Future Reflections Winter 1994, Vol. 13 No. 1

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THE SCHOLARSHIP CLASS OF 1993

Reprinted from the September-October, 1993, issue of the  Braille Monitor  .

[PICTURE] NFB Scolarship winners, 1993

The task of the National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Selection and Award Committees is never easy. During the spring the members of the selection committee must pore over many hundreds of scholarship applications to choose the group of finalists, who will attend the convention to compete for the various awards. Then during convention week, when there are always at least five things one wants to do with every free moment, the awards committee members must find the time to get to know each of the twenty-six winners in order to make the final judgments in the competition.

This year the job was particularly difficult. The Class of '93 is talented and energetic. A number of its members are already active in the Federation, and during the convention many others began to demonstrate deep interest in and personal response to our philosophy and commitment to changing what it means to be blind. Here are the 1993 scholarship winners as they presented themselves to the Board of Directors at its Monday, July 5, meeting. Peggy Pinder, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, introduced each person and listed first the state from which the winner comes and then the state in which he or she would be a student this past fall. This is what the winners had to say in the few seconds they were given in which to introduce themselves:

Jack Allord, Wisconsin, Wisconsin: "Good morning, everyone. I'm Jack Allord from Shawano, Wisconsin. I went to Illinois School of Technology and studied mechanical engineering. After that I went into the Army, and they saw fit to make a Korean interpreter out of me. After the Army I went to Northern Illinois University and got a degree in biology, studying genetics. After that I went to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and got a doctor of dental surgery degree. Right now I'm at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay, studying administration science. I hope to go into health care administration. Extracurricularly, I'm on the Independent Living Council of Wisconsin. I'm a speaker for the visual impairment program at North Central Technical College. I am very active in Free Masonry-I'll be the Grand Master of Free Masons in Wisconsin in 1996. Thank you."

Laura Biro, Michigan, Michigan: "Good morning, fellow Federationists. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the National Federation of the Blind not only for honoring me with a scholarship, but for your continued love and support. I am currently a junior at Sienna Heights College in Adrian, Michigan, where I'm pursuing a career in social work. My ultimate goal is to obtain a master's degree and work with handicapped children. Thank you."

Matthew Brink, Michigan, Michigan: "Thank you, Miss Pinder, and good morning to you all. I am presently at Western Michigan University, academically focused right now in psychology, specifically working with clients with traumatic brain injury. I also co-instruct in a class in abnormal psychology and just finished an internship in Battle Creek. I am also learning from the National Federation of the Blind, for which I am grateful and hope to contribute to the '93 convention, as well."

Maren Christensen, Montana, Montana: "Hello. My name is Maren Christensen. I'm currently a student at the University of Montana. I'm enrolled in a joint degree program, receiving my law degree and a master's in public administration. I intend to work as a lawyer with particular emphasis on implementing progressive public policies. I am honored to be here. I have enjoyed the last two days of meeting, talking with, and listening to this group of dynamic, intelligent, and active, dedicated individuals. I'm real pleased to be here, and I'm particularly pleased with my new NFB long white cane. Finally I can move as fast as I want to. Thanks."

Bill Cuttle, Massachusetts, Massachusetts: "Hello, everyone. This is my first convention. I'm very grateful to be here, not only for the scholarship, but also I have just met so many nice people. To be honest, I'm a little overwhelmed with everything that's here. I'm going to be going to Boston College Law School in September, and I'm going to be focusing on the field of family and juvenile law. I received my bachelor's degree at Bridgewater State College in psychology and a master's degree also in counseling psychology from the University of Massachusetts and have been working in the field of mental health for the past seven years as a clinical director of programs for kids. I'm thirty-one, and I'm going to be trying a new career. I'm hoping to combine my background with law to help other people. Thank you."

Marvelena Desha, California, California: "Hello. My name is Marvelena Desha, and I'm from San Francisco, California. This is my first convention, and I must say that I am very impressed with the Federation. In September I am going to be attending the University of California at Berkeley with a major in linguistics and foreign language. I hope to pursue a career as a foreign language interpreter."

