[nfbmi-talk] {Disarmed} Fw: NFB Jernigan Institute Newsletter - Happy Tenth Anniversary!

Larry Posont president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Thu Jan 30 22:55:35 UTC 2014

From: Mark Riccobono 
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2014 4:13 PM
To: Larry Posont 
Subject: NFB Jernigan Institute Newsletter - Happy Tenth Anniversary!

             Imagineering Our Future 
                  Issue 61 
                 February 2014 

            In this issue:

                a.. Message from the Executive Director 
                b.. What's News at the NFB 
                c.. Profiles 
                d.. Education 
                e.. Braille Initiative 
                f.. Advocacy 
                g.. Product and Access Technology Talk 
                h.. From the tenBroek Library 
                i.. Independence Market 
                j.. NFB Calendar 
                k.. Citation 

            Message from the Executive Director
            Dear Friends,

            Earlier this week we kicked off the 2014 National Federation of the Blind Washington Seminar. I had the great honor of addressing the hundreds of NFB members assembled for our Great Gathering-In meeting on Monday night. We paused for a moment to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments we have made over the past decade since establishing the NFB Jernigan Institute. We also reflected on the promise we make to each other in our organization: Together with love, hope, and determination, we transform dreams into reality.

            Since the tenth anniversary of our NFB Jernigan Institute deserves more reflection than I can fit into this newsletter, I have written a blog post, "A Decade of Imaginative Investment in Our Future." We have also created a brief video reflecting on our accomplishments over the past ten years. You can view the video, "NFB Jernigan Institute: A Decade of Expanding the Horizons," from the NFB channel on YouTube.

            I hope you will invest yourself in our movement in the same way that I have committed to doing in my blog post. As we pause for a brief moment to celebrate, let's not forget the tremendous sacrifices that were made by members of the National Federation of the Blind in the past to get us to where we are today. Let's also imagine where we want to go next and boldly venture in the direction of our dreams.


            Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director
            NFB Jernigan Institute

            What's News at the NFB
            Presidential Releases on iTunes

            Presidential Releases are now available as a podcast through iTunes. Simply search for "National Federation of  the Blind" in the iTunes podcast store and subscribe to the feed. Presidential Releases are available in iTunes as soon as they are posted to the NFB website. For all other users that do not use iTunes, you can subscribe to the Presidential Releases RSS feed at https://nfb.org//images/nfb/audio/pr/pr-rss/rss.xml. 

            NFB Scholarships

            To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the NFB annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty merit-based, national-level scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships awarded are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership.

            The application deadline is March 31, 2014.  For more information, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, go to https://nfb.org/scholarships.  

            NFB Internships

            There are several openings for interns this summer at the NFB headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.  The internship period will be June 2 through August 8.  More information can be found in the blog post at https://nfb.org/blog/vonb-blog/national-federation-blind-summer-internship-opportunities.

            Mobile App

            There are plans to develop an NFB mobile app for both iPhone and Android. We are currently working on what it should do so that we can teach more people about who we are and what we believe.  Please send your ideas about how you would use a mobile app to enhance participation in our organization to Corbb O'Connor at mobileapp at nfb.org by March 1, 2014.

            NFB Service Saturday

            Be the NFB's Valentine and help us in our quest to change what it means to be blind. If you are looking for an opportunity to benefit members of your local community as well as nationwide, the NFB Service Saturday is the perfect occasion! 

            On February 15, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the NFB will be hosting a Service Saturday where we will prepare materials for specific programs to empower blind Americans across the country. Your "heart work" on Valentine's weekend will undoubtedly help bring the hopes and dreams of blind Americans closer to fruition.

            For more information about Service Saturday, please visit https://nfb.org/service-saturday, or contact Ilana Posner, Outreach Programs Coordinator, at iposner at nfb.org, or 410-659-9314, extension 2283.

            Betsy A. Zaborowski

            It seems appropriate on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Jernigan Institute to remember the first executive director, Betsy Zaborowski.  As stated in one bio, "A Life of Imagination, Inspiration, and Influence Betsy A. Zaborowski, Psy.D.," "It was her imagination, leadership, and dynamic personality that turned a dream, a one-of-a-kind research and training institute developed and directed by blind people, into reality--a reality that presents a future full of opportunities and previously unimagined accomplishments."   A video tribute to Dr. Zaborowski can be found at https://nfb.org/Images/nfb/Video/A_Tribute_To_Dr_Betsy_Zaborowski.wmv.


