Previously, we featured Brian Meersma, one the clients who benefited from the Advancing Opportunities Assistive Technology Center. He is now a Freshman at Cornell University, a Dean’s List student with a solid record of achievement through his long-time advocacy and self-advocacy. On Saturday, April 18, he will be one of six talented people to earn one of Learning Ally’s National Achievement Awards. These awards recognize outstanding students with print and learning disabilities; they are “role models of success and inspiration to students throughout the country,” according to Learning Ally. Formerly known as Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic, the organization was founded in 1948; its mission is “to promote personal achievement when access and reading are barriers to learning by advancing the use of accessible and effective educational solutions.” Through the agency, students who are blind or have learning disabilities such as dyslexia have access to the world’s largest library of human-narrated audiobooks, along with the assistive technology that goes along with them.
In addition to Brian, the other winners are:
- Matthew Guberman-Pfeffer, a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, blind since birth, who aims to become a chemistry professor
- Mara Schein, a Cornell University student majoring in policy analysis and management
- Brian Miller, a blind man with a PhD in history, with a focus on disability rights
- Kelsey Waldron, a Carleton College student exploring various academic areas
- Valeria Paradiso, a blind graduate student at Hunter College, studying psychology and special education.
What all five individuals share is a dedication to advocating for children and adults who are blind, dyslexic, or have other learning disabilities.
The Gala will take place at the Marriot Marquis in Washington, DC, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information about this exciting event and to register, please go to the special Web site, at: http://naa.learningally.org/event/gala/