The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
666 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York New York 10012
800-221-4602
info@ndss.org 

Recipients

2013 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2013 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund!

The deciding committee was impressed with the accomplishments and goals of everyone who applied. Sixteen outstanding students who have Down syndrome were awarded grants to help cover the cost of their postsecondary or enrichment courses.


CASEY BARKER
MIDLAND, GA
KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY

In his free time, Casey plays the drums. One day he would like to own and operate a small business, an instrument store to cater to local musicians. Casey's other personal goals include owning a car, getting married and buying a house.

Read what Casey has to say about going to college.
Where is he now? 


PAIGE BOUCHARD
SWANSEA, MA
BRISTOL COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Paige is going to college to earn her child care certificate so she can work in a daycare or somewhere else with children.  Additionally, while in college, Paige will continue taking guitar lessons and further her education in music and entertainment. 

Read what Paige has to say about going to college.


LIZA CASSELS
ARCADIA, FL
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA

An accomplished equestrian, Liza has ridden horses in local parades and rodeos.  She volunteers at the library, where she organizes books, and serves chips and salsa at El Pirata Mexican Restaurant.  She’ll be taking a cooking class in college because she knows that if she wants to reach her goal of living alone, she’ll have to know how to cook. 

Read what Liza has to say about going to college.


Jeffery Cove
Waterbury Center, VT
Johnson State College

Jeff loves history and science, and to write and draw.  At college, he hopes to make friends and learn to manage his money and pay his bills.  He would like to get a good job, live on his own and pay rent. 

Read what Jeffery has to say about going to college.


JOHN FARLEY
MEMPHIS, TN
UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

John, a charter member of Company D Dancers, hopes college will help him prepare to live independently and have better options for a career once he graduates.  He looks forward to a full time job and hopes to move into his own house. He would like to work with young children in a hospital setting. 

Read what John has to say about going to college.


MATTHEW GREEN
NORTH PALM BEACH, FL
PALM BEACH STATE COLLEGE

Matthew’s hobbies are reading, listening to all types of music, dancing, watching old movies, and watching his favorite team, the Miami Heat, play basketball.  Matthew will be taking classes to help him learn the skills that will help him get a job in the media production field.

Read what Matthew has to say about going to college.
Where is he now?


DAKOTA JOHNS
PHOENIX, AZ
GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY

Currently enrolled at Grand Canyon University, Dakota’s major is Communications and his minor is in Video Production.  He wants to pursue his education so he can achieve his goals of becoming a sports broadcaster and a keynote motivational speaker. 

Read what Dakota has to say about going to college.


JUSTIN ISAAC
BRIDGEWATER, CT

At college, Justin would like to learn more about math, history, theater, social studies and computers.  He wants to set personal goals and be more independent.  He looks forward to meeting new people and making friends, and being a part of a college community by participating in campus life. 

Read what Justin has to say about going to college.


KRISTEN KOPF
BLUE POINT, NY
SUFFOLK COMMUNITY COLLEGE

All through elementary and high school, Kristen loved singing and learning about music.  Since she graduated from high school she has taken two classes in music at Suffolk Community College.  She loves music and wants to know more about it so she can get a job in the field. 

Read what Kristen has to say about going to college.


BETH LANG
KEIZER, OR
KARATE FOR KIDS

Through her karate studies, Beth is learning to be strong and feel good about herself.  She is learning courtesy, discipline, is making new friends and is proud of herself. 

Read what Beth has to say about taking karate.


PATRICK MYSHRALL
WORCESTER, MA

Patrick has done many extracurriculars throughout high school, participating in cross country, varsity football, student council and multiple theatre productions. He looks forward to pursuing his love of theatre at college.

Read what Patrick has to say about going to college.


ZEB OLKO
ENFIELD, CT
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

Passionate about advocating for individuals with disabilities, Zeb strongly believes that everyone deserves an education no matter what.  He is an active member of the Mason community, participating in Best Buddies and working on Capitol Hill as part of Mason’s congressional internship program.  Zeb looks forward to learning how he can be an ever better advocate. 

Read what Zeb has to say about going to college.


JONATHAN PUTZ
BROOKLYN, NY
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS

Jonathan uses computers to create his art and will take a class that will teach him how to use computer graphics to develop his own version of the Muppets.  He spends most of his free time drawing and in the past year has had his artwork displayed in four art shows hosted by local businesses. 

Read what Jonathan has to say about taking a class in computer graphics.


CHRISTINE RYBICKI
RANDOLPH, NJ
THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY

Christine is very involved in clubs and activities at her college.  She is on the executive board of Best Buddies and an active member in the campus musical theater troupe, participating in their fundraiser for cancer research. 

Read what Christine has to say about going to college.


SARAH SCHAFFER
LAWRENCE, KS
WASHBURN UNIVERSITY

Sarah is on the cross country team and plays percussion in the band at Free State High School.  She is a peer mentor in a book club and in the summer works at Kansas University’s Speech and Language Clinics camp, working with preschool and elementary aged kids with and without disabilities.  Sarah believes that continuing with school will help her learn about possibilities for a career and allow her to pursue her interests in teaching or training athletes. 

