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Student Worker Awarded for Making Maps More Accessible

Last fall, Gabriela Ionita, a former student worker in the MU Libraries’ Digital Media and Innovation Lab (DMiL), received a Lee Henson Access Mizzou award for the work she did on making the library’s web maps more accessible. The Lee Henson Access Mizzou Awards, named after a former Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator at MU, honor students, faculty and staff who work to make the university a more inclusive place for people with disabilities.

Her supervisor Nav Khanal, MU Libraries head of teaching and learning, stated, “I am very proud of Gabriela’s initiative and her dedication and attention to detail to make the maps Color Accessible for our users.”

Gabriela, a biological sciences major, was recognized for her map of the seating arrangements in Ellis Library. While the original map had similar shades of green, blue, orange and pink, Ionita’s revised map uses shades of brown, yellow, blue and black so that people who are colorblind or visually impaired can more easily distinguish between the colors.

“Maps are meant to guide you, not confuse you,” Ionita said. “I wanted to create something that would make people smile and ease their everyday lives. I am grateful I was given the opportunity to express my ideas and make Mizzou a better place for everyone. I also want to thank Nav Khanal, Joey Sabo and Guilherme Ferreira for always supporting and giving me feedback. They deserve recognition for their continuous work in the accessibility world.”

The Digital Media and Innovation Lab in Ellis Library provides innovative technology and resources for creative projects.