National Federation of the Blind
2016 Scholarship Program

Here are the thirty finalists for the NFB’s 2016 Scholarship Program. The students are listed below in alphabetical order with their home states and vocational goals. 

  • Tara Abella; Indiana; elementary/special education teacher
  • Justine “JJ” Aragon; Colorado; rehabilitation/counseling
  • Deniz Aydemir-Doke; Pennsylvania; education/faculty member
  • Samrawit Biyazin; Oregon; certified public accountant
  • Megan Borella; California; business or information systems
  • Riki Danielle Burton; Kentucky; teaching blind/visually impaired students
  • Brennan Carman; New York; medicine/research
  • Merry-Noel Chamberlain; Nebraska; higher education
  • Nathan Clark; Maryland; juvenile probation officer
  • Elif Emir Oksuz; Ohio; mental health counseling and counselor education
  • Laura Etori; New Jersey; actuary
  • Jameyanne Fuller; New Hampshire; law
  • Deanna Greco; New Jersey; brain research
  • Maria “Conchita” Hernandez; District of Columbia; research
  • Nazanin Heydarian; Texas; medical research
  • Sharon Jose; Virginia; computer science engineer
  • Matthew Miller; Illinois; actuary
  • James Garret Mooney; Arizona; law
  • Kathryn Olsen; Iowa; physical therapist
  • Chelsea Page; Louisiana; early interventionist and teaching blind students
  • Precious Perez; Massachusetts; professional performer and/or music educator
  • Donna Posont; Michigan; naturalist
  • Syed Rizvi; Massachusetts; health informatics and data analytics
  • Joe Dexter Rowell; Massachusetts; public interest law
  • Kartik Sawhney; California; software development
  • Kennedy Stomberg; Minnesota; research
  • Corgan Waters; Tennessee; pathology
  • Kathryn Webster; Connecticut; actuarial science consulting
  • Kassidy Wilde; Utah; psychology
  • Johna Wright; Georgia; education (blind)

To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty merit-based, national-level scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships awarded are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership.


All applicants for these scholarships:

  1. Must be legally blind (PDF document) in both eyes, and
  2. Must be residing in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, and
  3. Must be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, postsecondary course of study in a degree program at a United States institution in the 2016 scholastic year, except that one scholarship may be given to a person employed full-time while attending school part-time, and
  4. Must participate in the entire NFB national convention and in all of its scheduled scholarship program activities.

    In addition to a scholarship, each winner will receive assistance to attend the 2016 National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention which takes place June 30 to July 5, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 31, 2016. See Scholarship FAQ for details.

Please Note: Some PDF files will not upload to the online Application form. If this occurs, please attach the PDF file to an email and send it to [email protected].


What kind of student wins an NFB scholarship?  You may read about past NFB National Scholarship recipients in August-September "convention issues" of the Braille Monitor.

    Braille Monitor, August-September 2015
    Braille Monitor, August-September 2014
    Braille Monitor, August-September 2013
    Braille Monitor, August-September 2012
    Braille Monitor, August-September 2011

Please direct any additional questions to the chairperson.  Email is preferred.

Chairperson Patti Chang, Esq.
Email: [email protected]
Office: (410) 659-9314, extension 2415

NFB Scholarship Program
200 East Wells Street
   at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230


1. “College Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities” guidebook <> will help students and their families better understand the vast number of financial aid options available to students with disabilities, including those who face cognitive, physical, or other types of disabilities while attending school. Key elements of the guide include:

  • A comprehensive review of scholarships, listed by disability
  • Amounts awarded and deadlines for each scholarship
  • Debt-forgiveness options for those who acquired a disability post-graduation

2. "Helping Students with Visual Impairments" guide:

The guide was created in part by four experts in the field, who lent their experience and expertise to help provide students with visual impairments the tips and resources needed to succeed in school. Key features include:

  • Tips for choosing the right college
  • An in-depth look at the top assistive technology and tools being used 
  • Scholarships available for students with visual impairments