            Read Across America Day

            On Read Across America Day, as in years past, the National Federation of the Blind will be joining in the celebration of literacy for all children, focusing particularly on the importance of Braille literacy. Read Across America asks everyone across the country to celebrate reading and Dr. Seuss on March 3. The NFB is asking you to celebrate with us and spread the good news about Braille. To be ready for March 3, we need your help now! 

            You can help us prepare by taking a picture or video of you or your child reading Braille at home, on vacation, at the library, at the park, by a local landmark, or at your favorite reading spot. You can submit your picture or video to us through the Read Across America media submission form on our Web site. We want to show the world that Braille rocks and we need your help to do that! So, grab your camera or smart-phone and a great book and head off to your favorite reading spot to snap a picture. By visiting the Read Across America page, you can learn about other ways you can get involved on March 3—including how you can win a free Dr. Seuss book in Braille. If you have questions about the NFB’s participation in Read Across America, please contact Natalie Shaheen by e-mail at nshaheen at nfb.org.

            STEM Empowerment Workshop for High School and College Students

            The Empowering Blind Students in Science and Engineering workshop is now accepting applications. Approximately fifteen high school and college students will be selected to participate in a two-day, expenses-paid mentoring and empowerment workshop. Students will spend one-on-one time with successful blind professionals and network with STEM industry leaders. Participants will learn accessibility tricks for STEM, advocacy and professional development skills, and have fun with peers and professionals pursuing similar careers. Learn more on our Web site at http://ebsse.cs.washington.edu/ and apply today.

            Tactile 3D from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Images

            Astronomers Carol Christian and Antonella Nota of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, are experimenting with the innovative technology of 3D printers to transform images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope into tactile 3D printouts. The pair leads a team of other astronomers and engineers at STScI, as well as Noreen Grice of You Can Do Astronomy, LLC, to turn the beautiful Hubble images into a format useful for people who cannot explore celestial wonders by sight. The 3D print design turns out to be intriguing for sighted people who have different learning styles as well. A major component of the research is to try to represent celestial objects as 3D structures in space. This is not as easy as measuring a tool or physical object and then printing a 3D representation of it. 

            The astronomers measure the brightness of space objects from the images, as well as some of the distances from Earth and make a best-estimate of the 3D structure based on physics and some artistry. They are basically designing the process from scratch. The goal is to create 3D pictures that allow blind people to feel what they cannot see and form a picture of the cluster in their minds. 

            The 3D tactile prototypes are plastic prints showing the stars, filaments, gas, and dust seen in the visual image using textures such as raised open circles, lines, and dots in the 3D printout. These features also have different heights to correspond with their brightness. 

            Over the last six months, the prototype textured prints were tested with about one hundred people with visual impairments at several events sponsored by the NFB, and the Connecticut affiliate of the NFB. Feedback and advice has also been obtained from Natalie Shaheen, director of education at the NFB. The textures and presentation have been modified many times and the group is now investigating creating a true 3D structure representing their first star cluster as it exists in space.

            For more information regarding this project, go to http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2014/03/, or the project Web site, https://sites.google.com/site/stsci3dprinting/home. 


            Braille Initiative
            Braille Certification Training Program

            Under a contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), the NFB administers the courses leading to NLS certification of Braille transcribers and proofreaders. Successful completion of these rigorous courses requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of the students. We congratulate the following individuals who earned certification during the month of November 2013:

            Literary Braille Transcribing
               Christina Jauregui, Woodland 

               Brittany Dian Richardson, Ball Ground 

               Jason Aaron Burdett, Boise

               Bryan A. Cain, Bunker Hill 

               Michael Kelly, Anamosa 
               Juan Sanchez Ledesma, Anamosa 

               Jeffrey Alan Hodges, Jefferson City

            New York
               Jan Elaine Reding, Brockport 

            North Carolina
               Larry M. Demery, Laurinburg 
               John Wayne Williams, Laurinburg 

               James Calvin Moore, Grafton

               Thomas M. Barany, Oshkosh

               Kenneth Patrick Tennyson, Torrington

            Literary Braille Proofreading
               Jeffrey David Gatlin


            Seeking Electronic Heath Record (EHR) Accessibility Information from Health Care Industry Employees and Students

            The health care and social assistance industry is predicted to add nearly 5 million jobs by 2022, per Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, making it the largest U.S. industry in terms of number of jobs.  As such, the industry offers ample opportunity for employment for blind individuals, provided it is, and remains, accessible.  

