NABS Notes for November

NABS Notes November 2016

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

November NABS Notes, 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

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Issuance of Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act Regulations



Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Baltimore, Maryland (November 14, 2016): The National Federation of the Blind commented today on the issuance of regulations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to implement the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama to protect the blind and other pedestrians from the dangers posed by silent hybrid and electric vehicles.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:

"Having raised concerns on behalf of blind Americans about the dangers posed by silent hybrid and electric vehicles, the National Federation of the Blind is extremely pleased that technical specifications for a safe level of sound to be emitted by such vehicles have now been issued. The full implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 will protect all pedestrians, especially the blind, as well as cyclists. This regulation will ensure that blind Americans can continue to travel safely and independently as we work, learn, shop, and engage in all facets of community life.?

Studies conducted by NHTSA indicate that, under certain low-speed scenarios, the odds of hybrid and electric vehicles being involved in collisions with pedestrians are thirty-five percent higher than those for comparable internal combustion engine vehicles and that the odds of hybrid and electric vehicles being involved in collisions with cyclists are fifty-seven percent higher than for comparable internal combustion engine vehicles. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act was passed by unanimous consent in the United States Senate and by an overwhelming bipartisan majority vote of 379 to 30 in the House of Representatives. It was signed by President Obama on January 4, 2011.

Call to action for Pearson STEM Survey

If you haven’t yet, please take time to complete the NFB-Pearson STEM survey. Your participation in this detailed survey is critical; the survey results will help us broaden access to STEM subjects for future blind students. The survey is open through Friday, December 2. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of twenty $25 Amazon gift cards.

The NFB and Pearson seek to remove access barriers to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses. To do this, we need to better understand the barriers blind STEM students have encountered and have thus designed a detailed survey to help us gather information regarding classroom training, support, and educational materials. Your participation in this survey is critical; the survey results will help us broaden access to STEM subjects for future blind students.

Please take time to complete this survey by
Friday, December 2.
Participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of twenty $25 Amazon gift cards.

Application for Washington Seminar funding ends Friday

Federation leaders,

Happy belated Turkey Day! I truly hope each and every one of you had a relaxing and scrumptious, though brief, holiday break!
This is a quick note informing you that the student funding applications for financial support to attend Washington Seminar closes this Friday, December 2. The committee will begin reviewing applications right away, so late submissions will not be accepted.

Please distribute the below link to your students, members, or incoming students so we can make sure to have the greatest turnout yet. With AIM-HE as one of our big initiatives, students need to be with us teaching our representatives about the importance of equal access to education.

Click here to apply

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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:


NABS Board Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes
, 2016

Meeting called to order at: 9:00 P.M

Members Present:.

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

Treasurer’s Report:

Luke reported that our present balance stands at $4621.68.

Current work

The next item on our agenda was a segment in which all officers and Board members reported on the specific projects which they are undertaking on NABS’s behalf. Syed reported that he is working to plan fundraising events along with the Delta Gamma Foundation to be held during the spring semester. Luke reported that he is currently collecting recipes from members which will be compiled into a NABS cookbook to be sold during the holiday season. He encouraged Board members to submit our favorite dishes to him for inclusion in the cookbook, and to urge members in our states to do the same.

Vee reported that she is in the process of securing a meeting with the President of Seton Hall University in an effort to urge that college to publicly endorse the AIMHEA Act. She also stressed the urgent need for letters to Congress from blind students in support of the AIMHEA Act, and urged Board members to continue collecting letters from members in our states. Meanwhile, Tarik reported that he is continuing to collect blog posts, and has most recently received one from Ana Martinez in which she describes her experiences in the Louisiana Center for the Blind’s training program. On another note, Tarik has successfully organized a fundraiser to be held at Chili’s in Ruston, LA, on November 16, as well as a pancake breakfast at the Ruston Applebee’s which is scheduled to take place in early December. Chris reported that he is establishing connections with local restaurants in the Ruston area with the goal of having NABS fundraisers there. He is also working to garner support for our Washington Seminar funding program (see below) from state affiliates and local chapters, as well as getting students from across the country involved in NABS’s committees. Finally, Bryan reported that he is continuing to develop the monthly NABS Notes as well as our blog. He is also working on establishing connections with fraternities and sororities in an effort to encourage them to raise funds for us.

New Business:

  • Seminar agenda: Kathryn and Chris
  • NABS Café planning: Luke, Vee, Syed, and Tarik
  • Door prizes: Vee and Tarik

Finally, Kathryn reported that she is planning an in-person Board meeting which will take place during Washington Seminar at a time to be determined.

Kathryn reported that a legislative leadership workshop similar to that which was held in Connecticut last year is being planned for January in Colorado. Though all are welcome to attend, this seminar will primarily focus on those who live in the Midwest region of the country. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Meeting adjourned at: 10:00 P.M.

NABS Committee Updates

Communications committee

  • We will be transitioning to a Facebook page from our profile but we will need to spread the word so as to not lose followers.
  • Tarik the Co-chair will be operating the Facebook page and is responsible for the conversion of the profile to a page
  • Shannon Cantan will be in charge of operating the twitter account once the page is converted into a page
  • 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

    There are no new updates from the fundraising committee

    Legislative Committee

    • We have received no new letters from students or universities
    • The George Washington University has proposed a student body resolution in support of the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act.
    • We had record breaking attendance at our last call, but we are always looking for more people to join us!
    • The committee just had a great meeting with the University of Texas.

