Release Date: 
Friday, May 13, 2011
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
2011 Scholarship Program Winners

Baltimore, Maryland (May 13, 2011): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, today announced the winners of its 2011 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:

  • Yasen Angelov, FL: certified public accountant (CPA)
  • Jessica Beecham, TN: therapeutic recreation specialist for persons with disabilities
  • Mary Billington, NY: educational policy and management specialist
  • David Bouchard, MS: teacher of orientation and mobility
  • Christine Daniels, CO:  scientist/professor of cellular and molecular biophysics
  • Roberto Diaz, CT:  teacher of American history to at-risk youth
  • Aleeha Dudley, OH: equine veterinarian
  • Heather Edwards, SC: disability services coordinator
  • Christopher Fountain, VA: family and marriage counselor
  • Brenton R. Fuchs, CT: business administration and marketing
  • Diane Graves, IN: social services administrator
  • Michelle Hackman, NY: scientist specializing in behavioral science
  • Shafeka Hashash, NJ: lawyer or international relations specialist at the UN
  • Carry Joanis, NY: MBA-credentialed financial analyst or product manager
  • Kathleen Katulak, NY: teacher of the blind and educational researcher
  • Catherine Lei, CA: patent attorney and expert in the physical sciences
  • Ma’ayan Malter, IL: professor of economics 
  • Daniel Martinez, TX: teacher of blind students
  • Ryan T. McBee, OR: elected politician or political consultant
  • Julie McGinnity, MO: vocal coach, professional singer, and German translator
  • Terence Meehan, CA: medical doctor involved in clinical research and teaching
  • Sylvia Modesitt, MO: scientist/professor of astrophysics or molecular biology
  • Justin Salisbury, CT: professor of quantitative economics
  • Kyle Shachmut, MA: administrator/professor of educational media and technology
  • Amber K. Sherrard, LA: nutritionist
  • Sandra Sommers, OH: physical therapist
  • Mikaela Stevens, ID: motivational public speaker
  • Kristina Vu, TX: lawyer
  • Henry Wedler, CA: professor of chemistry
  • Matthew C. Yeater, IN: minister and evangelist

“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 economics, molecular biology, physical therapy, law, and nutrition.  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-first 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 Friday, July 8.

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