The National Federation of the Blind scholarship program is the largest of its kind for blind students in the United States. Each year we award more than $120,000 in cash and prizes. We would like to recognize the generous partners who contribute to our scholarships and those who add cash and prizes to help make this such a dynamic program.
Some scholarships are supported by the Lillian S. Edelstein Trust. All scholarships that are awarded to blind women and are not otherwise endowed are made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Dorothy R. Olson. Some NFB scholarships are made possible in part through the support of the Jesse and Hertha Adams Charitable Trust. Through the trust, Jesse and Hertha Adams wanted to help people with disabilities lead productive and meaningful lives.
Thank you to the partners who add cash and prizes to each of our winners’ packages: The Kurzweil Foundation and Ray Kurzweil add $1,000 to each recipient’s award and provide each finalist with a commemorative plaque in both print and Braille. Ray Kurzweil is a long-time friend of the Federation and deserves our special recognition. Google Inc. adds another $1,000 to each winner’s scholarship. Google also provides each recipient with an Acer Chromebook.
Independence Science is proud to award each winner a $1,500 gift certificate to be redeemed toward the purchase of a new Sci-Voice talking LabQuest, version 2. Vispero will award each winner with a five-year home software license for their choice of either JAWS screen reading software or ZoomText magnifier with speech. Winners also enjoy the gift of a KNFB Reader, courtesy of the National Federation of the Blind.
Thank you to these contributors for helping to fund our twenty-two $3,000 scholarships: The E. U. and Gene Parker Scholarship honors two longtime leaders of the National Federation of the Blind whose participation stood for strong principles and strong support of the Federation's work. The Charles and Betty Allen Scholarship is funded by Betty Allen. This scholarship is given by a longtime leader in the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky. Betty and her late husband Charles began this scholarship prior to his passing to support young people in attaining higher education. Charlie, who was extremely successful, left school at an early age to care for his family but retained a strong belief in education. The Adrienne Asch Memorial Scholarship is given in loving memory of Dr. Adrienne Asch, a consummate scholar and a longtime member of our Scholarship Committee. The Edith R. and Alvin J. Domroe Foundation supports college scholarships and has funded its scholarship to encourage academic excellence. One Charles and Melba T. Owen Memorial Scholarship is funded in the amount of $3,000. The NFB STEM Scholarship is jointly supported by the Science and Engineering and Computer Science Divisions and is awarded to a student studying in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or a related field. Members of these divisions wish to encourage the success of blind STEM students in their chosen field of study.
Anonymous contributors—you know who you are—and we thank you very much. Our gratitude goes out to the collective membership of the NFB for funding many National Federation of the Blind scholarships. This year, one of our NFB scholarships will be dedicated to Federationists impacted by, and first responders coping with, COVID-19. Also this year we will present four awards in the amount of $5,000 each. The first of these is funded by the collective membership of the National Federation of the Blind. The Pearson award is funded by Pearson Education and is given to a student who plans a career in education. For Pearson, learning is a never-ending road of discovery. The Mimi and Marvin Sandler award is funded by longtime friends of the Federation. Marvin Sandler served as president of Independent Living Aids for more than thirty years. He and his wife wish to further academic excellence by sponsoring this award.
The JAWS for Windows Scholarship is funded by the developers of the JAWS screen reader, Vispero. JAWS, Job Access with Speech, has been committed to expanding the opportunities of education and employment for the blind with both speech and Braille since the late 1980s. In establishing this award Vispero said, “On behalf of all the individuals responsible for the development and support of this product over the years, we are honored to establish this scholarship for students recognized by the Federation.”
We have two $8,000 scholarships, both donated by Oracle. Thank you, Oracle. The first is the Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science. Oracle seeks to hire the best and brightest talent to build its products. It recognizes the significant impact that its products and technologies can have on people with disabilities. This scholarship is for a student in the field of computer science, computer engineering, user experience, or a related field. The second is the Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in a STEM Field. This scholarship awards academic excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Oracle wishes to promote excellence and funds this scholarship based on Oracle’s understanding of its impact on disabled employees and customers throughout the globe.
Our $10,000 scholarship is another Charles and Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship. First established by Charles Owen in loving memory of his blind wife, this award is now endowed to honor the memory of both. In founding the scholarship, Charles Owen wrote: "There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed toward attaining financial independence.”
Finally, we have our most prestigious scholarship, the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship for $12,000. This scholarship is given yearly by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, a nonprofit organization that works to create publications and assists blind people. Kenneth Jernigan is viewed in our field as the most important figure in the twentieth century in the lives of blind people. The Action Fund wishes to keep the understandings he brought to the field alive and well throughout the twenty-first century and has endowed this scholarship dedicated to his memory and to the continuation of the work he began.
Each of our thirty scholarships rewards academic excellence and promotes leadership in the blindness community. They are all made possible by the generous contributions of many individuals and partners. Our winners are living the lives they want, and we sincerely thank all of you. You help make dreams come true!