            The accessibility of health information technology is of timely importance to the NFB, considering both current federal incentives for health care providers to adopt EHR software and the multitude of EHR vendors presently contracting with these providers.  

            In an effort to understand how members are affected by the influx of EHRs, the NFB is gathering accessibility data from members whose job or school duties involve entering, reviewing, and/or retrieving data within EHRs.  If you work in the health care industry and encounter EHRs regularly at your job, or if you are a student enrolled in a health care program and your coursework or internship involves EHR software, NFB needs to hear from you.  

            EHRs in question may include Epic, Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, NextGen, and other software companies' products.

            Please call Valerie Yingling, paralegal, at 410-659-9314, extension 2440, to share your EHR experiences, both positive and negative.  Your feedback in this area is critical and will help to guide future NFB advocacy and legal efforts.

            Seeking Information from Parents, Students, and Teachers Regarding PARCC and Smarter Balanced Field Tests

            Smarter Balanced and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) field-testing windows begin next month, March 18th and 24th, respectively.  In an effort to understand whether and how PARCC and Smarter Balanced will administer their field tests to students who are blind and have visual impairments, the NFB is gathering information from parents, students, and teachers in K-12 schools via its new Common Core assessment Web page and survey tool:  https://nfb.org/common-core-state-standards-testing-accessibility. Please take a few minutes to fill out this crucially important survey.


            Product and Access Technology Talk
            The year 2014 kicks off with some exciting new developments in access technology. Most prominently, the announcement that GW Micro is partnering with Microsoft to give a free copy of Window-Eyes with every version of Office 2010 or higher has been loudly applauded and hotly debated. You can find our take on this news at https://nfb.org/blog/atblog/window-eyes-and-microsoft-office. On the same blog, you can also find some of our other news. There is a review of Odin Mobile’s Odin VI phone, a talking feature phone that forms a welcome addition to the limited options available, and that from a carrier that has made low-vision and blind users their niche. Finally, in the field of education, Pearson has contributed an entry with updates and instructions on their MyMathLab.

            An even more exciting development is the announcement of a new Train the Trainer event in October, 2014. Basic information and session topics are available at https://nfb.org/training-the-trainers, with more set to appear as we lock in more of the details. The training will run October 15-17, and as with its previous iteration, it will give access technology trainers and professionals an opportunity to sharpen their existing skills and learn new ones.

            From the tenBroek Library

            Since 2004, the staff of the Jacobus tenBroek Library has been diligently working to build a world-renowned research collection on all aspects of blindness excluding medical topics. Our focus during the last ten years has been centered on the subjects of the NFB’s institutional history, the organized blind movement in America, the experiences and achievements of blind citizens, examples of obsolete writing systems for the blind, and the creative products of blind authors, musicians, and artists. Today it stands as the only research library on blindness in the United States that is owned and managed by the blind.

            Researchers interested in using our unique library collection can explore our holdings online through the Blind Cat, our fully accessible open public access catalog (OPAC), which is available online at www.nfb.org/theblindcat. However, there is another way to get a taste of what the tenBroek Library has to offer. Over the years, library staff members have published reviews of books in our collection in the Braille Monitor, the NFB’s flagship publication. Known as the "Featured Book from the tenBroek Library" series, these reviews highlight some of the rarer and more intriguing pieces of literature housed in our collection, while providing glimpses into the lives, experiences, and stereotypes of blind people throughout history. 

            These book reviews are simply the tip of the iceberg at the tenBroek Library. If you are interested in getting a unique look at what our research collection has to offer, the "Featured Book" series is a great place to start.

            Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait by Van Wyck Brooks
            Poems by Thomas Blacklock
            The Man in the Dark by John Ferguson
            Blind Educator: The Story of Newel Lewis Perry by T. Hugh Buckingham
            Drawing & the Blind: Pictures to Touch by John M. Kennedy

            Independence Market
            The NFB Independence Market is the conduit through which the NFB distributes our literature about blindness and how to adapt to living successfully with severe vision loss.  Our members and friends use our literature to share our can-do approach to blindness to encourage other blind people and to educate the general public about the abilities of the blind.

