The Braille Monitor | Meet the 2008 scholarship class of the National Federation of the Blind

August 19, 2009

Source: The Braille Monitor — August-September, 2008

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kurz-foundation-scholarshipWith every passing year we recognize the increasing value of the National Federation of the Blind’s Scholarship Program to our national organization. Members of previous scholarship classes stream back to take part in convention activities and assume responsibility, doing anything that they can see needs to be done.

Each year everyone looks forward to meeting the new scholarship class and to hearing what its members are doing now and planning to do with their lives in the future.

On Friday evening, toward the close of the banquet, Anil Lewis came to the podium one final time to present the year’s winners and give an academic and personal sketch of each after announcing which scholarship the person had been awarded. This year each winner crossed the platform and shook hands with President Maurer and Ray Kurzweil. In addition to his or her NFB scholarship, each also received a $1,000 check and plaque from the Kurzweil Foundation, the brand new KNFB Reader Mobile presented by Ray Kurzweil himself, and the latest Kurzweil 1000 reading system software from Kurzweil Educational Systems.

The final award presented in this year’s scholarship extravaganza, which took place at the banquet on July 4, was the Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship of $12,000, presented to Leslie Penko, who then spoke briefly to the audience. Her remarks appear later in this article.

But earlier in the week, at the meeting of the NFB board of directors, the twenty-five 2008 NFB scholarship winners and five tenBroek Fellows, who were each receiving a second scholarship, came to the microphone and spoke directly to the Federation. Here is the complete list of 2008 scholarship winners and the awards they received:

$3,000 National Federation of the Blind Scholarships: William Black, Kathryn Carroll, Chelsey Duranleau, Timothy Elder, Joseph Engel, Justin Hodge, Janice Jeang, John Mahler, Trevor Saunders, Matthew Simpson, A. J. Smith, Amanda Swanson, and André Tynes

$3,000 National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Award: Tomás Cintrón Rivera

$3,000 NFB Computer Science Scholarship: Isaiah Wilcox

$3,000 Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship: Rebecca Ledder

$3,000 Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship: Nikki Singh

$3,000 Charles and Melva T. Owen Scholarship: Faith Penn

$3,000 Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship: Allison deFranco

$3,000 E. U. Parker Scholarship: Nijat Worley

$3,000 Guide Dogs for the Blind Dorthea and Roland Bohde Leadership Scholarship: Elizabeth Allred

$3,000 Network 2000 Betsy Zaborowski Memorial Scholarship: Carolyn Watson

$5,000 Michael Marucci Memorial Scholarship: Sara Minkara

$5,000 Jennica Ferguson Memorial Scholarship: Mika Baugh

$5,000 2008 Dan Ryles Memorial Scholarship: Andrew Johnson

$5,000 Hank LeBonne Scholarship: Alyssa Bates

$7,000 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship: Buna Dahal

$7,000 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship: Stacy Cervenka

$10,000 Charles and Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship: Michelle Gittens

$12,000 Kenneth Jernigan Memorial Scholarship (Donated by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults): Leslie Penko