Brigid Doherty, Oregon, Oregon: "Good morning, everyone. I am a junior at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. I am majoring in international studies. I have been out in the work force for the past twelve years, working as a legal secretary and office manager among other things. I'm very pleased to be back in school, working toward a better understanding between cultures. I would like very much to work either in a governmental capacity or in business, helping people to learn to communicate with other cultures as they are traveling overseas-also just to have a better understanding door to door, neighbor to neighbor. We're all living in an increasingly interdependent world, and I think it's very, very important that we learn to understand one another better. I thank you for the opportunity of being here."

Ann Edie, New York, Massachusetts: "Good morning and thank you all for the opportunity to be here at the NFB convention. My background is teaching Asian studies and Chinese. In the fall I'll be going to Boston College to study teaching of the blind. I hope eventually to combine these two interests by teaching blind people the skills that they need, by teaching sighted people Braille and other skills that will help them understand the abilities of blind people, and by teaching both sighted and blind people Chinese and Asian studies and Asian cultures. I'm very happy to be here, and thank you very much."

Tina Ektermanis, Missouri, Missouri: "Hi. My name is Tina Ektermanis. I'm a senior at Northwest Missouri State University with a major in computer science and a minor in mathematics. I ultimately plan to go on for a master's degree. I'm not exactly sure where yet, but I plan to work in the field of adaptive technology or network administration. Thank you."

Al Fogel, New York, (Washington, D.C. this summer) and New Jersey: "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Al Fogel. I've just completed my first year at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey. This summer I'm working at the Department of Justice with the ADA. I have a bachelor's degree in accounting and Talmudic law. I hope to be a corporate attorney with an emphasis on bringing more disabled people into the corporate field. I can say that starting next year, working with Rutgers, we'll be getting the first disabled student to go into a New Jersey law firm. I'm glad to be here. I'd like to thank the Scholarship Committee, and I'd really like to thank the Texas people for some down-home hospitality. Thank you."

Christopher Foster, California, California: "Good morning. I'd like to thank the Federation as well as the committee. This is my first convention, and I have learned a lot in the last few days. I also have my brand new long white cane. Again I'd like to thank you all. I'm going to be a freshman at Sierra Community College in Rockland, California, where I will start my studies in English and computer science. I hope to then go on to the University of California at Davis, where I will continue and hope to get a master's in computer science. I would like to go into possibly design engineering or something like that, just to sort things out and do the follow-through work at companies and things. Thank you very much."

Saeed Golnabi, Ohio, Ohio: "Good morning, everybody. My name is Saeed Golnabi. I am very happy and pleased to be here. This week I have had the best experience in my whole thirty-two years. Right now I am at the University of Cincinnati. I'm working on my Ph.D. in mathematics, and I hope I will graduate in a couple of years. Thank you."

Kathleen Hart, New York, Washington: "Thank you. Good morning. I previously have been a teacher of special education and a counselor. I hold both a bachelor's and a master's in education. I am currently a senior at Colgate Rochester Bexley Crozer-that is a seminary. I am working on my master's in divinity and will be graduating next May 14. I am looking for ordination in the Episcopal Church as a deacon and have about four more years to go till that happens. I have been a Federationist for two years. My first convention was two years ago. About a month after that my state affiliate's president invited me to a state leadership conference, and I also met my fiance at my first convention, so the Federation has been wonderful!"

Denise Howard, Georgia, Georgia: "Good morning. My name is Denise Howard, and I'm from Savannah, Georgia. I recently graduated from high school. In the fall I'll be a freshman at Spelman College. I plan to double major in English and elementary education. Thank you."

Mary Hurt, Kentucky, Kentucky: "I'm Mary Hurt from Louisville, Kentucky. My first convention was in '87. I'm a past treasurer of the Diabetics Division and Kentucky State representative for the Diabetics Division. In 1991 I raised $10,000 for that group, and I am a senior at the University of Louisville, studying business administration. I plan to pursue a career in the world of corporate finance, and I'm very honored to be here."

