Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities Recognizes SJU Student

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

by Jeffrey Martin '04, '05 (M.A.)

Ather Sharif, a graduate student at Saint Joseph's University working towards a master’s degree in computer science, was recently awarded the Oliver H.M. Jordan Scholarship at the 19th Access Achievement Awards, organized by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s Commission on Disabilities.

The awards, which were presented on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Courtyard Marriott near Philadelphia’s City Hall, recognize individuals and organizations that work to make the city more accessible. The ceremony also celebrates students with disabilities who have overcome difficulties to serve the community.

Sharif, who was left quadriplegic after a 2013 car accident, is co-founder of EvoXLabs, a group of volunteer web accessibility experts that is part web firm, part advocacy group. The group has hosted two “hack-a-thons” this year; in each, teams of high school and college students developed web tools for users with specific disabilities.

“Philadelphia has a wonderful community of disabled students, and it’s humbling to have my work acknowledged,” Sharif says. “It’s humbling to have my work acknowledged. I’m excited to use the scholarship to continue my research on accessibility.”

Sharif has previously been recognized for his work and advocacy. He was one of three people worldwide to earn the 2015 IBM People With Disabilities Award and was also one of 12 North American recipients of a $10,000 Google Lime Scholarship. He also won “Geek of the Year” at the 2015 Philadelphia Geek Awards.

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