Inclusion spotlight: CTI’s Project Achieve

Innovative project assists women with brain and spinal cord injuries to achieve academic success, increasing diversity and inclusion on campuses.

From left: CTI's Christine H. Groah and Elizabeth E. Getzel
From left: Project Achieve’s Christine H. Groah and Elizabeth E. Getzel.

The Center on Transition Innovations, a project within the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC), is in the final year of a three-year grant known as Project Achieve.

This innovative project, Project Achieve: Using Cognitive Support Technology to Assist Women with Traumatic Brain and/or Spinal Cord Injuries to Achieve Postsecondary Education and Careers, seeks to highlight and address the needs of women who have sustained traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, an underrepresented population in these fields of research. Half of the participant population includes women veterans, also underrepresented in veteran-related research and services.

Specialized services of the project include using cognitive support technology through iPads and individualized apps, peer mentoring, individualized case management and vocational rehabilitation, and assistance with job placement and maintenance. Participants receive compensation upon enrollment and completion of the project, and may keep their iPads upon completion.

Participants have also attained academic success, thereby increasing diversity and inclusion on their college campuses. Some highlights among participants include:

  • Featuring artwork depicting recovery from traumatic brain injuries in student art competitions;
  • Winning elected offices in their college’s Student Veteran Association;
  • Successful transfers from community colleges to four-year universities; and
  • Graduation

Project Achieve is funded by the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund and administered by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

RRTC is a center within the VCU School of Education.