[Nfbnet-members-list] National Federation of the Blind Recognizes Thirty Outstanding Blind Students

National Federation of the Blind webmaster at nfb.org
Fri Aug 4 04:43:13 UTC 2017



Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org

National Federation of the Blind Recognizes Thirty Outstanding Blind Students

Maureen Nietfeld of Colorado Awarded Top $12,000 Scholarship

Baltimore, Maryland (August 3, 2017): The 
National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the 
nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind 
people, today announced the winners of its 2017 
scholarships, which were awarded at the 
organization’s recent national convention in 
Orlando. The winner of the organization’s top 
prize of $12,000, donated by the American Action 
Fund for Blind Children and Adults, is Maureen 
Nietfeld of Colorado, who is studying human 
nutrition and dietetics and specializing in the 
care of organ transplant patients. "When I lost 
my sight I dreamed of being confident, and I 
dreamed of being independent and successful. I 
dreamed of being able to go back to work and go 
to school," said Ms. Nietfeld. "Thank you to the 
National Federation of the Blind for helping me to make my dreams a reality!"

Each of the other twenty-nine winners received, 
at a minimum, a National Federation of the Blind 
Scholarship in the amount of $3,000. In addition 
to their scholarship, each received a $1,000 
check and plaque from inventor and futurist Dr. 
Ray Kurzweil, a Google Chromebook laptop, a 
$1,000 cash award from Google, and a certificate 
towards the purchase of a Talking LabQuest from 
Independence Science, for a total award for each 
winner with a minimum value exceeding $5,000. 
Here is an alphabetical listing of the other 
winners, with their home state, career goal, and 
scholarship name and amount (where appropriate):

• Lindsay Ball, ME: Adaptive physical education teacher

• Cricket Bidleman, CA: Anthropology professor 
($3,000 Charles and Betty Allen Scholarship)

• Katherine Brafford, CA: Work at the 
intersection of science and religion ($8,000 
Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science)

• Aneri Brahmbhatt, IL: Record label manager

• Shannon Cantan, HI: Business administration 
($5,000 Charles and Melva T. Owen Scholarship)

• Melissa Carney, CT: Clinical psychologist

• Trinh Ha, AR: Dietitian

• Afton Harper, MO: Journalism

• Qusay Hussein, TX: Psychologist

• Catherine Jacobson, MN: Healthcare policy analyst

• Cassandra Mendez, OH: Assistive technology 
developer ($3,000 Expedia Scholarship)

• Tabea Meyer, CO: Advocate for marginalized 
groups ($5,000 Charles and Melva T. Owen Scholarship)

• Ibeth Miranda, TX: University professor

• Regina D. Mitchell, NV: Psychologist ($8,000 
Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in a STEM Field)

• Jackie Mushington-Anderson, GA: Braille 
instructor ($10,000 JAWS for Windows Scholarship)

• Efose Oriaifo, VA: Biotechnology

• Chelsea Peahl, UT: Law/Advocacy ($5,000 Pearson Scholarship)

• Gloria Rodriguez, WA: Disaster mitigation and emergency preparedness

• Carla L. Scroggins, CA: International politics 
($3,000 Charles and Melva T. Owen Scholarship)

• Luke Schwink, KS: Athletic marketing/Player 
development ($5,000 Mimi and Marvin Sandler Scholarship)

• Alyssa Shock, NJ: Child psychologist

• Heather Simmons, CA: Literature professor 
($3,000 Larry Streeter Memorial Scholarship)

• Wayne Smith III, MD: Computer engineering/Data 
security ($3,000 Expedia Scholarship)

• Andrew Sydlik, PA: English teacher or 
disability advocate ($3,000 Adrienne Asch Memorial Scholarship)

• Sophie Trist, LA: Novelist

• Rachel Wellington, GA: STEM career ($3,000 NFB 
Science and Engineering Division Scholarship)

• James N. Yesel, ND: Entrepreneur ($3,000 E. U. and Gene Parker Scholarship)

• Zeynep S. Yilmaz, AZ: Rehabilitation counselor education

• Ayoub Zurikat, TX: Mental health care provider

“The scholarship program is one of our most 
important initiatives,” said Mark A. Riccobono, 
President of the National Federation of the 
Blind. “We are proud to honor these blind 
scholars, who are studying everything from 
biotechnology to sports marketing, and in so 
doing raising the expectations of what blind 
people can achieve. Their accomplishments are 
proof of our conviction that we, the blind of 
this nation, can live the lives we want; blindness does not hold us back.”

Several hundred students competed for the 
scholarships. A committee of blind persons 
representing a cross section of the NFB 
membership, including several former scholarship 
winners, narrowed the field to thirty finalists. 
Each finalist was then given roundtrip 
transportation, hotel accommodations, and 
assistance to attend the National Federation of 
the Blind National Convention in Orlando, where 
the committee spent several days getting to know 
each student. Only after that process was 
complete did the committee decide which 
scholarship to award each finalist. Nearly three 
thousand blind people attended the convention, 
the largest gathering of its kind in the United States this year.

Special thanks go to the Jesse and Hertha Adams 
Charitable Trust for its support of the National 
Federation of the Blind scholarship program.


About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind knows that 
blindness is not the characteristic that defines 
you or your future. Every day we raise the 
expectations of blind people, because low 
expectations create obstacles between blind 
people and our dreams. You can live the life you 
want; blindness is not what holds you back.

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