Jennifer Lehman, Wisconsin, Minnesota: "Good morning, everyone. My name is Jennifer Lehman. I'm a recent graduate of BLIND, Inc. in Minnesota. I am President of the Minnesota Association of Blind Students, and I was elected last night to be the Secretary of the National Association of Blind Students. I'm also a member of the Metro Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. Right now I am a junior at the University of Minnesota. My major is sociology. My minor is communication and speech and hearing science. I would eventually like to be a speech clinician, working with preschoolers. I want to say that I am very honored to be a scholarship winner and very glad to be here for my third convention."

Zuhair Mah'd, Florida, Florida: "Good morning, fellow Federationists. I've always been told how hard it was to speak in public, but I guess I know now what it means. My name is Zuhair, and I am studying computer science at Florida Atlantic University. I also work for the Office for Students with Disabilities as a computer consultant in assistive technology. I'd like to take the opportunity here to thank the National Federation of the Blind very, very much for the help and the honor it has bestowed upon me. I'd like to make a pledge here to be, for everyone else that I meet, as helpful as the National Federation of the Blind has been to me. Thank you very much."

Angie Matney, West Virginia, Virginia: "Good morning. My name is Angie Matney. I recently graduated from Iager High School in Iager, West Virginia, and I will be attending Washington and Lee University in the fall, where I plan to major in English and/or computer science to pursue a career either in post-secondary education or in the field of adaptive technology for the blind. I would just like to thank each and every one of you for the opportunity that you have given me to attend my first NFB convention as a national scholarship winner and also to thank you for my new long white cane. Thank you very much."

Janelle McEachern, Arizona, Arizona: "Good morning, everybody, and greetings from the great state of Arizona, the home of the almost world champion Phoenix Suns-almost, I say. My name is Janelle McEachern, and I hold my Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University. It's a history degree in American and European military history. I am currently in law school, ASU College of Law. I'm studying to be a lawyer, and I am also taking my master's degree in American and British constitutional and legal history. I'm doing both at the same time, so I'm either desperate or crazy-I haven't figured out which yet. I hope to be both an attorney and a professor of constitutional and legal history for either American or British-I haven't figured out which. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. In my spare time I do disability advocacy. I am a prospective board member for the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living. I am a volunteer consultant on ADA accessibility guidelines for area historical museums and zoos. I also do local missionary work for my church, and I am a civil war history buff. Thank you."

Jonathon Mize, Texas, Texas: "Good late morning, close-to-lunch late morning. Welcome to Texas, where you have wide-open spaces and always pleasant-smiling faces-the only place where it costs a $10 cab fare just to get out of the airport. My previous background in education-I got an associate in science degree with emphasis in public administration from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, and transferred to Stephen F. Austin University as a junior majoring in public administration. I will continue to get my master's degree at the University of Texas at Austin, where I will also have the public administration master's. In the near future I plan to be a city manager or work in some of the state agencies-Lord knows they need help. Thank you."

Sally Nemeth, West Virginia, Ohio: "Good morning. How y'all doing out there? Good, I hope. I thought I'd try a little bit of Texan. This is my first NFB experience, and I have to say, what an incredible initiation! My background is in communication and psychology. I have a strong interest in the area of wellness. I am a member of the ADA Training and Implementation Network. This fall I'll be beginning a degree in counseling at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I hope eventually to obtain a Ph.D. in either counseling or counseling psych and with that to teach, to conduct seminars on a national basis, to write, counsel, engage in community service, and eventually join the Peace Corps. I thank you for your generosity in helping me to obtain my goals."

Jim Salas, New Mexico, New Mexico: "Good morning, everybody. I'm Jim Salas. I'm attending Webster University, pursuing a master's degree in human resources development. I'm interested in the people side of organizational effectiveness. For the last four years I've been the associates program chairman in New Mexico. Over that period of time we've quadrupled the number of associate recruiters, and we are the two-time defending national champion. They're going to be telling us in a little while who the champion is for this year, and we have some pretty good numbers again. If we win, great, congratulations to us. If Missouri or Maryland or California or one of those pretenders happens to get in this year, well congratulations to them; but remember there is always next year! Inthe immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, `Vi'll be back!'"

