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NFB Scholarship Program

Miso Kwak

**From the Editor:** Miso Kwak was a member of the 2013 NFB scholarship class. Here is what she has to say about her experiences as an NFB Scholar.

In the summer of 2013, I had the honor of attending my first NFB National Convention as one of thirty national scholarship finalists.
At first, I felt lost; The Rosen Centre Hotel, packed convention agenda, my responsibilities as a scholarship winner. And there was I, in the middle of everything, trying to soak in each and every ounce of all that was available to me.

From the very first meeting with the scholarship mentors and fellow finalists, my sense of being lost began evolving into motivation. I was surrounded by hardworking individuals who were pursuing diverse careers. Everyone involved in the scholarship program that I had an opportunity to interact with genuinely cared for each other - mentors and students alike. I was humbled to be a part of such a supportive group of people as I experienced my first convention.

Throughout the convention, I learned more than words can convey in and out of scholarship related activities. Attending resolutions meetings and general sessions taught me issues faced by the blind community and the NFB's actions regarding each of them. At NABS annual meeting and NFB Board of Directors meeting, I not only learned about different resources of NFB but also participated as a scholarship finalist. Finally, aside from all kinds of different meetings I attended, each moment I spent learning from my mentors and fellow finalists was valuable. Discussing NFB philosophy and sharing different aspirations we had were just a few of them.

By the time I was leaving Orlando, I no longer felt lost but felt motivated with an overwhelming amount of ideas and emotions I gained from the convention. What I gained from my first NFB National Convention was not just a scholarship. I became more aware of issues of my community such as accessible technology and the braille illiteracy crisis of blind people, which motivated me to work harder. I became more familiar with the National Federation of the Blind, an organization I only knew as an occasional subscriber to different listserves prior to the convention. Finally, I became friends with people who believe in themselves and each other and pursue their passion as best they can. For these experiences, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a scholarship finalist and have no doubt that my experiences from the last summer will have a positive, long-term impact on my growth as a person.