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for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

American Foundation for the Blind Names 2015 Migel Medal Recipients

NEW YORK (December 15, 2014)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the 2015 winners of the Migel Medals, the highest honor in the blindness field. The 2014 recipients are Judy Brewer, Gaylen Kapperman, Ed.D. and Rosanne Silberman, Ed.D.

“We are honored to present these medals to Judy, Gaylen and Rosanne for their outstanding achievements in the field of blindness and low vision," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "Because of their tireless dedication and exceptional work, they have made huge strides in ensuring people with vision loss have equal access and opportunities.”

The AFB Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, AFB's first chairman, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements improve the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.

Migel Medals are traditionally presented to recipients AFB’s annual Leadership Conference.

About the Awardees

Judy Brewer directs the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She directs projects that help ensure that Web technologies support accessibility for people with disabilities. Her work includes coordinating development of accessibility guidelines for Web content, browsers, mobile applications and authoring tools; improvement of resources for evaluation and repair of Web sites; development of education and outreach resources; exploration of research and development topics which may impact future Web accessibility; and promoting harmonization of Web accessibility standards internationally. WAI standards and guidelines are used by many governments and organizations around the world to help ensure equal access to the Information Society.

Brewer is a principle research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Prior to joining W3C, she worked on initiatives to increase access to assistive technology and to mainstream information and communications technology for people with disabilities. She has a background in management, technical writing, education, applied linguistics, and disability advocacy. She received an Equality of Access and Opportunity Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for advocacy to increase the accessibility of the Windows 95 operating system. Recent awards include the SXSW's Dewey Winburne Community Service Award in 2012, and the Newell Perry Award from the National Federation of the Blind in 2014. 

Dr. Gaylen Kapperman is a professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University (NIU), where he served for much of the past 40 years as the coordinator of the university’s visual disabilities program. In addition to his work at NIU, he is the president and CEO of the Research and Development Institute, which he founded in 1992. The Research and Development Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to carrying out research and development activities in the area of assistive technology and mathematics for persons who are blind. Dr. Kapperman’s major interests are assistive technology, mathematics and sex education for blind and visually disabled students.

During his career, Dr. Kapperman has been the project director of numerous state and federal research and training grants totaling more than $15 million. He and co-authors have written two books, five book chapters and more than 60 refereed journal articles. In addition, he has held numerous elected and appointed positions in several professional organizations. Dr. Kapperman holds a degree in mathematics and German from Doane College; and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Northern Colorado-Greeley. He was the first visually disabled person to be awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, which he completed at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Dr. Kapperman also taught mathematics and German at the Kansas School for the Blind in Kansas City.

Dr. Rosanne Silberman is a professor of special education and coordinator of the Graduate Teacher Preparation Programs in Blindness and Visual Impairment and Severe Disabilities Including Deafblindness at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her distinguished career spans over 50 years in the fields of blindness and visual impairments and multiple disabilities. Over the course of more than 40 years, Dr. Silberman has created four major graduate programs at Hunter College related to these low-incidence disabilities. Her trailblazing programs have prepared generations of highly qualified educators, many of whom now serve in leadership positions across the country. Professor Silberman has obtained more than $10 million in federal, state and private foundation grants for Hunter College, providing tuition support for hundreds of teacher candidates in the field of blindness and visual impairment and multiple disabilities. As a professor, author and editor of numerous significant texts, chapters, and articles, she has impacted the field nationally and internationally. Her lifetime commitment to excellence in promoting the implementation of best educational practices for learners with visual impairments and multiple disabilities serves as an example to generations of developing teachers and leaders in the field. 

Dr. Silberman has received many awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Visual Impairments (CEC-DVI), the Virginia M. Sowell Award for Outstanding Contributions for Individuals with Deafblindness/Multiple Disabilities from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), Division III, the George E. Keane Award for Distinguished Service and Contributions to Field of Blindness and Visual Impairment from the New York State AER, the Exemplary Advocate Award from the American Printing House for the Blind and the Harold Ladas Award for Exemplary Teaching from the School of Education, Hunter College. She is a former president of CEC-DVI and executive editor of RE: View. She is a member of the American Printing House for the Blind’s Governing Board of the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field, and the Board of Trustees for the New York Institute for Special Education.


About AFB

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.


Tina Chapman
AFB Communications

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