(We created the Comcast Innovation Fund to support important research into the future of the Internet, with a focus on broadband, security and open-source development. In this series, we highlight grantees and their work.)

The Comcast Innovation Fund is pleased to announce the award of a grant to support a new Neurodiversity Fellowship Program at the University of Connecticut, under the direction of Arash E. Zaghi, PhD.  This program will explore how students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may more successfully pursue engineering education and careers.

The traditional engineering education system can be extremely challenging for people with ADHD seeking to complete an undergraduate engineering program. However, students with ADHD often possess unique creative aptitude that makes them well suited to engineering professions.

This program will leverage a successfully tested approach, which has been recognized by three National Science Foundation (NSF) research grants. This approach found that engaging undergraduate students with ADHD in hands-on engineering research significantly increases their interest in both engineering and pursuing graduate studies. The program will provide engineering research opportunities and special mentoring to aid students with ADHD in overcoming the obstacles in the traditional engineering education system.

This fellowship program is intended to spearhead an effort to embrace neurodiversity in the University of Connecticut School of Engineering’s programs. The effort will be on the leading edge of tapping into diversities in learning and thinking styles to increase the creativity of the technical community’s workforce.