2021 APH-Papano Scholars Announced

Teenage girl wearing glasses reads a science textbook in a classroom setting.
Teenage girl wearing glasses reads a science textbook in a classroom setting.

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 APH-Papano Scholarship:

  • Joel Gomez, Purdue University, Industrial Engineering
  • Payton Polk, UCLA, Biochemistry
  • A student (under the age of 18) attending Monterey Peninsula College, Music 

These bright students will each receive a scholarship to support their studies throughout the 2021 fall semester. We are proud to call them our inaugural APH-Papano Scholars!

The 2021 APH-Papano Scholarship was open to students majoring in STEM or Fine Arts who are blind or low vision. APH accepted applications throughout the summer and let recipients know they’d received financial support earlier this fall. Support for the scholarship was provided by a generous APH donor, Peter Papano, in the amount of $20,000, split evenly among the three scholars.

“I am honored to support the academic careers of these students as they pursue their own educational goals,” said Peter Papano. “Working with APH, I am thrilled to help students who are blind or visually impaired learn side-by-side with their sighted peers in fields that will bring them personal fulfillment and professional success.”

These three students have all made their own unique journeys to reach their goals; however, when sharing their stories with APH, there was one common thread – gratitude to parents, teachers, and the blind/ low vision professionals who supported and mentored them along the way.

“Transitioning from high school to college is a challenging time for all young people,” said Paul Schroeder, APH Vice President of Government and Community Affairs. “For students who are blind or visually impaired, it can be particularly daunting. We are honored to partner with Mr. Papano to ensure a more inclusive path to higher education for students with vision loss.”

“It’s important to remember that we are not traveling through our academic and career paths alone,” continued Paul. “The many people who guide us and encourage us, from parents to teachers and even peers, are critical to our success. And, of course, there are many resources available to students transitioning to higher education, in particular APH ConnectCenter’s Transition Hub, which provides a searchable database to facilitate connections to transition agencies across the country.”

APH encourages students to utilize the many resources within the APH Transition Hub and throughout the comprehensive, interactive ConnectCenter site. And, we invite students who are blind or low vision to apply next year to the 2022 APH-Papano Scholarship, with details to be announced in spring 2022.

APH is deeply grateful for Mr. Papano’s support of scholarships for students who are blind or low vision. And to the three recipients, we offer our hearty congratulations!