Release Date: 
Friday, May 11, 2012
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Announces 
2012 Scholarship Program Winners

Baltimore, Maryland (May 11, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, today announced the winners of its 2012 Scholarship Program, which awards thirty scholarships each year to recognize achievement by blind scholars.  The winners are listed below in alphabetical order with their home states and vocational goals:

Cody Bair, CO: certified public accountant (CPA)

Kimie Beverly, NV: lawyer, specializing in disability and employment law

Brandon Keith Biggs, CA: music teacher, opera singer, actor

Matthew Bowers, TN: professor of atmospheric sciences, climatology

Nallym Bravo, FL: university administrator or director of student affairs

Chrys Buckley, OR: professional writer specializing in medicine and physics

Robert Campbell, OH: attorney

Jordyn Castor, MI: software developer

Christopher De Jesus, NY: psychiatrist 

Michael Foster, NJ:  CEO or CFO for a nonprofit

Harriet Go, PA: special education administrator, specialist in reading curricula and literacy

Sierra Gregg, MO: librarian

Rachel Grider, CA: professional singer, composer

Brandon “Trey” Lewis, OK: talent agent for musicians and actors

ShaQuantaey Mack, GA:  administrator of nonprofit agency for community empowerment (MSW)

Alyssa Munsell, NH: clinical social worker (MSW)

Stephanie O’Donnell, NH: special education/elementary teacher in a public school

Valeria Paradiso, NY: psychiatrist

Emily Pennington, OH: lawyer, specialist in accounting

Briley Pollard, VA: federal special education policy analyst

Rylie Robinson, IN: teacher of blind high school students

April Scurlock, AR: special education teacher, grades 4-12

Jennifer Shields, VA: editor, writer, or publishing company executive

Michael Sipes, MO: attorney, specialist in public interest law

Rose Sloan, IL: director of an agency for education policy (government or nonprofit)

Kyra Sweeney, CA: psychologist or lawyer

Brandon Terry, UT: facilities manager or construction manager

Elizabeth Troutman, NC: lawyer, specialist in education policy and disability laws

Maria “Monica” Villarreal, TX: lawyer

Brandy Wood, AL: rehabilitation counselor or teacher

“These students represent academic excellence, and many of them are doubtless future leaders of this nation’s blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.  “They are forging a path in disciplines as varied as climatology, software development, special education, law, and psychiatry.  They are proof of our conviction that we, the blind of this nation, can compete on terms of equality with our sighted peers, and we are very proud of their accomplishments.”  

In July each winner will attend the NFB’s seventy-second annual national convention in Dallas, Texas, where the Scholarship Committee will spend several days getting to know each student and then decide which scholarship (ranging in value from $3,000 to $12,000) to award each of them.  The scholarship winners will then be announced at the banquet of the NFB convention on Thursday, July 5.

For more information on the National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program, visit