NABS Notes For The Month of May

NABS Notes May 2017

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

NABS Notes, May 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

National Convention Preregistration

Preregistration is now open. When purchased online by May 31st, the preregistration fee for convention is $25 ($30 on-site) and the cost of a banquet ticket is $60 ($65 on-site).

To preregister, please follow this link:

National Convention Preregistration

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

NABS Silent Auction

Greetings NABS,

As you all know we kicked off our silent auction fundraiser with 4 tickets to Sea World. . We want to first off thank you all for your support and participation in our first online silent auction. We are excited to announce the winner of the 4 Sea World tickets...

Lindsey Fritz from Wisconsin was the highest bidder at $250.00! Congratulations Lindsey!

We had several people make their bid and again we are so thankful for your participation and support. We will be launching another silent auction in June, so stay tuned...

NABS Board Meeting Minutes

Greetings NABS,

Currently we are compiling meeting minutes from several meetings in preparation for the national convention so the board 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.

May Blog Post

Greetings NABS,

This month, Hindley Williams shares some tips and tricks on landing a job after college. Ms. Williams is a past Board Member of NABS and a recent graduate of the Colorado Center for the Blind. Originally from Maryland, Hindley spent her undergraduate career at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. In this post, Hindley offers great advice for students who have recently graduated or are graduating in the near future.

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

Read Blog Here

Student division updates by state


Greetings from Arizona students,

During the month of April we held a meeting to discuss how each committee will opporate within the student division. It is so important that the student division is not separate from the state affiliate but works closely with. For this reason each board member has selected one or more state committee to be apart of and then each month they will have a good understanding about what is going on so we can be a part of it. We have also compiled new information to update our Arizona Students Division web page with and should have it up soon. From all of us here in Arizona we wish you will on your finals and the start to a great summer to come.


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 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!
We're gearing up for our empowering "Successful Student Summer" seminar to be held along side New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland the weekend of June 2nd! There's no better way to kick off the summer than with our Federation family. Speaking of summers with Federationists, be sure to bring $15 so that you can buy one of our PABS T-shirts when you see us at National Convention. The phrase, "From the foundation of our nation, to the foundation of the Federation" will be written on the back with our new PABS logo on the front. Follow us on Twitter @PABSNFB to vote for your favorite logo description! #SuccessfulStudentSummer #PabsNfb


I am pleased to report that during our state convention, held from the 7th through the 9th of April, I was elected to the position of WABS President. as you can see, I have humbly accepted. Other board members listed are:

Vice President: Stephen Toth
Secretary: Craig Duffeck
Treasurer: Lindsey Fritz
Board member 1: Nate Howard
Board member 2: Ellen Bartelt

We have met once since convention via telephone conference, as our meetings happen every second and fourth Sunday of each month unless otherwise scheduled. WABS board members in attendance at National Convention will be selling candy bars as a fund-raiser. we hope to have this fund-raiser under way sometime within the month of May, and it will run through the end of July.
I have asked all members present at the last meeting to come up with more ideas so we can get in the habit of fund-raising throughout the year, not just around convention time or in the month leading up to Washington seminar.
It is also my goal at some point in the future to lay the groundwork for, or even to start some kind of mentoring program for younger blind students in the state who need support as they move through academic and social settings at different ages and stages of schooling. someone needs to carry on with our work once those of us currently in WABS are no longer students, and we are in need of members, as we are small-numbered.
This concludes my report.