NABS Notes for the month of December

NABS Notes December 2016

The National Association of Blind Students
A proud division of the National Federation of the Blind.

December NABS Notes 2016, Jump to sections

Accessible Student Loan Services

In October 2014, NFB entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to make all federal student loan information accessible to blind individuals. Under the agreement, the Department and its loan servicers should now offer:

  1. accessible websites
  2. digital forms that can be filled out, submitted, and saved on electronic devices
  3. timely provision of alternative formats for all documents, including notices, statements, and publications

If you have had difficulty receiving accessible federal student loan information in the past year or otherwise believe that the Department or one of its loan servicers is not fulfilling its obligations under our agreement, please contact Valerie Yingling at


The NFB is investigating the accessibility of McGraw-Hill products and platforms, including ALEKS, Connect, and SmartBook. If you have encountered access barriers with McGraw-Hill products or platforms, please contact Valerie Yingling at:

Thank you

Washington Seminar reservations extended

Dear Federation Family,

The Holiday Inn Capitol has extended the deadline for Washington Seminar reservations through this Tuesday, January 3, 2017.

To book a reservation, please dial (877) 572-6951

using booking code F7B, or by clicking here

Rates for the 2017 Washington Seminar are $188 per night with an applicable tax of 14.5%. The Great Gathering-In is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on January 30, and we will be visiting the offices of House and Senate members on Tuesday, January 31; Wednesday, February 1; and Thursday, February 2. I hope this helps you if you have been considering joining us for all of the fun in Washington, DC.

Happy Holidays, and I look forward to seeing you in 2017.

Research opportunity

Researchers at Educational Testing Service (ETS) would like to identify a pre-service teacher (college student) who is blind who could participate in a focus group study about a new teacher licensure assessment we are working on. We would pay an honorarium and all travel expenses. The person must be available for participation in a face-to-face meeting in

Princeton, New Jersey

all day Wednesday 18 January 2017

and a
half day on Thursday 19 January (traveling 17 January as necessary
. The person should be currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program and be a user of
braille. Please contact Carlos Cavalie

and copy Eric Hansen

as soon as possible.

Call to action for law students

As you may remember, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas against Barbri, Inc. on behalf of a putative class of blind students. The lawsuit, Stanley, et al. v. Barbri, Inc., Civil Action No. 16-cv-01113-BK, concerns accessibility of the Barbri bar review website and mobile application, which are not fully accessible to talking screen readers, making it difficult to get access to all the study tools and course materials. Additionally, the materials provided in alternate formats are often not delivered on time and are not complete.

Briefing is complete on Barbri’s motion to dismiss, and we are entering the discovery phase. Our motion for class certification will be due in February. In advance of that motion, we would like to hear from people who have been impacted by Barbri’s inaccessibility.

If anyone who is legally blind has either taken Barbri between April of 2014 and the present, wanted to take Barbri between April of 2014 and the present but was deterred because you knew they were not accessible, or is currently taking or planning to take Barbri, please get in touch with me. You can email me at

or call me at:


and ask for Deepa Goraya.

National Federation of the Blind National Scholarship

National Federation of the Blind 2017 Scholarship Program

visit scholarship page here

Deadline: March 31, 2017
Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or Puerto Rico? This annual program offers 30 scholarships in dollar amounts from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2017, up through grad students working on their PhD degrees. These merit scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In addition to the money, each winner will receive assistance to attend the July 2017 NFB annual convention in Orlando, Florida providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations. To apply, read the rules and the Submission Checklist, complete the official 2017 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one interview by an NFB affiliate president (unless the president requests a later date). Applications are accepted through March 31. Go to for complete rules and requirements.

Please, also consult your state president as many of our state affiliates also award scholarships. A list of state affiliate president information can be found at:


Science and Engineering Call

The Science and Engineering Division and The National Association of Blind Students of the National Federation of the Blind announce a Joint Science Oriented Phone Conference On

January 9, 2017, at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST

The Science and Engineering Division and The National Association of Blind Students will have a science-oriented phone conference. The conference will use the NABS conference line with the contact information as follows:

Call: 605-475-6700

Access code: 7869673

The speakers and topics are as follows:

  • John Miller will speak on how to do physics and engineering
  • Kennedy Stomberg will speak on how to do biology labs
  • Ashley Neybert will talk about how to do chemistry labs
  • Kristen Johnson will describe how to do dissections

For more information, please contact either:

National Association of Blind Students President Kathryn Webster

Phone: 203-273-8463

Science and Engineering President John Miller

Phone: 858-527-1727


NABS Board Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes
, 2016

Meeting called to order at: 9:05 P.M

Members Present:.

