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2018 AEBC/T-Base Scholarship Winners Announced

Press Release

Sunday, May 27, 2018 (Vancouver, British Columbia - May 27, 2018) The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/l’Alliance pour l’Égalité des Personnes Aveugles du Canada is pleased to announce the six winners of the 2018 AEBC/T-Base Communications Scholarship Program. The official announcement was made on April 27 at the 2018 Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Burnaby, British Columbia. The T-Base Communications Scholarships, valued at $1,000 each, were awarded to Allison Lee and Andrea McIvor. “For students who are blind, have low vision or are print-restricted, access to alternate formats throughout their academic career is critical,” said Bruce Moszcelt, T-Base’s Co-CEO. “Every year through the T-Base-AEBC scholarship program, we support students who can benefit from an accessible education. Congratulations to Allison Lee and Andrea McIvor on their award this year and we wish them both tremendous success in their academic careers.” Allison Lee is a high school student from Montreal, Quebec. She will be attending Marianopolis College full-time studying Pure and Applied Science with the goal of becoming a scientist in Artificial Intelligence. She volunteers at Share the Warmth, a non-profit organization that organizes a food bank and also provides lunches, snacks, and drinks at a low cost to people in the community who do not have much money. “Knowing that I am helping an organization give food to people in need makes me feel really good because I know that I am doing something extremely useful that helps others,” said Allison. Andrea McIvor is from Pelican Rapids, Manitoba and currently attends high school in Swan River. She will be attending Brandon University full-time, studying for a B.A. with a major in psychology and the goal of becoming an Assistive Technology Specialist and/or Independent Living Skills Specialist. Andrea makes presentations to students in grades 1-12 and in her community about blindness. “I enjoy speaking about blindness to the public, because it brings awareness to an otherwise uncommon topic, especially in a small community,” Andrea said. The Jennifer Laura Eve Wilson Memorial Scholarships, valued at $1,000 each, were awarded to Di-An Ngo and Henrick Bendwell. Jennifer was someone who was always selfless, always there for someone in need. She showed courage in overcoming adversity. She took the challenges life sent her way from the complications of Type 1 diabetes including visual impairment, and rose above them by her courage, inner strength and determination to make the world a better place for others. These annual AEBC scholarships continue her tradition of helping others. Di-An Ngo is continuing her full-time studies in the PharmD (Practice Doctor of Pharmacy) program at the University of British Colombia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC. She plans to continue with graduate studies with a goal to become a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pediatrics. After graduating high school in 2014, she was accepted into UBC’s Bachelor of Science program majoring in Medical Biochemistry with a dream of becoming a surgeon. However, during this time, she began to lose some of her vision and had to change her career goal. Being a strong advocate for the blind community is very important to her. She strives to change the community’s stigma on what it means to be blind. In addition to her community involvement, she is a CNIB Ambassador and volunteers as a co-researcher on a project run by Laura Bulk focusing on being blind and belonging in higher education. "What I perceived as my biggest weakness has become my biggest strength." Henrick Bendwell is continuing his full-time studies at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières towards a Bachelor of Science in Physics. He plans to continue with graduate studies with the goal of becoming a Physics professor at the college or university level. His fascination with an in-depth understanding of the universe that surrounds us drew him to his course of study, and he wants to be able to pass on his passion for Physics to future students in a manner that respects their individual needs. Henrick has been active in many student organizations, defending the rights of those most vulnerable. He has also advocated for workers’ rights and believes it is important to give back to his community in return for all he has received. The AEBC Scholarships, valued at $1,000 each, were awarded to Michelle Smedes and Tarah Sawler. These two awards were made possible by a donation from an anonymous donor who wanted to assist blind, deafblind and partially-sighted students continue their education and reach their career goals. Michelle Smedes, from Toronto, Ontario, is a university student working towards a B.A. Her long-term career goal is to become a chaplain. Through her church, Michelle is a Disability Concerns Advocate. In this capacity, she attends workshops, recommends necessary changes in the building to make it more accessible for people with disabilities, and visits the elderly who are in nursing homes or people who cannot come to church because of their disabilities. Michelle brings a special understanding to this work as she is deafblind. She says: "My work with these people has given me great joy. I treasure each person, day, and moment with them. I pray they be blessed as much as I have been blessed by them." Tarah Sawler is from Waverly Nova Scotia. She is currently a student at St. Mary’s University. Eventually, she is hoping to become a lawyer. Her plan is to study full-time and obtain a B.A. with a double major in Philosophy and Economics and a minor in French. Tarah does not let the negative attitude of other people towards blindness define her. Instead, she contributes to her community and raises awareness about her capabilities whenever possible. Over the past few years, Tarah has blogged about books and movies for the Halifax Public libraries, proofread chapters of aspiring authors’ work, helped out at miscellaneous events at her church (such as book sales and Christmas teas), sorted food at the local Food Bank, sung at various local fundraisers, tutored a student in French, assisted Blind Sports Nova Scotia with goalball demonstrations, and much more. Tarah said: “I am truly grateful to all the people in my community that have helped me along the way to get where I am. So when others reach out for assistance, or I see a need in my community that I can help with, it pleases me to have the opportunity to share my talents with others.” “I am happy to say that, each year, it is harder to choose only a few winners, as there are more and more bright sparks out there working hard to obtain relevant and valuable education,” said Marcia Yale, AEBC’s Student and Education Council Committee Chair, who is based in Toronto. “Blind Canadians are among those least employed, and therefore the most in need of a strong educational foundation. We want to encourage blind, deafblind and partially sighted students to complete their education in order to increase their opportunities for employment after graduation.” About T-Base Communications T-Base is North America's go-to alternate format company and industry thought leader. We simplify accessible communications by producing textbooks, secure tests and exams and other instructional materials (for complex STEM subjects) in braille, large print, audio, e-Text, EPUB, as well as online with web accessibility and PDF documents. About The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians is a national charitable organization, founded in 1992, that is dedicated to promoting the increased inclusion of blind, deafblind and partially sighted Canadians in all aspects of social life, from employment to participation in elections. Our members, comprised of blind, deafblind, and partially sighted consumers and supporters from across the country, participate in working groups and committees, engage with local, city-based chapters, and engage in public awareness and education activities on a daily basis.

For more information:

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians Marcia Yale Chairperson of the Student and Education Council Committee 1-800-561-4774

T-Base Communications Lucy Morrissey Marketing Manager 800-563-0668 ext. 1257


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