Release Date: 
Friday, July 13, 2007
John G. Paré Jr.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2371
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)
Peggy Elliot, Chairman
Scholarship Committee
(641) 236-3366

National Federation of the Blind Awards $122,000 in Scholarships
to Thirty Outstanding Blind Students

Sachin Dev Pavithran of Utah Receives $12,000 Scholarship

Baltimore, Maryland (July 12, 2007): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of the blind, awarded $122,000 in scholarships to thirty blind scholars at its 67th annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia.  Among the recipients was Sachin Dev Pavithran of Providence, Utah, who was awarded the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship for $12,000.  Pavithran is pursuing his master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling at Utah State University and hopes to become a rehabilitation researcher.

“These students represent the future of this nation’s blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “They are forging a path of excellence in disciplines as varied as international mediation, speech pathology, environmental biology, law and psychology. They are proof of our conviction that the blind can compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers, and we are very proud of their accomplishments.” 

Approximately five hundred students competed for the NFB scholarships.  A committee of blind persons representing a cross section of the NFB membership, including several former scholarship winners, narrowed the field to thirty winners.  Each winner was then given an all expenses paid trip to the NFB annual convention in Atlanta, where the committee spent several days getting to know each student.  Only after that process was complete did the committee decide which scholarship to award each winner. Nearly three thousand blind people attended the convention, the largest gathering of its kind in the United States this year.

In addition to the NFB scholarship, each of the thirty winners received a $1,000 check and plaque from the Kurzweil Foundation, the new Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind Reader (a $2,595 value) provided by the National Federation of the Blind and presented by Ray Kurzweil, the Kurzweil 1000 reading system software (a $995 value) from Kurzweil Educational Systems, and a year’s subscription to from the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. The Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind Reader, developed by the National Federation of the Blind and inventor Ray Kurzweil, is a portable device that easily fits in a backpack, briefcase or purse. It allows blind and visually impaired people to read most printed materials at the snap of a picture.

Please contact Jessica Freeh at for a photo of the scholarship winner.