  • Kathryn Webster (President)
  • Syed Rizvi (2nd Vice President)
  • Luke Schwinck (Treasurer)
  • Vee Gaspa (Board Member 1)
  • Chris Nusbaum (Board member 3)
  • Bryan Duarte (Board Member 4)

Treasurer’s Report:

Checking account balance: $5466.80

Current work

President webster:

We have improved relations with the rest of the leadership nationally.
Vice president Brown:

Communication gathering. Very few people showed up. Starting to gather training center letters. Getting in touch with her states. The membership call was extremely well attended. The next call will be in Washington Seminar. Instead of having the last call of the month, we will have it on the 22nd.
Vice President Risvi:

Getting ready for Washington seminar. He has also been working on a fundraiser in Rustin
Treasurer Schwink:

We finally got some money coming in, slowly but surely. Fundraiser restaurants have not gone well yet, but they are bringing in some money. Auction items are ¾ gathered.
Board member Williams:

$215 was raised from a chilleys fundraiser in Rustin. He would like each committee to have updates to Brian on the 22nd.
Board member Nussbaum:

They have another fundraiser coming together in Rustin at Apple Bees. He is also working with the local restaurants going. Michigan is growing a great deal.
Board member Duarte:

He is participating in Ohio’s first board call. Trying to build nabs notes on time. Date of next meeti

New Business:

  • Cookbooks: Luke is collecting orders. If we could all collect ten orders in the next week. The order form will be up by the end of the week. The cookbook has approximately 50 recipes.
  • Legislative seminar: Jan 13 or 13 or mid-march post Washington Seminar. It would be awesome to try to use this as a mentoring Toole
  • Student funding program for Washington Seminar: Requirements- students must attend a legislative call prior to Washington Seminar. It will be Jan 22. People are getting different amounts of funding. We had many applicants, but we could only fund some. Everyone must be there from Monday morning to Wednesday.
  • NABS rep: possess for reimbursement goes to Webster and schwink . We have provide ground transportation.
  • Washington Seminar: In person board meeting: Sunday 8:00 P.M./7:00 A.M. Monday morning
  • NABS winter seminar: A general agenda has been made. Nusbaum will work with Webster to develop the agenda. Email or text Webster with information.
  • NABS café: We have hired a DJ. If someone wants to request a song, $1. To dedicate a song to a person $2. NABS board needs to be ready to jump on board!
  • 8AM registration starting?
  • Door prizes: NJ will be donating a basket.

Meeting adjourned at: 10:05 P.M.

NABS Committee Updates

Communications committee

  • We did not hold a communications committee meeting in December
  • We still need blog post writers who are willing to share their blindness related testimony. Please reach out to Bryan if you are willing to write for the NABS blog.
  • Fundraising Committee

    The fundraising committee is coming out of the holiday gates running! We are continuing to prepare for the NABS café at Washington Seminar. This year NABS café will be on Monday January 30th from 8:30pm until midnight. We are selling wristbands now for $5 and the price in Washington D.C. will be $7 so don’t delay get your NABS café wristband today! The fundraising committee is also selling the first ever NABS cookbook which was compiled by our fellow blind students from around the country. If you would like to pre-order a NABS cookbook please get in contact with any member of the NABS board or NABS fundraising committee. The price is $15 and it contains over 40 mouth-watering recipes. Lastly the tentative meeting times for the fundraising committee meetings in January are the 8th and 22nd both at 8pm central time.

    Legislative Committee

    • The George Washington University officially passed a resolution in support of AIM-HEA.
    • The Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor is conducting researching into the parameters of AIM-HEA, in order to determine what support he can offer.
    • Our last call well attended, but we still need more testimonials from students. If you have a story to tell about accessibility or inaccessibility in the classroom, send the story to the legislative committee or the president of the National Association of Blind Students.

    Membership Committee

  1. We recapped our November membership call about our national
    scholarship program.
  2. We began discussing a future project about gathering training center stories.
  3. Our January membership call will be about Washington seminar.
  4. Our next membership committee call will be January 8th.

December Blog Post

Greetings NABS and welcome to the holiday season. Hopefully all of your finals and projects have gone well and you can enjoy your winter break. Here is a blog post that I think many of you will enjoy. It is written by a gentleman named Mike Armstrong, who shares his personal story about how he leads teams of blind students in and out of the Grand Canyon in one day. Mr. Armstrong is an amazing man who lost his vision over 20 years ago and continues to live the life he wants everyday! Join with me in reading this amazing story about his last trek into the Grand Canyon with a group of blind and low vision students.

Follow the link to read it now.

Click Here

Thank you and enjoy

Student division updates by state

Happy holidays from National Federation of the Blind Students