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Lighthouse Guild Awards College Scholarships to Students Who are Blind

Funds help recipients pursue academic aspirations during challenges of COVID-19.




(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — Lighthouse Guild announced that it is awarding 20 college scholarships of $8,000 each to students who are visually impaired and will be entering college and graduate school in the Fall.

Lighthouse Guild scholarships are based on strong academic accomplishment and merit to help students who are legally blind make a successful transition to college and graduate school. The 2021 recipients are from diverse backgrounds and will be attending some of the nation’s most competitive universities.

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“Losing my vision and becoming legally blind has presented me with countless adversities throughout my academic career,” said Grace Patterson of St. Petersburg Florida, who will attend Florida Atlantic University Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College in the fall. “I have exceedingly high expectations for my future and receiving this Lighthouse Guild scholarship will aide me in achieving these goals.” Grace’s goal is to become a lawyer specializing in disability rights.

“I have been legally blind since birth and have always had a fascination with the innovation of products and improving functionality,” says Joel Gomez of Encinitas, California, who will attend Purdue University. “Using visual assistive technologies throughout my academic career has given me a unique perspective regarding such technologies.” A soccer player and competitive runner, Joel earned two gold medals and one silver as a member of the US Paralympic Track and Field team in 2019. He plans to become an industrial engineer.

Since 2005, Lighthouse Guild’s Scholarship Program has awarded approximately $2.6 million in scholarships to outstanding students from around the country. Former scholarship recipients have gone on to careers as nurses, attorneys, teachers, engineers, chemists, composers, musicians, neuroscientists, social workers, business owners, investors, epidemiologists, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, journalists and computer scientists.

“We are particularly pleased to provide scholarships this year during a time when COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for students who are visually impaired,” said Calvin W. Roberts, MD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “I commend these outstanding students for their perseverance and academic achievements and wish them success in their future careers.”


Lighthouse Guild 2021 scholarship recipients with their schools:

  • Undergraduate Scholarships
    • Elizabeth Adamson, Isle of Palms, SC, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) National Technical Institute for the Deaf
    • Kaleigh Brendle, Freehold, NJ, Villanova University
    • Liam Cruz, Flushing, NY, New York University
    • Cameron Fox, Northport, NY, Sacred Heart University
    • Joel Gomez, Encinitas, CA, Purdue University
    • Joshua Hoffman, Plantation, FL, Virginia Tech
    • Glory Leachman, San Antonio, TX, Texas A&M University College Station
    • Ryan Maxwell, Brooklyn, NY, Binghamton University
    • Olivia O’Connell, Commerce Twp, MI, University of Michigan
    • Grace Patterson, St. Petersburg, FL, The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College Florida Atlantic University
    • Noah Schickler, Beaufort, SC, Furman University
    • Kathryn Sevier, Fishers, IN, Harvard University
    • Emily Smith, Hattiesburg, MS, University of Southern Mississippi
    • Emily Tollar, Jamesville, NY, St. John Fisher College
  • Graduate Scholarships
    • Muhammad Abubakar, Hartford, CT, University of Hartford
    • Emily Eagle, Keller, TX, University of Texas Law School
    • Teerra Gillespie, Richmond, VA, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
    • Tabitha Kenlon, Virginia, VA, University College Dublin, Ireland
    • Syed Rizvi, Longmeadow, MA, Harvard Law School
    • Maitraeya Shah, North Olmsted, OH, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Click here to access photos and videos of the scholarship recipients.


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