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University of Connecticut Assistive Technology Oral History Project

Mary Lester

Former Executive Director - Alliance for Technology Access

Date: March 26, 2008

Snippet 1: "How did you happen to become involved with the Alliance for Technology Access?" (7:45)

Snippet 2: "What are your personal views on assistive technology?" (4:46)

Download: Full Transcript

Mary's story begins in 1974 after graduating from UC Berkeley in anthropology when she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life and took a job at the Center for Independent Living as a receptionist.

She tells about this amazing introduction to the world of disability, the extraordinary people she learned from, her connection to Jackie Brand and move to the Disabled Children's Computer Group, and the beginnings of the Alliance for Technology Access. Allan Brightman and Apple's resources--in the whole different era that was 1986--are discussed as well as other key technology developers and contributors.

She talks about the significance of the ADA and personally reflects on her and her family's use and need for AT. While she is proud of ATA's twenty years, her joy is in the incredible people she has met along the way and the "opportunity to do amazing things in speaking on behalf of the community I love so dearly."