Read what Sarah has to say about going to college.


MIAH YAGER
BOULDER, CO

Miah wants to go to college to be independent, to learn and to grow.  She works at the Boulder Community Hospital as a café assistant, a job she likes because she is constantly meeting new people.  For fun, Miah likes to swim and dance. 

Read what Miah has to say about going to college.


2012 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Melina Bucci
Midland, MI

Melina has applied her grant towards training to become a certified Zumba Instructor.  Upon completion of her training, Melina will begin to teach Zumba classes at her local community center.  

Read what Melina had to say about the experience.  


Megan Cloyes
Princeton Junction, NJ
College of New Jersey 

She's not sure yet what she will major in, but Megan knows she will work hard to acomplish her dreams. This fall, Megan begins as a full-time student in a four-year program at the College of New Jersey. She is especially looking forward to living off campus in a house with three of her classmates. 

Read what Megan had to say about going to college.  


Sean Cross
Herndon, VA
George Mason University 

Last year, his first year at George Mason University's LIFE Program, Sean received GMU's Mason Sprit Award because of his positive presence on campus and outstanding school spirit. He attends as many sporting events as he can and is the manager of the wrestling and football teams. Sean hopes to be a meteorologist once he finishes his education.


Mordechai Fischer
Brooklyn, NY
Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom 

Continuing his postsecondary education at Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom in Brooklyn, NY, Mordechai wants to learn more. He wants to learn because he wants to have fun, and as he says, the real fun is leaning. Mordechai hopes to save enough money to buy a car and get his driver's license.


Samuel Hazeltine
Charleston, SC
College of Charlston 

Last year, his first at the College of Charlston's REACH Program, showed Sam that he can take care of himself and be a good student. He knows that finishing his education will help him to get a better job and be happy.

Read what Samuel has to say about going to college.


Sam Hening
Rocky Mount, NC
University of North Carolina AT Greensboro 

Last year was Sam's first year at the University of North Carolina Greensboro's Beyond Academics program. He is learning to live on his own and is proud that he takes the Amtrak from school to home by himself. Two of Sam's goals for when he is finished with school are to work with horses and to get married.

Where is he now?


Michael Kozicki
Tucker, GA
Western Carolina University 

Michael's goal is to live independently. He believes that attending Western Carolina University, where he begins this fall, is the best way for him to get an education before living on his own. One day, Michael hopes to work at a day care center or in a recreation center helping with sports management.

Read what Michael has to say about going to college.


Kayla McKeon
Syracuse, NY
Onandoga Community College 

This will be Kayla's third year as a student at Onandoga Community College. She has taken a number of classes but particularly enjoyed psychology.  Kayla is an accomplished self-advocate and public speaker.  

Read what Kayla had to say about going to college
Where is she now?


Ishan Munshi
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina Greensboro 

Ishan will be attending University of North Carolina Greensboro's Beyond Academics program, taking a four-year certificate course called Integrative Community Studies. He hopes his work at UNCG will lead him to become more independent and help him to eventually get a paying job.

Read what Ishan had to say about going to college.  
Where is he now? 


Geoffrey Steggell
Newark, DE
University of Delaware 

Geoffrey will be starting is second year at the University of Delaware. In his first year, he learned that he really likes to do PowerPoint presentations. He did one for one of his classes on health and wellness. He plans to work hard in school so he can achieve his dream of living independently and getting a job.

Read what Geoffrey has to say about going to college.


Jaime N. Torres
Boca Raton, FL
University of North Florida 

Jame loves making new friends and joining new groups, but most of all, he loves learning new things. He hopes to do all of these at his program at the University of North Florida. He especially wants to learn how to speak new languages and how to be a better cook.

Where is he now?


2011 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Craig Blackburn
Metairie, LA
Delgado Community College 

Craig lives independently in a condo that he owns. He works for Magic Seasoning Blends, a company owned by famed chef K. Paul and plans to take Culinary Arts classes at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, LA so one day he can work as a cook for Chef Paul.

Read about Craig's expectations for his Culinary Arts program


 

Marissa Erickson
Alameda, CA

Marissa graduated from Alameda High School in June 2011. While there she played on the Junior Varsity Basketball team and was voted Homecoming Princess. She takes dances classes and art plays a major part of her life. Marissa is currently taking art classes.

Read about Marissa's experiences as a student.


Jessica Floryshak
Macungie, PA
East Stroudsburg University

Jessica started her first year at East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, PA in the fall of 2010. This year she looks forward to joining the Color Guard and taking classes in cooking and math. Fitness is important to Jessica – she enjoys running, swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and working out at her college’s rec center.

Where is she now?


megan hawk
Louisville, ky
jefferson community and technical college 

Megan will be attending Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, KY this fall, where she will take advanced art and design classes.  She hopes to work somewhere she can use these skills and sell some of her drawings and paintings.  Megan works at a local clothing store, plays golf, swims and rows.  She takes pride in being an artist and athlete.  

Where is she now?


