not exist.


Over the final days of the campaign, we’d like to ask that you help us reach our goal by sharing information about ELeVATE with individuals, companies, and organizations that share our interest in assisting transitioning service men and women as they enter college.


Best wishes for a great 2019!

Happy Holidays!

December 21, 2018

The staff, students, and faculty at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. As 2018 draws to a close, we want to extend our thanks to those who have supported our ELeVATE campaign and we ask that you share information about the program with others who share your interest in supporting our returning service men and women.


And finally, we want to say “thank you” to all current and past members of the military. Their service and sacrifice make our lives better, often in ways that go unrecognized, and we are truly grateful for their commitment and dedication.    


A Time to Say "Thanks"

November 27, 2018

The holiday season is upon us.  However, amidst the holiday preparations and festivities, it’s easy for things to get lost in the bustle.  The days between now and the end of the year move pretty fast, and before you know it, we’ve entered a new year. 


As such, we want to take this opportunity to thank our veterans and their families for the sacrifices they’ve made. We also want to thank everyone who has contributed to supporting our veterans through active participation in organizations aimed at assisting veterans, or through your financial support of programs such as ELeVATE.


We’re better when we work together, and our veterans embody the ultimate level of teamwork.  While they may no longer be considered active military, these men and women actively serve our communities while taking on new challenges in the classroom.  We’re honored to play a small part in their transition through the work of ELeVATE and we look forward to working with future veterans as they embark on their new journey.

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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