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2001 NFB:AE Scholarship Class

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Again in 2001, the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality awarded four scholarships to outstanding blind scholars in Canada. We thought you would like to know a little about this year's impressive group of recipients and their many scholastic achievements and community involvements.Aman Singer (Toronto) was born in Kuwait in 1982 and emigrated to Canada five years later. Aman is attending Don Mills Collegiate Institute in Toronto studying law with an emphasis on computer law, and hopes to complete an undergraduate degree in political science, graduate from law school and become a lawyer.

He has provided many hours of technical support on-line and on-site, and has conducted seminars and workshops for students and teachers, including a seminar for teachers completing their certification as Specialist Teachers of the Blind.

His community service has included providing Arabic-English translation for the Iraqi community in Montreal and Toronto, tutoring Iraqi children, new to Canada in English and Mathematics, and serving as editor of "Towards Independence," a newsletter published and distributed by the Toronto District School Board Vision Program to students, teachers and parents. Other school-related activities include assisting teachers in organizing goal ball teams at the high school level, advising the school library on making purchases of accessible software, and providing feedback regarding the accessibility of the library's web pages.

Aman Singer writes: "Having seen the difficult and unfulfilling living conditions experienced by blind people in Kuwait and other lesser-developed countries, I feel extremely fortunate to live in a developed one, and I am committed to sharing this good fortune with as many people, blind or otherwise, as is possible.

I will always have a vested interest in helping the disabled in general and the blind in particular. As a lawyer, I can be of use in making information more accessible, combating discrimination in the work place, and fighting for improvements in the educational system."

Zaidee Potter (Calgary) was attending her high school graduation ceremonies during the weekend of the Conference, and will be attending the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

Zaidee Potter writes: "Aside from being academically triumphant, I keep myself busy with many extracurricular activities and organized athletics. I am an active member of many after school organizations, including: choir, yearbook club, grad committee, Reach for the top and occasionally assist at the school concession. I am also a member of the Alberta Women's Goalball team and the Alberta Tandem Team." My participation in these activities is one of an active role in society as both a woman and a visually impaired individual. I strive to achieve equality among my peers."

Robin Mandel (Kingston) is attending second year of a four-year honors degree with a concentration in Women's Studies at Queen's University. In addition to taking courses in feminist theory, she is studying psychology, Religious Studies, English, and other traditional disciplines. Also, she has the opportunity to take courses offered by the Institute of Women's Studies at Queen's such as Aboriginal and Lesbian Women's issues.

During Robin's first year at Queen's, she volunteered with the Women's Empowerment Committee, as well as with the campus Women's Centre, where she was the Volunteer Co-ordinator for a short period of time. She was a representative on the Departmental Students' Council and the Appointments Committee at the Institute of Women's Studies.

In this, her second year, Robin took on the challenge of working as a Floor Senior in residence. Responsibilities in this job include organizing social activities for the floor, (consisting of about 25 young women), explaining and maintaining residence rules, and acting as scribe during meetings of the House Council. She has also acted as a member of the Editorial Board of the Queen's Feminist Review, a literary and artistic journal committed to displaying the diversity and talent of women writers and artists.

Robin Mandell writes: "I would first like to thank you for making this scholarship program available to blind/vision-impaired students in Canada. I was awarded an NFB:AE scholarship in 1999. Because of this, I know how beneficial financial support programs for education are and I once again thank you for upholding and promoting your scholarship program.

As I begin to realize that I will be finished half of my degree at the end of April I begin to contemplate what lies in store for me after this degree is complete. I am considering a number of different avenues of study leading to either a Master's in Counseling Psychology or a Master's in Social Work. I am also considering acquiring a M.A. in Women's Studies, particularly since the Institute of Women's Studies at Queen's may introduce such a degree in the next few years. It is clear to me that my vocation is to work as a counselor and/or advocate."

Susanna Ruebesaat (Vancouver) is continuing doctoral studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and has just completed the first quarter in the Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology. Concurrently, she is completing her Masters thesis, "Artmaking: An Invitation to the Imaginal" in the Arts Education Faculty at Simon Fraser University.

Previously, she obtained a professional diploma in art therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, a two-year graduate level program; an undergraduate degree, a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Teaching Certification through the University of British Columbia: BC College of Teachers membership; and membership with the Canadian Counseling Association and Vancouver Jungian Society. As well she is a member of the Community Education Committee at Britannia Community Centre.

Susanna Ruebesaat writes: "The adaptations I have been able to make regarding my vision have allowed me to pursue many activities in the community; academically, professionally and personally. I am presently working as an art therapist and adult educator in the community of East Vancouver.

As a practicing artist I also exhibit work locally in the form of photo-works and paintings. As well I have put together a show of work of participants called Images and Insight at a local gallery project, which included some of my own artwork.

I am a contributing columnist with the website My column is called, "The Inside View of Art-Making."

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