CORVALLIS - Susan Qashu's studies in marine resources management have leaped forward with the donation of $5,000 worth of visual text readers to Oregon State University.

"The Corvallis Elks donated two visual text readers to OSU for use by students with low vision," said Tracy Bentley-Townlin, director of OSU's services for students with disabilities. "One of the readers is a full-color Aladdin Rainbow Reader."

The machines, manufactured by Telesensory Corp. of Mountain View, Calif., enhance text, charts, maps and other materials.

The color reader renderings of research material are valuable to Qashu, a master's candidate from Tucson, Ariz.

"So many of the charts and maps in oceanography are in color," and the color reader pulls the data up immediately for Qashu. During fall term, Qashu said the university had to send charts, maps and graphs to off-campus contractors who enhanced the information so it would be usable to sight-impaired students.

"That was O.K., but there was a lag time of several days, so I always found myself behind the others," said Qashu, who has a visual disability. "Now, this reader, it's in color, so it will be helpful to have it available."

Ken Birch, president of the Corvallis Elks Charitable Trust, said members of Corvallis Lodge 1413 were looking to make a difference when they decided to donate the readers to OSU.

"The readers will stay there at OSU and be put to good use by students," he said.

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Tracy Bentley-Townlin, 541-737-3669