NABS Notes For The Month Of June

NABS Notes June 2017

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

NABS Notes, June 2017, Jump to sections

National Federation of the Blind Announces 2017 Scholarship Program Finalists


National Federation of the Blind Announces 2017 Scholarship Program Finalists

Baltimore, Maryland (May 11, 2017):
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation?s oldest and largest organization of blind people, today announced the finalists for its 2017 Scholarship Program, which awards thirty scholarships each year to recognize achievement by blind scholars. The students are listed below in alphabetical order with their home states and vocational goals.

  1. Lindsay Ball, ME: Adaptive physical education teacher
  2. Cricket Bidleman, CA: Anthropology professor
  3. Katherine Brafford, CA: Work at the intersection of science and religion
  4. Aneri Brahmbhatt, IL: Record label manager
  5. Shannon Cantan, HI: Business administration
  6. Melissa Carney, CT: Clinical psychologist
  7. Trinh Ha, AR: Dietitian
  8. Afton Harper, MO: Journalism
  9. Qusay Hussein, TX: Psychologist
  10. Catherine Jacobson, MN: Healthcare policy analyst
  11. Cassandra Mendez, OH: Assistive technology developer
  12. Tabea Meyer, CO: Advocate for marginalized groups
  13. Ibeth Miranda, TX: University professor
  14. Regina D. Mitchell, NV: Psychologist
  15. Jackie Mushington-Anderson, GA: Braille instructor
  16. Maureen Nietfeld, CO: Dietitian/Nutritionist
  17. Efose Oriaifo, VA: Biotechnology
  18. Chelsea Peahl, UT: Law/Advocacy
  19. Gloria Rodriguez, WA: Disaster mitigation and emergency preparedness
  20. Carla L. Scroggins, CA: International politics
  21. Luke Schwink, KS: Athletic marketing/Player development
  22. Alyssa Shock, NJ: Child psychologist
  23. Heather Simmons, CA: Literature professor
  24. Wayne Smith III, MD: Computer engineering/Data security
  25. Andrew Sydlik, PA: English teacher or disability advocate
  26. Sophie Trist, LA: Novelist
  27. Rachel Wellington, GA: STEM career
  28. James N. Yesel, ND: Entrepreneur
  29. Zeynep S. Yilmaz, AZ: Rehabilitation counselor education
  30. Ayoub Zurikat, TX: Mental health care provider

?The scholarship program is one of our most important initiatives,? said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. ?We are proud to honor these blind scholars, who are studying everything from biotechnology to anthropology, and to welcome each of them to our upcoming national convention and to the family of the National Federation of the Blind. The accomplishments of these outstanding students are proof of our conviction that we, the blind of this nation, can live the lives we want; blindness does not hold us back.?

Each finalist will attend the NFB?s seventy-seventh annual national convention, beginning July 10, 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 National Convention on
Saturday, July 15.

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

Scholarship Page

Import The 2017 National Convention Calendar With iCal

This is a link to a public iCloud calendar for the upcoming national convention. If you use an Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch click on the link below and the calendar will be added to your device.

Click here to import calendar

Here is a .ics file with the same events from the iCloud calendar. The events can be imported from the mail to the calendar apps on iPhone, Android, Outlook, ETC.

Click here to download the file

If you or anyone else has questions, please contact me at

Preregister for the NABS business meeting

This year at the national convention NABS will be holding it's NABS business meeting and as you know we ask that you preregister to make things easier and faster at the door. If you are attending the national convention this year and plan to attend the NABS business meeting please follow the link below and preregister. We thank you and look forward to seeing you this year.

Preregister Here

NABS Walk-A-Thon

Federation Family:

With National Convention upon us, our national student division is gearing up for an exciting 50th anniversary diamond celebration!

Calling all 2017 National Convention attendees:

we all know how much we walk each day. Meeting to meeting, running to grab a quick bite to eat, and rushing to another seminar. Wouldn’t it be awesome to raise some money for the future leaders of the NFB, or better yet the current leaders just by doing what we do each day?… WALK!

This year, we are proud to announce the inaugural 2017 NABS Walk-A-Thon.

