Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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 2014 Scholarship Program Finalists

Baltimore, Maryland (May 14, 2014): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, today announced the finalists for its 2014 Scholarship Program, which awards thirty scholarships each year to recognize achievement by blind scholars.  The students are listed below in alphabetical order with their home states and vocational goals.
• Alex Anderson, NJ:  Lawyer 
• Anna "Anya" Avramenko, KS:  Court interpreter for Russian, Ukrainian, and Spanish
• Cynthia Bennett, WA:  Human-centered technology researcher and designer 
• Shawn Berg, WA: Mechanical engineer designing airframe parts and systems 
• James Boehm, TN:  Vocational rehabilitation counselor
• Candice Chapman, MN:  University counselor
• Alan Chase, NC:  Public school superintendent
• Craig Cooper, OR:  Social studies teacher (grades 6-12)
• Hayden Dahmm, PA:  Environmental engineer 
• Jonathan Franks, TX: Licensed clinical social worker for children 
• Cathy Gaten, CA: Rehabilitation counselor
• Stanley Ingram, PA:  Information Technology (IT) project manager
• Meesha Johnson, NY: Attorney in the field of human services
• Amber Kraft, ND: Computer programmer
• Rebecca Leon, TN: Social worker, bilingual in English and Spanish
• Paige “Alana” Leonhardy, ID: Psychologist for violence survivors 
• Katelyn MacIntyre, AZ: Concert vocalist and music educator
• Derek Manners, MA:  Administrative lawyer specializing in public policy on employment
• Elizabeth Muhammad, PA: journalist or lawyer
• Yevgeniya “Zhenya” Pankova, MA: Math teacher or special education teacher
• Sarah Patnaude, VA: Civil rights attorney
• Emily Pennington, OH: Lawyer specialist for accounting and taxes
• Deja Powell, UT: Orientation and mobility instructor and teacher of blind students
• Amanie Riley, NY: Teacher of the blind and visually impaired
• Lucia Sidi, IL: Civil rights attorney for disabled clients
• Mark Turley, UT: High school math teacher
• Anna Walsh, AL: Lawyer 
• Beverly Weiler, CO: Mental health counselor for troubled adolescents
• Isaiah Wilcox, GA: Contract specialist with an MBA
• Justin Williams, SC:  Vocational rehabilitation counselor 
“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 mechanical engineering, social work, special education, law, and information technology.  They are proof of our conviction that we, the blind of this nation, can live the lives we want; blindness does not hold us back. We are very proud of their accomplishments.”  
In July each finalist will attend the NFB’s seventy-fourth annual national convention in Orlando, Florida, 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 Sunday, July 6.
For more information on the National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program, visit