            Through the Independence Market, the NFB also makes available some products that enhance the independence of blind and vision-impaired individuals. Perhaps the product that has the greatest impact on the independence of blind people is the long white cane.  Once someone has learned to use the long white cane effectively, that blind individual can travel safely and comfortably both in familiar and unfamiliar places.  The freedom gained from such independent mobility has a tremendous effect on the self-confidence of blind individuals.  

            Over the years, the NFB promoted longer and lighter-weight canes, as our members found the longer, lighter canes easier to use.  The additional length gives users more advanced warning of obstacles in the environment.  We recommend that a cane is long enough that it reaches between the chin and the nose of the user.  Some individuals who walk very fast prefer even longer canes.  The NFB also pioneered the use of canes for young blind children, even toddlers.  

            The NFB Independence Market sells several types of long white canes ranging from rigid canes to telescoping, and folding canes for all ages and sizes from toddlers to tall adults.  All of our light-weight canes are hollow and made either from fiberglass or a carbon-fiber composite. 

            The Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane, written by longtime member Tom Bickford, is a good introductory guide for those unfamiliar with using a long white cane as a mobility aid.  This book gives good tips for using a long white cane in various everyday situations.  The text is available online and the book can be purchased in several formats from the Independence Market.

            For more information about the literature and products available from the NFB Independence Market or to request a catalog, please e-mail us at IndependenceMarket at nfb.org, or call us at 410-659-9314, extension 2216.


            NFB Calendar
            Upcoming Events

            NFB Service Saturday at NFB Jernigan Institute - February 15

            Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, "Disability Rights in the 21st Century: Creative Solutions for Achieving the Right to Live in the World" – April 24-25, 2014

            NFB National Convention at the Rosen Center - July 1-6, 2014

            Web Accessibility Day at NFB Jernigan Institute - September 9 

            NFB Technology Train the Trainers - October 15-17

            Start of the NFB's 75th year – November 16, 2014

            State Conventions

            NFB of Massachusetts - February 28

            NFB of Alabama - March 7-9

            NFB of Tennessee - March 7-9

            NFB of Louisiana - March 14-16

            NFB of Idaho - March 28-30

            NFB of Mississippi - March 28-30

            NFB of Missouri - March 28-30

            NFB of Oklahoma - April 4-5

            NFB of New Mexico - April 4-6

            NFB of Delaware - April 11-12

            NFB of New Hampshire - April 11-13

            NFB of Wisconsin - April 11-13

            NFB of South Dakota - April 25-26

            NFB of Utah - May 8-11


            "Governor Ehrlich, Dr. Maurer, other guests and friends, I am proud to have the opportunity tonight to speak for today's generation of blind youth. Dumbledore, the wise schoolmaster from the Harry Potter books, said, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." I am happy that the National Federation of the Blind not only dreams, but turns those dreams into action. This Research and Training Institute, a dream turned into reality, now allows blind youth like me to have even bigger dreams.

            As a girl who happens to be blind, I look forward to doing many things in my life. I'd like to help the poor and the elderly and travel to other countries. I would especially love to see Rome one day, and I am determined to meet the Pope. The important thing is that I know that I can do anything. Now my future is that much brighter because blind people who have come before me dared to dream and worked to live out their dreams.

            Speaking for all blind youth across the country, thank you.Thanks to our blind leaders, and thanks to all of you who have supported our dreams and helped build them. Thanks to all of you who have come to understand that blind youth are really just kids like anyone else. We like to run, dance, play, learn, grow, and pull a good practical joke now and then.

            Many people ask me what I want to do when I grow up. When I think about all the blind people just in this room here today and the possibilities that they represent, I just can't decide. Maybe I'll join the folks at NASA in exploring new horizons; maybe I'll be the first blind TV meteorologist; maybe I'll write the next great series of books; or maybe I'll take Dr. Zaborowski's job when she's old. [applause]

            In the words of the Beatles' John Lennon, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." For blind youth across America, thank you for giving us greater opportunities and making our horizons bigger and brighter. Imagine the opportunities. If you'll excuse me now, we need to be getting on with celebrating the dreams of blind youth everywhere." 

            --Courtney Despeaux, twelve-year old blind student, Grand Opening, NFB Jernigan Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, January 30, 2004 


             Thank you for reading the NFB Jernigan Institute’s Imagineering Our Future.

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      Interesting links:

      Archive of Straight Talk About Vision Loss videos

      National Center for Blind Youth in Science

      Access Technology Tips



      Access Technology

      Voice of the Nation's Blind


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