This fundraising effort will be held on Wednesday, July 12, during the 2017 National Federation of the Blind National Convention.

So what exactly is a Walk-A-Thon? This will be a coordinated effort in which you create your own fundraising platform. Friends and family, or those who believe in our movement, they could be total strangers!, will ''pledge'' some amount per mile. These pledges represent a monetary value that your supporters promise to donate based on how many miles you walk throughout the day. The amount pledged is based on what the supporter wants to give. All you will have to do is use some sort of fitness wearable or a fitness app on your phone to record your distance between 7am and 10pm Wednesday, the 12th. It is that simple. The recording of your individual distance will start at 7am, or whenever you wake up, and end at the conclusion of our inaugural NABS Olympics! Once the clock strikes 10pm, participants will record their steps with NABS leaders. The top three winners will be rewarded with fabulous prizes and recognition!

Want to participate?

Registration Page

and read the description carefully. Then, click the Sign up button and follow the directions to register. Once your page is created, please share on all of your social media platforms. We would love to get as many participants and supporters as possible! We need your help to make this possible. I am calling on each of you to sign up, share your page, walk as you normally would, and support our national student division in all the good we do. Each day, we are raising the expectations of blind students across our nation. We cannot do it without your love, support, and encouragement!

Direct any questions or concerns to Dustin Cather, NABS Walk-A-Thon Coordinator, at Email Dustin

or via telephone at (309) 267-7670.

Let’s get walking!

Rideshare Testing Program

The NFB is seeking feedback from Lyft or Uber customers who have service animals or who travel with individuals with service animals. Your feedback will be used to assess how successfully Uber and Lyft are implementing new driver training requirements and policies regarding drivers’ obligations to transport riders with service animals, as per the companies’ settlement agreements with the NFB. If you use Lyft or Uber and have a service animal or travel with someone who has a service animal, your help with this testing process is critical. Please see
Information Page
for more information or contact at Valerie Yingling

(410) 659-9314, extension 2440


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:


NABS Cook Books

Greetings NABS,

NABS is selling accessible cook books to help raise funds so we can help sponsor students to attend our national convention. Please consider purchasing one of your own and contact friends and family to get one into their hands as well. This cookbook is a diverse collection of recipes submitted by blind students from across the country. It is divided into three sections which are appetizers, entrees, and of course desserts! Each section contains a multicultural influence from Asian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Italian, and down home American comfort food. At the front of the book it also has helpful non visual cooking tips and where to find non visual kitchen gadgets. We are able to print these in braille, large print, and regular print. All varieties are sold for $15.

If you would like to purchase one of your own please follow this link to the order form. Thank you and lets continue to build a federation.

Cook Book Order Form

Back to School Aira Award

Good morning students:

For those who are planning on starting college in the fall of this year,
look no further. Enclosed, you will find an announcement regarding a special
offer for those interested. Please direct any questions to me at

A huge thank you to Aira for continuing a lasting partnership with the national
Federation of the Blind, most notably, our students.

Back to School Aira Award

Eligibility Requirements

* Students entering into a university/college program in the Fall of

* Students attending the National Convention of the National
Federation of the Blind

How to Win?

We love great stories! During the 2017 National Convention of the National
Federation of the Blind, we're looking for students to share a story with
our judges in a 1-minute pitch.

When: Wednesday, July 12 from 8-10pm

Where: National association of Blind Students (NABS) Olympics

Location: Wekiwa 4, level 2

1-Minute Pitch

Tell us how technology benefits you in achieving independence in your daily

This story should highlight one idea on how a service like Aira could help
make your transition to this exciting stage of your life the best it can be.

Helpful hints:

* Briefly describe the challenge. It could be navigating a new
campus or city, mastering a transportation system or shopping for items in
the campus bookstore.

* Tell us how a visual assistant service might help. Beyond
providing visual cues, how might a service like this make you feel.

* Tell us what features you make this an even more autonomous
offering. What would you add or change to enhance your abilities to act
even more independently?

Why Participate?

Initially, college students typically face challenges in the fast-moving
environment of higher education or campus life. Access to visual and
environmental information whenever and wherever they need it can help
navigate these challenges. Your story helps us understand those challenges
and helps us create the best solution for your needs.
What You Win

* Winners will receive Aira's Student Package that covers nine full
months of Aira's service.

