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National Federation of the Blind Receives Grant from National Science Foundation

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 10:26

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Receives Grant from National Science FoundationFive-Year Grant Will Allow Blind Youth to Explore Engineering and Yield Innovative Research in Informal Education

Baltimore, Maryland (February 13, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will allow blind students to explore the field of engineering and provide useful educational research.

Working with researchers from Utah State University and educators from the Science Museum of Minnesota, the National Federation of the Blind will gather blind high school students from across the country to attend weeklong summer programs called “NFB EQ” (Engineering Quotient). These programs will teach engineering through hands-on activities and connect students with blind adult mentors. The NFB and its partners will research the spatial abilities of blind youth and develop model practices and nonvisual tools to strengthen those abilities. Toolkits based on project activities will be produced so that other parents and educators will be able to use these practices.

Many blind people struggle with spatial skills and mental mapping. This is primarily because blind students do not have access to educational opportunities that foster the development of these skills. Among the STEM disciplines, engineering relies most heavily on spatial reasoning skills, so these programs will provide ample opportunities for students to utilize and strengthen them. This will help blind youth to develop engineering skills, prepare them for success in STEM fields, and strengthen their ability to travel independently with a white cane or guide dog.

“A combination of lack of knowledge about nonvisual techniques and society’s low expectations for the blind prevents too many blind youth from developing spatial reasoning skills and, if they desire, participating in engineering or other fields that use these skills,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We have dedicated significant resources to changing this unacceptable status quo, and we thank the National Science Foundation and our partners at Utah State and the Science Museum of Minnesota for helping us accelerate our progress and broaden our reach.”

“Since we know that spatial ability is such a strong indicator of success in STEM education and STEM professions, we need to understand how it is developed in our blind youth and how they utilize it in solving engineering problems,” said Dr. Wade Goodridge, Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Utah State University. “We can then develop methods to leverage spatial thinking and help our students have better chances to succeed. My team seeks to develop nonvisual techniques to facilitate, motivate, and open pathways towards engineering, allowing blind youth to pursue a profession they may have previously thought was not within their reach. We hope to initiate a momentum that will enhance their engineering educational opportunities.”

“At the Science Museum of Minnesota, showing those who visit us and participate in our programs that we are all scientists is at the heart of what we do,” said Alison Rempel Brown, president of the Science Museum of Minnesota. “We’re so pleased to partner with the National Federation of the Blind and Utah State University to develop ways to bring engineering education to blind students and create new pathways to success in the STEM disciplines.”

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1712887. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

National Federation of the Blind Applauds United Airlines for Prudent Service Animal Policy

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 14:39

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Applauds United Airlines for Prudent Service Animal PolicyMajor air carrier’s policy on trained service animals remains unchanged

Baltimore, Maryland (February 6, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, commends United Airlines for announcing that there will be no changes to its policies regarding travelers with dog guides and other service animals, as opposed to animals that may fit other categories.

“Blind people have worked for decades to make sure that dog guides are trained and managed in a manner that supports the equal treatment of blind people in public places,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Every day, dog guides facilitate smooth and independent travel by the thousands of blind people who choose to use them, including my own wife. Unnecessary and burdensome notice and documentation requirements would have limited the independence of these travelers. We therefore thank United for continuing to recognize the qualifications of trained dog guides in its recently announced policy revisions, and we call on all other air carriers to adopt this same approach. We also urge United and the rest of the airline industry to engage with us to ensure that all aspects of the air travel experience, including in-flight entertainment and the use of mobile applications and websites, are accessible to blind people.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at www.nfb.org.

National Federation of the Blind 2018 Summer Internship Program

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 08:14
Blog Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018Author: Anil LewisCategories: General

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. As we continue to raise expectations of and for the blind, we realize that we must actively work to empower the next generation of dynamic leaders and innovative thinkers that will dream, develop, and implement the next ground-breaking project or program that changes the lives of all blind people.

To that end, we must share our knowledge with young, motivated blind students as they travel their individual paths toward full participation. We seek to accomplish this goal through our National Federation of the Blind Summer Internship Program, a unique learning experience that can only be directed by the National Federation of the Blind.

Our National Federation of the Blind 2018 Summer Internship Program will provide an opportunity for individuals to contribute to the programs of the Federation, while gaining valuable experience at the center of innovation in the blindness field. Our 2018 summer interns will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of program areas including:

  • Access technology
  • Civil rights—especially advocacy around voting rights and educational accessibility
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Governmental affairs
  • Information technology
  • The Jacobus tenBroek Library
  • Membership building
  • NFB-NEWSLINE®
  • Outreach and fundraising

The National Federation of the Blind Summer Internship Program is like no other. It’s filled with unique opportunities for personal and professional growth, including the chance to work closely with National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono. Our 2017 summer interns shared their thoughts at the end of their internship experience:

“As I reflect upon my experience as an intern at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), I think about how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to learn from and work alongside our organization’s leaders. While here, I had the opportunity to pursue personal projects that will make an impact in the lives of blind Americans. I grew personally and professionally this summer, and much of that growth is a result of participating in the NFB Internship Program. The knowledge and experience that I have gained will be invaluable as I continue my academic journey at Furman University and eventually law school.” — Kenia

“It is said that you receive just as much as you give and that was certainly true of this internship. It was very challenging in many ways, and I was always expected to give my best. However, the gains most certainly outweighed the sacrifices; I received much mentoring and guidance, both personally and professionally. I learned a lot about the Federation and how it is run which gave me a deeper appreciation for the organization which is the National Federation of the Blind. I am motivated more than ever before to take what I have been given during this internship and use it to go back home and continue to build the Federation.” — Lily

“As a member or elected leader of the National Federation of the Blind, we see how many things work, but as an intern at the Jernigan Institute, I was a part of making those things work. When I used to pick up my Brailled list of exhibitors at National Convention, I would look at it and leave it somewhere, but as someone who had to go through and staple multiple copies of those very lists, it gives me a greater appreciation of all the work that goes into even the little things. Getting to work so closely with our national leaders was truly an experience, and it was a privilege to be able to contact them and meet with them in person instead of always having to conference call them. This internship will surely give you an inside look into the organization, and teach you many things you never could’ve guessed.” — Vee

“When I applied for the 2017 Summer Internship program at the NFB, I really did not know what to expect. My goal was the learn more about the resources of the NFB at the national level; however, I learned so much more. Working at the NFB Jernigan Institute instilled in me a strong appreciation for all of the work that goes on behind the scenes, from the legislative initiatives to the preparation for the national convention and programs like NFB Youth Slam. The highlight of my summer was the week I spent at Towson University as a teaching assistant during NFB Youth Slam 2017. I could not have anticipated how rewarding it would be to work with so many excited young people from all over the country. If you are looking for a summer experience that you will never forget, I would encourage you to apply for an NFB Summer Internship. It all takes great effort from amazing people to make a difference. Are you ready?” — David

For more information about the 2018 NFB Summer Internship Program and to apply, visit nfb.org/internship.

Tags: interninternshipsummer internship

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