2023 Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Diversity and Social Justice

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Diversity and Social Justice

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Diversity and Social Justice

Allyson Grace Yu 

headshot - Ally

Challenges and Opportunities in Creating an Accessible Web Application for Learning Organic Chemistry

View Allyson’s project online

in TUScholarShare, Temple University’s institutional repository

Students with disabilities are significantly underrepresented in STEM fields in higher education. Therefore, my project analyzes the challenges and opportunities of creating an accessible web application for students with disabilities learning organic chemistry.  

Editorial note: Temple affiliates have access to Allyson’s published paper through the Libraries.

What is your major and expected year of graduation?

I am a management information systems major, and my expected graduation is May 2023. 

What inspired you to pursue your project? 

What inspired me to pursue this project was learning about the impact accessibility has on technology. As an MIS major, we are taught how to make web applications and design digital systems, however, I wanted to learn more about how we can better design web applications for all. Therefore, after learning about the gap in representation in STEM fields with students with disabilities, I wanted to explore how accessible technology could help mitigate that gap. Additionally, I became very passionate about pursuing this research topic after speaking with alumni working in the accessibility technology field along with learning about accommodations specifically at the university level in technology.

What does winning this award mean to you?  

I feel proud and more confident in my research abilities after winning this award. I hope that I can bring more awareness of this topic to the Temple community and beyond. Lastly, I feel very thankful for this opportunity to work on a project that culminates a lot of my studies from my undergraduate career.  

How did the Libraries support your research?

With the use of Temple Libraries’ online research guides, I was able to access relevant databases, such as Gale and the ACM digital library to create an annotated bibliography for organizing my research articles. Without the use of Temple Libraries, I would not have had easy access to credible and relevant sources for this project. 

Ally Yu indicated an interest in chemical education in the fall of 2020 and I invited her to help in the development and writing of an NSF proposal that was submitted in January 2021. Her attention to details in the proposal and her “student perspective” undoubtedly led to its favorable evaluation at NSF. This project is now in its second year of funding; two teaching tools (iORA and webORA) have been developed and assessment of their impact has been initiated. Ally wrote a CARAS proposal dealing with accessibility of the iORA teaching tool. She carried out her research with limited input from me. Following a CST undergraduate poster session, she independently submitted her single-authored, peer-reviewed paper at a national conference of the Association of Computing Machinery and won the outstanding undergraduate award. She is most deserving of this Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award.

— Steven Fleming, Professor, College of Science and Technology