Future Reflections Winter 1993, Vol. 12 No. 1


by Barbara Pierce

     If you were a college or graduate student, what could you do with $10,000, or even $2,000? Tuition, books, rent, adaptive equipment: the demands are endless, and the money one has available never stretches far enough. As the parent of three students, I know how unbalanced the equation can be that arranges demands on one side and resources on the other. And all of us know just how many more expenses blind students have than most others.

     That is why the National Federation of the Blind established a scholarship program many years ago and why we expanded it in 1984. For the most part, people do not believe that blind post-secondary students who have the same dreams as their sighted counterparts are quite right in the head. If they are so foolish as to pursue such fields as international relations, electrical engineering, or medicine, they are dismissed immediately as "out of touch with reality." Even if they major in education, counseling, or computer science but do not express a burning desire to "help blind people live more satisfying lives," obstacles are still often placed in their paths.

     We in the National Federation of the Blind begin with the premise that blind students have as much right as anybody else to try to fulfill their dreams, and we believe that blindness as such is no reason to assume that a given individual cannot do a designated job or enter a particular profession. The individual may not have the intelligence, dexterity, stamina, creativity, or alternative skills to do the work successfully, and some of these limitations may well prove insurmountable; but blindness, which is so often held up as the obvious explanation, is not really the culprit.

     The National Federation of the Blind's 1993 scholarship program seeks to find the twenty-six most outstanding blind post-secondary students in the United States today and honor them for their ground-breaking work. We want to help them on their way as much as we can. These twenty-six students will be selected on the basis of academic excellence, service to the community, and financial need (recipients of Federation scholarships need not be members of the National Federation of the Blind.) We will present the 1993 winners with awards ranging in value from $2,000 to $10,000, and we will bring them as our guests to the 1993 convention of the National Federation of the Blind to experience first-hand the excitement and stimulation of a gathering of the largest and most dynamic organization of blind people in the country today.

     Anyone can order scholarship forms from the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. NFB State Presidents and members of the 1993 Scholarship Committee will also have scholarship forms. These may be copied as long as both sides of the form are reproduced. Send completed applications to: Miss Peggy Pinder, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 814 - 4th Avenue, Suite 200, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. The completed form must be received by March 31, 1993.

     The hard-working 1993 Scholarship Committee will gather in the spring to evaluate hundreds of scholarship applications. They will also work closely with the scholarship winners during the convention in Dallas, Texas. The following people have been appointed to serve on the 1993 Scholarship Committee: Peggy Pinder, Iowa, Chairman; Adrienne Asch, New York; Steve Benson, Illinois; Charles Brown, Virginia; Sharon Buchan, Alaska; Douglas Elliott, Nevada; Priscilla Ferris, Massachusetts; Michael Gosse, Pennsylvania; John Halverson, Missouri; Allen Harris, Michigan; David Hyde, Oregon; Bill Isaacs, Illinois; Carl Jacobson, New York; Kristen Jocums, Utah; Susan Jones, Indiana; Tami Dodd Jones, Michigan; Kathy Kannenberg, North Carolina; Scott LaBarre, Minnesota; Melissa Lagroue, Alabama; Reggie Lindsey, Tennessee; Sharon Maneki, Maryland; John Miller, California; Maria Morais, New Mexico; Homer Page, Colorado; Barbara Pierce, Ohio; Ben Prows, Washington; Eileen Rivera, Maryland; Fred Schroeder, New Mexico; Larry Streeter, Nebraska; C. Edwin Vaughan, Missouri; Ramona Walhof, Idaho; Jim Willows, California; Joanne Wilson, Louisiana; Gary Wunder, Missouri; Robin Zook, Utah. Scholarships to be given at the National Convention in 1993 are listed here with any special restrictions noted:

     1. Ezra Davis Memorial Scholarship; $10,000; endowed by Ezra Davis and given by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, a nonprofit organization which works to assist blind persons. No additional restrictions.
     2. National Federation of the Blind Scholarships; sixteen to be given: two for $4,000; five for $2,500; nine for $2,000. No additional restrictions.
     3. Anne Pekar Memorial Scholarship; $4,000; given in loving memory of Anne Pekar by her parents, who say "The purpose of the scholarship is to help others as Anne had tried to do in her various volunteer endeavors....It is our hope that this small gesture in her name will remind us of the wonderful things about Anne and, in particular, her concern about other people and her desire to help." Winner must be a woman between the ages of 17 and 25.
     4. Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship; $3,000; given in memory of Melva T. Owen, who was widely known and loved among the blind. She and her husband Charles Owen became acquainted with increasing numbers of blind people through their work in the "Voicepondence" Club. Charles Owen says: "There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed towards attaining financial independence and shall exclude religion and those seeking only to further general or cultural education."
     5. Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship; $2,500; winner must be studying or planning to study in the fields of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, or the natural sciences.
     6. Frank Walton Horn Memorial Scholarship; $2,500; given by Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Barnum, the mother and stepfather of Catherine Horn Randall. No additional restrictions, but preference will be given to those studying architecture or engineering.
     7. National Federation of the Blind Humanities Scholarship; $2,500; winner must be studying in the traditional Humanities such as art, English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, or religion.
     8. National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Award; $2,500; winner must be planning a career in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary teaching.
     9. Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship; $2,000; Dr. Isabelle Grant endowed this scholarship in memory of her daughter. Winner must be a woman.
     10. Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship; $2,000; given in loving memory of her parents, Charles Albert Kuchler and Alice Helen Kuchler, by Junerose Killian, dedicated member of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. No additional restrictions.
     11. Ellen Setterfield Memorial Scholarship; $2,000; given in memory of Ellen Setterfield by Roy Landstrom, who says: "During the course of her life, she gave of herself to defend the dignity and self-respect of those around her." Winner must be studying social sciences at the graduate level.