Neil Scott is an engineer who loves to figure out how to make computers work for people who aren’t considered mainstream users. He grew up in New Zealand and began working with computers in 1968. He has been adapting them to help people with disabilities since 1971 when some blind folk approached him for help with making their computers speak so they could hear what was written on the screen. Since then, he has worked on access strategies for almost every type of disability and IT device.
He first came to the United States in 1982 as a Fulbright Scholar and decided to move to California in 1986 to develop accessibility solutions and provide individualized training for individuals with disabilities. He established disability access programs at California State University, Northridge, and Stanford University before moving to the University of Hawaii in 2003. His mandate from the Chancellor, upon his arrival in Honolulu, was to figure out how to create jobs that enable young people to remain in Hawaii. During the past two years, his work has come full circle and he is now directing a program entitled Technology for Untapped Talent (TUT) that trains individuals with disabilities to design and manufacture high value products using 21st century computer-based design and manufacturing technologies.