From the mailbag . . .

Are you interested or know someone who might be interested in pursuing work in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) after high school? Do you enjoy investing your talent and energy in solving real-world problems? Join the National Federation of the Blind for NFB EQ, a week-long engineering program for blind and low-vision high school students.

At this program, you will collaborate with other students to solve authentic problems that exist in developing countries. You will spend the week working on a team to engineer solutions to a given problem. Your team will create proposals with accompanying models, which you will pitch to various stakeholders. After constructing life-size prototypes of your designs, you will test them in authentic settings. You will also have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a number of engineers from across the country, some of whom happen to be blind.

To learn more and to apply, visit

The Specs

Participants: 40 blind and low-vision high school students (currently in grades 9-12); 20 students at each of the two programs.

Dates: Program 1: June 19-25, 2016; Program 2: July 31-August 6, 2016

Location: National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland

Application: Apply Now! Applications are due by Monday, April 25, 2016.

Cost: $0 (This program is free of charge).

Hashtag: #NCBYS

Additional Information

  • To be eligible to apply students must: be in grades 9-12 during the 2015-2016 school year, be blind or have low-vision, be a United States resident, and be available to attend the entire program.
  • Participant’s transportation to and from the program will be arranged by the National Federation of the Blind. Students will travel to Baltimore on Sunday and will travel home on the following Saturday.
  • This is a residential program; students will stay in dormitories at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and all meals will be provided.
  • In the evenings, after the conclusion of the instructional day, students will be engaged in various social and recreational activities.

What are students saying about EQ?

“Engineering isn’t about following instructions to the letter. It’s changing on the fly. It takes a set of skills to fundamentally change something to make it better while you’re working on it.”

“I’ve been taking engineering classes at school and now that I know there are tools [and] drafting boards. I’m going to ask for [them] next year. This program has made me more confident in what I can do.”

“Expectations for blind are really low. This program showed us all that there is a way to do things we never thought we could do. I always thought STEM seemed kind of impossible, but there are tools, techniques, and there is a way to integrate into the real world.”

“Participating in this program gave me the determination to push forward. If I hear someone say you can’t, I will push forward.”


If you have questions or require additional information, please contact:


Natalie Shaheen

NCBYS Project Director

Independent Consultant

National Federation of the Blind

410-659-9314, extension 2418


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1322855.


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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