* The top winner will be named an "Aira Student Advisor" and join
some of the top minds in business and the blind and low-vision community in
helping shape the future of our services.

* Ten students will be announced during the Annual Banquet of the
National Federation of the Blind on Saturday, July 15, 2017.

More Information:

What is Aira?

Aira is a service for blind and low-vision people that provides immediate,
time-relevant access to visual information about surroundings or items at
the point-of-need by fusing technology and human interaction.

* Smart glasses that capture video, GPS data and other sensor inputs
of the user's surroundings

* Broadband network to remotely connect the user with a visual
assistant---we call them "Agents" either human or software.

* Trained agents utilizing a dashboard that displays camera
information as well as a range of other sources and feeds that enable
real-time interaction to inform the user of what is in their immediate and
adjacent surroundings and environments. These might include access to
restaurant reviews and locations, current transportation schedules, alerts
to weather or construction along routes and other relevant and time
sensitive information.

* Software that enables agents to access and provide deep and robust
location-specific information to the users to help them navigate, select and
locate venues, locate their seat at sporting events, read signs or take
other actions that enhance their learning experience.

Today, students on college campuses are using the Aira services to
independently navigate campuses, master transportation systems, shop, and
learn more about the surroundings and environment that will be their home
for four or more years. Aira aims to integrate students into the mainstream
of campus life and the college experience in a whole new way.

You can learn more at

This Link

Good luck!

NABS Board Meeting Minutes

Greetings NABS, The board is compiling meeting minutes from several meetings in preparation for the national convention so the boasrd meeting minutes will be updated and posted soon. Thank you all for your participation and work to help us create an awesome 50th convention for NABS.

June Blog Post

From the Editor:
Kathryn Webster serves as the president of the National Association of Blind Students, a proud division of the national Federation of the blind. Prior to Kathryn’s presidency, she served as the Secretary/Treasurer of NABS, on the Connecticut Affiliate Board, and as President of the North Carolina Association of Blind Students. This past May, President Webster graduated from Wake Forest University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Analytics and Computer Science.The determination and leadership displayed by Miss Webster is second to none. Months before beginning her career at one of the top consulting firms in the world, she is spending her summer teaching technology to blind students at BLIND Inc., one of our National Federation of the Blind training centers. Join me in reading this month’s blog post written by a true Federationist as she discusses emotions gathered during and after National Convention.

If you have any questions please contact Bryan at:
Email Bryan

Read Blog Here

Student division updates by state


Greetings from Arizona students,

The Arizona students division is planning some fun events for our students. Thanks to the local traning centers we have in Arizona such as SAAVI Services for the Blind and the Foundation for Blind Children we have been able to engage students to participate. These events are primarily focused on getting our blind students together around some fun and let them learn about the National Federation of the Blind. Along with this fun we are planning for the summer, we are gearing up for what is going to be a monumental convention for students. This convention is the 50th anniversary of the National Association of Blind Students and there is going to be tons of things going on. We are excited to have several of our AABS board members attending the convention this year and we look forward to seeing you in the exhibit hall.


We are excited to be sending six students to national convention this year. Four of them being first timers. We are also working on plans for our state convention where we will be hosting the hospitality night.


The Kansas students will be busy in the time leading up to convention! We will be selecting and purchasing a delectable sampling of our infamous nuts to sell to our federation family at national convention. We also continue to reach out to other blind students around the state, and establish working relationships with university disability offices to better serve as advocates for blind students in higher education. Also this month we had the honor of our higher education advocacy efforts being supported by president Riccobono visiting Wichita and meeting face to face with WSU administrators.


The Louisiana Association of blind Students is getting pumped up for convention! We've spent the past month working on fundraisers for the awesome week. LABS is proud to announce that we will be selling braille jewelry for $10 at the Louisiana table. Come get a bracelet with the letters NFB on it to show off to your friends and support the blind students of Louisiana. We'll also be selling pralines on the go, because everyone needs a little snack during convention. LABS also Hosted a conference call this month, in which we learned about all the exciting things NABS has planned for convention. Our division looks forward to participating and seeing all of you in Orlando!