    Membership Committee

    The Membership Committee is proud to report that we hosted a successful call regarding our National Scholarship Program. A huge thank you to Chairwoman patti Chang for joining us, as well as Johna Wright and Conchita Hernandez, two previous national scholarship recipients! Stay tuned for another engaging membership call in January!

    November Blog Post

    Greetings NABS,

    This month we are featuring a blog post for November authored by Lizzy Muhammad, the newly elected president of the Pennsylvania Association of Blind students. She is a junior International Studies major at Bryn Mawr College with a concentration in gender and a minor in Spanish. In this article, she talks about blind students having high expectations for themselves in the area of politeness and good manners. Please join with us in reading this months blog post.

    Read more

    Thank you and enjoy

    Student division updates by state


    Greetings from Arizona Students,
    We would like to express our excitement and relief from the 100 degree temperatures this month. With the holiday season approaching we are gearing up for one of our most exciting and beneficial fundraisers of the year. This year we are partnering with SAAVI Services and their stepping out students to bake some holiday goods. Those baked goods will then be included in some holiday gift baskets we will be auctioning off at Christmas parties all over the Phoenix and Tucson chapters. Last year we raised over 200 dollars and this year we are hoping to raise even more.

    As we approach the season of giving and receiving we would like to wish you a very happy holiday season. As an NFB family we work so hard all year and it is good to take some time to reflect and show those around us that we appreciate all they do for and with us. No matter what you believe or celebrate we here from Arizona would like to extend a happy and safe holiday season. Lets continue to build this federation with some hope, love, determination, and holiday cheer!


    Greetings from Illinois! Last month the Illinois affiliate held it's annual convention. Highlights of the weekend include a dance lesson, IABS Idol, and a presentation about tactile art. We were very pleased to welcome our National rep Joe Ruffalo Jr., and NABS rep Luke Schwinck. Elections were held for the IABS board. Results of the election follow: Emma Meyer (President), Adrienne Falconer (First Vice President), Amy Bosko (Second Vice President), Glenn Moore (Treasurer), Jhaliyah Anderson (Secretary), Debbie Stein (Board Member 1), Tori Clark (Board Member 2), Alex Gamino (Board Member 3), and Aziz Zeihieh (Board Member 4). The new board have set goals, and have plans in the works. We look forward to another year of building the federation in Illinois.


    MASSABS has had a wonderful fall semester so far! We had a great fall social in October, and our students engaged in powerful discussions about the #HowISEeIT campaign, Meet The Blind Month, and the progress of the A.I.M. High. Act. Currently, MASSABS is working on collecting items for an auction item basket for the NABS Cafe at the 2017 NFB Washimgton Seminar. We are also excited to announce that the applications for the2017 NFBMA Scholarship is now available at Nfb Applications are due by December 31, 2016. We hope to see you at our 2017 convention, happening February 24 to February 26, 2017 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Boston, MA. Happy holidays!


    Greetings from the great state of Texas. In October, we hosted our first walk-a-thon in Austin in which we raised $130.00. We are hoping to have walk-a-thons in various cities around Texas to raise more funds for TABS. The first weekend in November, we had our state convention in McAllen, TX. It was a great weekend filled with love and energy. Thank you to all of the students who were there and congratulations to our five scholarship winners. The Texas Association of Blind Students has completed all the necessary requirements to receive the 2016 NFB of Texas Newsline® grant of $1000.00. We will be participating again in the 2017 grant challenge. We will be awarding our annual Glenn and Norma Crosby Washington Seminar scholarship to Kyle Stinle. This scholarship is in the amount of $500.00, and is used to help with a flight and food/transportation costs at Washington Seminar. Lastly, we held elections at our annual business meeting at state convention. The results are as follows.
    President: Bre Brown
    First vice president: Daniel Martinez
    Second vice president: Sal Villa
    Secretary: Amelia Pellicciotti
    Treasurer: Jonathan Franks
    Board I: Harry staley
    Board II: Qusay Hussein


    We held our yearly elections for VABS on Saturday, November 12, 2016 at our board meeting during the 58th National Federation of the Blind of Virginia state convention in Virginia Beach, BA. At this board meeting, a plan was outlined for the coming year, including engaging conference calls the second Thursday of each month (which will include one guest speaker at each meeting), continued fundraising, cosponsoring of affiliate events, and a culminating bowling event during the month of October as part of “Meet the Blind” month. Attendance and presence at the next year’s national seminar in May, national convention in July, and state convention in October have also been unanimously agreed upon. New officers were elected for each position our division holds. They are:

    President- Robert Parsons (Richmond chapter)
    Vice President- Kim Valko (Fredericksburg chapter)
    Treasurer- Andrea Perry (Fredericksburg chapter)
    Secretary- Sharon Jose (Fairfax chapter)
    Board Member 1- Tracy Jones (Fredericksburg chapter)
    Board Member 2- Kinston Walker (At Large Chapter)