Ather Sharif '16

Ather Sharif ’16

“SJU has helped me tremendously by providing me the platform and supporting my passion for web accessibility.”

When he began writing code for websites, Ather Sharif ’16 (M.S.) gave little thought to accessible design. He never considered the value of creating a site that would work for every person who visited it, including those with physical or mental limitations. But after he was injured in a car accident in 2013, Ather, now quadriplegic, began to interact with more people with disabilities. And he realized how poor the web experience is for some of the users in that community.

In response, the SJU graduate, who earned a master’s degree in computer science in December and is participating in the 2016 commencement exercises, founded EvoXLabs, a group of volunteer web accessibility experts that is part web firm, part advocacy group. The team develops free tools and websites for nonprofits in the Philadelphia area that can’t afford to hire a company to review their sites for accessibility issues.

This impressive #SJU16 Hawk was one of three people worldwide to earn the 2015 People with Disabilities Award from IBM and 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 and will serve as grand marshal at the Philadelphia Disability Pride Walk this summer. Accepted into a computer science Ph.D. program at the University of Washington, one of the country’s top graduate schools for the field, Ather will begin work on the degree in either September 2016 or 2017. Until then, he’ll be a software engineer at Comcast and will continue to run EvoXLabs.

Read more about Ather here.

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