The Massachusetts student division is working to build membership and increase involvement. The board will be posting a different discussion topic to the MASSABS Facebook group each month to spark dialogue amongst students. The board is also planning future events such as membership calls and more engaging annual socials. MASSABS is excited for all of the convention festivities, as well as continuing to learn and grow as a division.


I have become the new president of the Nevada Association of Blind Students, with my vice president Ryan C. Hernandez. Our division has partnered up with the Nevada affiliate to host a variety of fundraisers. Our first fundraiser is at BJ’s restaurant and brewhouse. In this fundraiser, 20% of all sales will go towards the student division, and the division will split profits with the affiliate to help fund our first ever BELL academy. One of our other fundraisers will be a film showing of Do You Dream in Color, where the film will be shown and we will have a panel discussion with various students. We will possibly have a fifty fifty raffle and sell snacks and drinks. The student division will again split profits so that the BELL academy has enough funding. We are working so much daily so that we can increase our membership. In fact, one of our former board members has decided she wants to help our division by helping with fundraising, getting more students into the division, and writing to businesses to see if they would sponsor or donate to the division itself or some of our programs and events. I have some great news, one of our student members, Regina Miller is one of the recipients of the national scholarship, the first to do so since Michael Ausbun in about two to three years. In other incredible news, I am so happy to announce that my vice president and I will in fact be attending the national convention this year, and will work with the NABS functions.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Association of Blind Students recently hosted a successful student seminar. The seminar consisted of a panel discussing their experiences at a college or university. Afterwards, parents and students had their questions and concerns addressed by the panel. We enjoyed fostering the confidence in students and parents that attending an institution of higher education is entirely possible for students with visual impairments.


Hello from the Great State of Pennsylvania!
The Pennsylvania students are gearing up for a great convention where we unfortunately will not be selling T-shirts, but have two great raffles for you to participate in! One a $5 Taste of Pennsylvania raffle complete with delicious Gertrude Hawk and Hershey's Chocolate bars, as well as a Liberty bell and a mug from the Keystone state. The other a bluetooth speaker valued at $60, but it could be yours if you buy a $10 raffle ticket! Stop by the Pennsylvania exhibit hall table to learn more!


The Utah Association of Blind Students is excited to welcome a new board for the 2017-2018 year! Changes are as followed:
President: Chelsea Peahl
Vice President: Elijah Blake
Secretary: Mikaela Stevens
Treasurer: Karlee Peterson
Board 1: Jaycie Dabb
Board 2: Jered Mendenhall
Board 3: Laura Vincent

We are also proud of our high school and college graduates for the 2017 year, are excited to have a scholarship finalist from our great state, and can't wait for what this next year has in store for our great state!


Successful Student Summer: In collaboration with the student divisions of Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, VABS attended the Successful Student Summer seminar at the Jernigan Institute from June 2-4. There were 10 students from Virginia in total, 6 of which never attended an NFB or VABS event. This marked the first time that VABS has done a national or regional seminar appearance in over 5 years.
VABS Early Inclusion Program: The Virginia Association of Blind Students traditionalluy included members of high school and college when seeking membership. This fact has changed with the VABS Early Inclusion Program, a program in which the division will actively begin accepting students in 7th and 8th grade for membership to groom these people into student leaders for their upcoming high school years. Part of this program includes the amending of our elected board to include middle school interns alongside the board members. Their position will be to ko-chair our membership and fundraising committees, among other tasks.
VABS Win for a Week Sweepstakes: VABS newest fundraising effort for the National Convention has officially been set to be the Win for a Week Sweepstakes. In the 5-day long contest, VABS will be holding a 50/50 raffle each day beginning Tuesday, June 11. At the end of each day, a winning ticket will be pulled at 11pm. The winner of this drawing will win 50% of all the funds generated by VABS for that day. To purchase tickets, simply listen out for VABS members in the hallways, exhibit hall, or dining areas. You can also contact Robert Parsons, Kinston Walker, or Andrea Perry at 804 200 3275. Tickets costs $5 or 3 tickets for $10.