Lighthouse International’s annual awards to gifted students who are visually impaired include a Harvard bound theoretical physics student, an outstanding athlete who is an A student and three very gifted musicians.

June 7, 2011...Seven exemplary students will receive $10,000 awards from Lighthouse International to enable them to go to college and continue their studies at the 32nd annual Scholarship and Career Awards Ceremony. Julie Chang, entertainment reporter for WNYW-TV will emcee the event.

Selected from a nationwide competition for their personal and academic achievements, the students are:

Syde Hurdus President’s Award
Whitney Nimitpattana, 17, is a graduate of the Lighthouse International Summer Youth Program. Graduating high school - where she started the physics club – she had a perfect 4.0 grade average. She has always looked for big challenges. This fall, she will be attending Harvard University and will be studying theoretical physics and astrophysics. She said one day she would like to discover new galaxies.

College Bound Award
Thomas Carroll, 18, an A student and an athlete. His accomplishments in track and field were featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune this year. He is also a drummer and started a rock band and performed in his school jazz program. He will be attending Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University this fall.

College Bound Award
Michelle Hackman, 17, has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending Yale as a double major in psychology and political science this fall. She has received many honors and awards and was named a finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search this year. She studied voice and performed in the All County Choir.

Undergraduate Award
German Fermin, 42, is a student at SUNY Purchase in the Studio Production Program. His record is studded with A plus grades. He is a gifted musician and songwriter. On campus, he has taught guitar and has own radio show. He is known for his skills in assistive technology. He is the first person at Purchase with a visual disability to work in Campus Technology Services.

Graduate Award
Kathleen Katulak, 24, is pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Education and Certification in Teaching the Visually Impaired at Columbia University. With a degree in psychology from Wright State University, she is interested in becoming a leader in the field of blindness and visual impairment and wants to develop a curriculum that targets the social and emotional skills of blind youth.

Judy Van Nostrand Arts Award
With a passion for music Jeremy Harvey, 19, became a star at the Maryland Conservatory of Music He is a gifted pianist who often moves his audience to tears. . He is now a first year music student at Towson University where he is studying music performance and piano and seeks to become a music professor.

Harry G. Starr Award
Jenny Lyon, 24, is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in social work at St. Joseph’s College. She must rely on scholarships to continue her studies. She is also a musician, a composer, a lyricist, and a poet. As a youngster, Jenny catalogued the White Memorial Conservation Center’s collection in Braille – a herculean task that she accomplished with the help of a Norcross Foundation grant. She plans to pursue a career in social work and is dedicated to helping others.

The Lighthouse International Scholarships and Career Awards are sponsored by individuals, organizations and foundations. Recipients are assessed on academic and personal achievement by the Lighthouse International Scholarships and Career Awards Committee.

Lighthouse International
Founded in 1905, Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. It achieves this through clinical and rehabilitation services, education, research and advocacy. For more information about vision loss and its causes, contact Lighthouse International at 1-800-829-0500 or visit



Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   Watch us on Youtube   Email   Visit our Flickr