Press Releases

Lighthouse Guild Awards 12 College Scholarships and Three Graduate School Scholarships to Students with Vision Loss

May 27, 2020

Recipients May Use Funds for COVID-19 Distance Learning

NEW YORK (May 27, 2020) – by PRNewswire

Lighthouse Guild announced today that it is awarding 12 college scholarships of $8,500 each to graduating high school students who are legally blind. The awardees also include three students who will receive $2,500 each to attend graduate schools.

Lighthouse Guild scholarships are based on strong academic accomplishment and merit to help students with vision loss make a successful transition to college and graduate education. The 2020 recipients, from across the country, will be attending some of the nation’s most competitive universities.

“The education experience has been dramatically changed by COVID-19, and students with vision loss are particularly impacted,” says Calvin W. Roberts, MD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “We are pleased to provide scholarships to these outstanding students who are legally blind, which they may decide to use for specialized equipment or other preparations related to distance learning. I congratulate this year’s recipients and wish them the greatest success in their future careers.”

2020 Lighthouse Guild College Scholarship Recipients and Schools

  • Jalen Ballard, Toledo, OH, University of Michigan
  • Jasmine Cairns, Chester Springs, PA, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Kevin Cohen, Hewlett NY, Binghamton University
  • Samuel Folsom, Newnan, GA, Georgia Tech
  • Kash Jian, Shrewsbury, MA, Trinity College
  • Kelly Jones, Alexandria, VA, Columbia University
  • Jackson Lamb, Midlothian, VA, George Washington University
  • Marissa Nissley, Berlin, NJ, Georgetown University
  • Katherine Steffen, Lewisville, NC, Boston University
  • Samuel Theoharis, Fayetteville, NY, Brown University
  • Nola Timmins, New Orleans, LA, Georgia Tech
  • Sean Zuby, Spring City, PA, University of Pittsburgh

2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipients and Schools

  • Melissa Segarra, Doral, FL, UCLA School of Law
  • Teresita Rios, Simi Valley, CA, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • William Leibzon, Long Beach, CA, University of California, Irvine, PhD Mathematical Behavioral Science

Since its inception in 2005, Lighthouse Guild’s Scholarship Program has awarded approximately $2.5 million in scholarships to outstanding students from 39 states. Former scholarship recipients have gone on to careers as attorneys, teachers, engineers, chemists, composers, musicians, neuroscientists, social workers, business owners, investors, epidemiologists, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, journalists and computer scientists.

Teaching Award
Each year, Lighthouse Guild also recognizes the powerful role teachers play in motivating students who are blind by recognizing a teacher based on nominations received from the students themselves. The 2020 Lighthouse Guild Teacher Award recipients are Jon Graetz, a math teacher at Miami Valley School in Dayton, Ohio; and Scott Secrest, a physics teacher at St. Frances de Sales School in Toledo, Ohio.

Mr. Graetz’s student nominee, Nola Timmins, said, “I would spend hours in his classroom doing my homework and asking for help when I needed it. He would patiently sit with me until I understood every single concept and why it worked. I have had many amazing teachers throughout my school career… but I will always hold a special place in my heart for Mr. Graetz.”

According to Jalen Ballard, Mr. Secrest’s student nominee, “The individualized help that Mr. Secrest has given me has helped me develop a mindset for problem-solving that I believe will carry over well to future studies. He has been a source of inspiration as his work has proved to me that I can take on subjects that traditionally involve visual elements.”

“We receive hundreds of scholarship applications and essays each year nominating teachers from accomplished students across the country,” says Gordon Rovins, Director of Special Programs at Lighthouse Guild. “These students, supported by great teachers, have powerful stories of personal triumph and academic achievement. We congratulate them, their teachers and their families.”

About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild is the leading organization dedicated to addressing and preventing vision loss. We provide coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation and behavioral health as well as related services directed at prevention, early detection and intervention of vision disorders. Reducing the burdens of vision loss and addressing and preventing vision loss are the cornerstones of Lighthouse Guild’s mission. For more information, visit

Photos for all scholarship recipients available upon request.

SOURCE: Lighthouse Guild

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Lighthouse Guild is dedicated to providing exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals.