Lighthouse Awards 18 College Scholarships to Students With Vision Loss

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NEW YORK—Lighthouse Guild announced that it is awarding 18 college scholarships of $7,500 each to students who are legally blind. The awardees include 17 students who are entering undergraduate schools and one student who is entering medical school. Paralympic athlete Caitlin Sarubbi, born and raised in Brooklyn, is receiving a scholarship to help achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. The daughter of a retired New York City Firefighter who was active during 9/11, Ms. Sarubbi was born with a very rare and severe syndrome called Ablepharon Macrostomia, which left her legally blind, partially hearing impaired and having to undergo over 60 reconstructive surgeries starting at three days old.

She knew from an early age that she wanted to become a doctor. In 2008, as a high school student, she received a college-bound scholarship from Lighthouse Guild. In 2010, she competed as an alpine ski racer in the Paralympic Games in Vancouver. She went on to receive her undergraduate degree from Harvard in 2015 and is now starting her studies at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in New Jersey.

“This scholarship from Lighthouse Guild allows me to focus on my studies in medical school and my goal of being the best doctor I can be with less concern about financial obligations,” said Sarrubi. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to go to medical school and pay it forward by helping others the way my surgeons and doctors have helped me.

“I hope to continue to show all people that no matter what challenges you may face, you can still accomplish any goal you set for yourself, and nothing is impossible.”

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 2019 recipients are from across the country and will be attending some of the nation’s most competitive universities.

Dr. Alan R. Morse, president and CEO of Lighthouse Guild, said, “Applying for college, getting accepted, and obtaining financing can be particularly challenging for students with vision loss. We are pleased to be able to help outstanding students who are legally blind pursue their studies and secure their futures.”

2019 Lighthouse Guild Scholarship Recipients and Schools

David Abrahams, Havertown, Pa., Harvard
Alexandra Allers, Fort Gratiot, Mich., University of Michigan
Ryan Basso, Port Chester, N.Y., University of Delaware
Mitchell Bridwell, Pittsboro, Ind., Purdue University
Stephen Friday, Muskegon, Mich., University of Michigan
Emily Hicks, Cumming, Ga., University of Alabama
Gene Kim, Cupertino, Calif., Stanford University
Aymon Langlois, Reading Mass., Skidmore College
Jack MacDonald, Enfield, Conn., University of Hartford
Mikayla M, Lake Worth, Fla., University of South Florida
Luke Miller, Elmhurst, Ill., University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
Lukas Mullaney, Brightwaters, N.Y., Providence College
Kaylee Nielson, Phoeniz, Ariz., Wellesley College
Anna Ohrt, Issaquah, Wash., Brown University
Rio Popper, Redwood City, Calif., Oxford University
Caitlin Sarubbi, Brooklyn, N.Y., Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine
Lea Schiefele, Lake Worth, Fla., Florida Southern College
Kinshuk Tella, Miamisburg, Ohio, Miami University, Ohio

Since its inception in 2005, Lighthouse Guild’s Scholarship Program has awarded over $2 million in scholarships to outstanding students from 38 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.

Lighthouse Guild also recognizes the powerful role teachers play in motivating students who are blind by each year recognizing a teacher based on nominations received from the students themselves. The 2019 Lighthouse Guild Teacher Award recipient is Jenny Padgett, a teacher at Cupertino High School in Cupertino, Calif.