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Supporting Outstanding Blind Scholars

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) congratulates the following four students, the 2008 Scholarship Program award recipients, for their academic achievements, contributions to their communities, and ability to challenge hardship:

Darren Minifie of Victoria, British Columbia, was the recipient of the Business, Education and Technology Scholarship. Pursuing his Master's degree in Computer Science at the University of Victoria, he researches accessibility issues related to mobile computing. Says Darren, "I use my vision impairment to identify and evaluate accessibility flaws in current technology. My future plans include working with the community to create a mobile platform that is more usable by the blind and partially sighted."

Marc Workman of Edmonton, Alberta, received the AEBC Rick Oakes Scholarship for the Arts while pursuing his Master of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Alberta. He has served as Vice President External for the university's Campus Association of Disability Issues, a cross-disability advocacy and awareness group that he helped establish, as well as Vice President of AEBC's Edmonton Chapter. Marc currently holds the position of President of the Edmonton Chapter and National Secretary of AEBC.

Marie-Josee Blier of Opasatika, Ontario, was awarded the Toronto Chapter Scholarship. At the time, she was in her final year studying for a Diploma in Graphic Design at City College in Ottawa. As the only deaf student with low vision at the school, she used the services of an interpreter and a note-taker. Marie-Josee has held various leadership roles, such as while attending a provincial school for the deaf, where she served as President, Coordinator of the Special Events Committee, and Editor of the school newspaper. She has also done volunteer work on her town's website. She now looks forward to employment in her chosen field.

Gabriel Tremblay-Parent of Quebec City, Quebec, received the Alan H. Neville Memorial Scholarship. A student in the Bachelor of Law program at Laval University, his goal is to work for an organization that promotes human rights or defends social causes, like the Ombudsman or Legal Aid. Gabriel began losing his sight in 2004 due to Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), and in the summer of 2008 he began learning braille. He says, "This scholarship is a great motivation for me. It means I can realize my dreams. I'm now more confident than ever that my life will be full of rewarding experiences, and of opportunities to give back to others as much as I have received over the last few years."

Richard Quan, Chair of AEBC's Scholarship Committee, says, "I am very excited that there were many extremely qualified and deserving candidates who submitted applications last year. This is a truly positive statement on the achievements of legally blind students in Canada, and it bodes well for the work that AEBC does in the areas of education, access and inclusion."

Each year, the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians offers scholarships to assist outstanding Canadian students who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted in continuing in their field of study. Applicants must provide personal letters describing how they have overcome barriers to education and how they have contributed to their community, as well as their academic achievements. Recommendation letters cite their determination to succeed and the value they place on education.

AEBC scholarship and bursary documentation and application forms can be found on our website http://www.blindcanadians.ca/programs/scholarship.php. Alternatively, you can request an electronic copy via email at info@blindcanadians.ca, or by phone at 800-561-4774. All questions regarding the 2009 awards should be directed to the Scholarship Committee via email at scholarship@blindcanadians.ca, or by leaving a message at the phone number above.

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