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NC State doctoral student Sina Barham recently earned the White House’s “Champions of Change” award for his efforts to make science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education more accessible to those with disabilities.

Barham developed a prototype system called Touch It, Key It, Speak It (TIKISI) that makes Google Maps usable for blind people. The ongoing product of his doctoral research in computer science, TIKISI is more than a scholarly project for Barham, who is blind himself.

“When I began working on my Ph.D., I realized I had an opportunity to affect the kinds of changes I wished existed when I was younger and struggling to learn STEM topics,” Barham said. “With TIKISI, I’m hoping to give low-income and under-privileged people access to these educational tools.”

Read more about Barham’s groundbreaking work.