Carolyn Scharkey, Missouri, Missouri: "Hi. It's good to be here. I was the first licensed hairdresser in the state of Missouri as a blind person, and I then had three children of my own, two foster children, and just loved people. I decided to go into social work so will be entering the University of Missouri, St. Louis, in the fall. Thank you."

Christopher Smith, New Jersey, Rhode Island: "I just recently graduated from Ridgewood High School in northern New Jersey. I'll be a freshman at Brown University this September, and I plan to major in English, creative writing, with the goal to become a professional writer. This is my first experience with the Federation. I'd like to thank everyone for their truly sincere welcome, and I look forward to a long and committed future with the Federation. Thank you."

Chuck Strickland, California, California: "I have a master's degree in physics with a minor in computer science from Southwest Texas State University, which is where I've mostly been, in Texas. I was a participant in the Young Scholars program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and I was a science counselor there. It was held at SWT. I'm now going for a Ph.D. in physics. I hope to teach at the university level and do theoretical physics, make some contribution. I'm attending the University of California at Riverside. Thanks for your consideration."

Colleen Wunderlich, Illinois, Indiana: "Good morning. I would like to begin by thanking the Federation for the opportunity they have given me to be here today. I feel very fortunate to have received influence from these Federationists. I feel that they have a great sense of inner strength and pride, and I hope that I will achieve my dream of becoming a psychiatrist. Right now I will be attending Purdue University in the fall, where I will major in pre-med and psychology. Then I plan to go to medical school. I believe that the Federation will be here to help me achieve my dream. When I do so, I'd like to give that back to future generations to come. Thank you very much."

Peggy Pinder: "And there, Mr. President and members of the National Federation of the Blind, are the twenty-six scholarship winners this year."

As you will observe, it was an impressive group of students this year. Here are the awards they received: $2,000 NFB Merit Scholarships: Marvelena Desha, Tina Ektermanis, Al Fogel, Saeed Golnabi, Kathleen Hart, Denise Howard, Jonathon Mize, Christopher Smith, and James Strickland.

$2,000 Ellen Setterfield Memorial Scholarship: Janelle McEachern,

$2,000 Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship: Angela Matney.

$2,000 Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship: Ann Edie.

$2,500 NFB Scholarships: Jack Allord, William Cuttle, Christopher Foster, Mary Hurt, and Zuhair Mah'd.

$2,500 NFB Educator of Tomorrow Scholarship: Sally Nemeth.

$2,500 NFB Humanities Scholarship: Colleen Wunderlich.

$2,500 Frank Walton Horn Memorial Scholarship: Carolyn Scharkey.

$2,500 Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship: Maren Christensen.

$3,000 Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship: Matthew Brink.

$4,000 NFB Scholarships: Brigid Doherty and James Salas.

$4,000 Anne Pekar Memorial Scholarship: Laura Biro.

$10,000 American Action Fund Scholarship: Jennifer Lehman

In introducing Jennifer during the banquet for brief remarks, Peggy Pinder said:
Jennifer took time out during her undergraduate years to go to a training center for blind people when she met the Federation and realized that she needed what the Federation and its training centers have. She hasn't been in school this last year. She's going for the first time to the University of Minnesota (ranked as a junior), where she is earning a bachelor of science degree in sociology. As I think many of you know, Jennifer is an active and loved member of both the Minnesota and the Wisconsin affiliates and intends to be a pre-school speech clinician. Now here, for a few remarks, is this year's $10,000 scholarship winner, Jennifer Lehman.

Jennifer Lehman: Thank you all so much. I am very, very honored to be chosen as this year's top scholarship winner. I want to thank President Maurer and Dr. Jernigan and everyone in the National Federation of the Blind for all the help and support you have given me during the past three years.

I would not have been able to make it through a lot of situations that have happened in the past three years if it had not been for all the support from the members of the Federation family. I can't even tell you how I feel right now or how much the NFB means to me. So I just want to say that I will continue to be active in this organization and help to change what it means to be blind. I want to help get more people into the movement so that everyone's life can be changed as much as mine has been by this wonderful organization. Thank you all.[applause]

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