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Overcoming Obstacles, Shattering Stereotypes

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
29 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 11, at 11:59 PM EST
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Overcoming Obstacles, Shattering Stereotypes

Overcoming Obstacles – Shattering Stereotypes

The past two years have presented unprecedented obstacles for many individuals.  For college students, the sudden transition to remote learning and isolation from friends, classmates, and instructors challenged their will to succeed.  In some cases, students forged ahead, tackling the changes associated with remote learning.  Others have chosen to temporarily forgo their educational objectives. Unfortunately, others are unlikely to resume their studies.

For some transitioning veterans, this represented the worst possible scenario – isolation from the people, programs, and services that were designed specifically to aid in their transition from full-time military to full-time student.  That is why your continued support of ELeVATE is so important


The Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering (ELeVATE) program at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) has positively impacted the lives of former military pursuing degrees in the STEM fields. The goal of ELeVATE is to increase the enrollment, retention, graduation, and career success of wounded, injured, and ill Veterans in engineering and technology.

Through a three-phased approach, ELeVATE 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.

ELeVATE provides a solid foundation and network of support in all aspects of academic preparation, professional development, rehabilitation counseling, and community reintegration, and increases the academic success of transitioning Veterans with disabilities. 

Since its inception, ELeVATE has been meeting the objectives envisioned by program founder, Dr. Rory Cooper.   As a disabled military veteran himself, Dr. Cooper knows first-hand the challenges facing transitioning military. Dr. Cooper, the Founder and Director of HERL, has become the leading expert on rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology, and his dedication to helping veterans is second to none. ELeVATE has provided valuable financial, academic, and counseling support to nearly 50 veterans entering the classroom, and we’re asking for your support to raise at least $15,000 to offer three transitioning veterans the opportunity to make their educational goals reality in 2022.

 A Welcome Return

As an undergraduate, Michael Shulock was looking for a challenging and rewarding co-op position.   Fortunately for everyone at HERL, Mike accepted our co-op offer and made immediate and significant contributions to HERL operations. After completing his BS in bioengineering, Michael joined HERL as a full-time bioengineer, assisting with the design and fabrication of medical devices to ensure that they meet the ergonomic and biomechanical needs of patients. Michael also serves in the Army National Guard as a combat engineer.  As he points out in the video, Michael sees a direct correlation between the traits possessed by transitioning military and the tenets of ELeVATE.


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.


Contributions received for this project shall be used in accordance with the purpose described herein, the terms in the FAQs and applicable law. For questions that cannot be answered in the FAQs, please call 412-648-4658 or email

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.


Game Changer

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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