Leora Tova Fried
Brooklyn, NY

Leora’s goals include traveling independently, mastering money skills, and maybe getting married one day. She plays basketball, goes to synagogue and goes to a local program to make friends and practice social skills. She would like to take a class to help her learn how to solve problems.

Read what Leora had to say about her experiences as a student.  


Danielle Magady 
Los Angeles, CA

Danielle has just returned home from studying in Israel for two years. Now she works as an administrative assistant and teacher’s aide at an elementary school. Danielle sees herself continuing to work with children in the future and will be taking courses in child development to prepare for her career.

Read what Danielle had to say about going to college.  


Elizabeth Rice
Morton, IL
Illinois Central College

Elizabeth is working to earn her two-year certificate in Child Care from Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL. When she completes her coursework, she hopes to gain employment as a teacher’s aide. Elizabeth currently has a job at Culver’s Restaurant in Morton, IL and works with 2-year-olds at an Early Intervention program.  

Read what Elizabeth had to say about her experiences as a student.


 

Erin McNulty
Landsdowne, PA
Temple University

Erin would like to be involved in acting and the fashion industry. This semester she will be taking classes in Computer Science, Theater Studies, Fashion, and Dance at the Academy for Adult Learning at the Institutes of Disability at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She is an active member of her church and YMCA, and works at TJ Maxx.

Read what Erin had to say about going to college
Read Erin's Closing Remarks from the 2012 NDSS Gala & Auction.
Where is she now?


James Norris
East Dublin, GA

James’s goals for postsecondary education are to speak, read and write better. In the future he wants to contribute society, get a job and show how responsible is. For fun James sings in a community choir and travels to visit his sisters and brothers.


James “Andy” Strunk
Louisville, KY
Jefferson Community College

Andy will be taking First Aid and Emergency Care at Jefferson Community College in Louisville, KY this semester. When he’s not swimming or and horsing around with his nephew, Andy plays handbells at his church, where he also volunteers.

Read what Andy had to say about going to college


Mary Warm
Kansas City, MO

In high school Mary was active in her church’s youth group and choir, she was in her school’s play and musical, and was a member of the National Honor Society. Mary volunteers 30 hours each week at the YMCA Child Care Center. She aspires to work with kids as a pre-K or Kindergarten teacher. She looks forward to the new experiences she'll have being away from home at college.

Read what Mary had to say about her experiences as a student.  
Where is she now?


Sam Zdancewicz
Springfield, PA
Shepherd’s College

Sam is currently a full-time student at Shepherd’s College in Union Grove, WI, where he studies Culinary Arts. He plays the guitar, participates in Special Olympics and hopes to live and work in Arizona one day. He describes college as, “a place to be friends and make friends…a place of comfort and focus and learning.”


2010 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Larry Lane
West Lafayette, IN
Clemson University

Larry plays basketball, softball and bowls in the Special Olympics. He was on his high school’s wrestling team for four years, earning a letter. He works at Pizza Hut and plans to take a class in world history so he can learn about different places around the world. 


Kayla McKeon
North Syracuse, NY
Onondaga Community College

Kayla is an active self-advocate, frequently speaking about disability and related topics. She hopes to become a professional motivational speaker so she can encourage people with disabilities, and so she can make others aware of all the things people with disabilities can do. She is an avid reader, enjoys using computers, and works part-time at the Paparazzi Salon & Day Spa.

Where is she now?


Casey O’ Connor
Murrells Inlet, SC
Coastal Carolina University

Casey is an accomplished musician and regularly plays blues harmonica with his dad’s band. He likes reading and watching movies. Casey works at a movie theater, but his dream job is to be a professional golfer.

Read what Casey had to say about going to college.  


Laura Smith
Lebanon, KY
Elizabethtown Community Tech College

Laura enjoys singing, dancing, acting and working with kids. Her dream job would incorporate all of those activities. She plans to study child development, cooking and literature. Laura sees college as an opportunity to gain independence and responsibility.

Read what Laurda had to say about her experiences as a student.  


Mary Alice Shartle
Simpsonville, SC
Clemson University

Mary Alice is passionate about working with children. She worked in a day care center and volunteered at her church’s nursery throughout high school. She plans to work with small children so she will have an opportunity to help people. 


Mollie Tew
Holly Springs, SC
College of Charleston 

Mollie makes jewelry, plays basketball and spends time volunteering at the YMCA and at a local nursing home. She plans to go to college, and then hopes to get a job working with the elderly as a recreational therapist assistant or a physical therapist assistant. 

Where is she now?


Charlotte Woodward
Fairfax, VA
Northern Virginia Community College

Charlotte works at a grocery store and volunteers at a local hospital. She would like to become a certified medical assistant and would also like to become an advocate for people with special needs. In her free time, Charlotte writes poems, plays and stories.


2009 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Seth Dannheim
Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell

William Sunday Trampus Hoover
Coastal Carolina University

Craig Kinney
Bristol Community College

Valoree Lisi
Culinary Training Institute

Derek Taft
Edgewood College

Erin Thompson
George Mason University - LIFE Program

2008 O'Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Garrett Anderson
EASTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY


bryann burgess
University of South Carolina


Ryan Fish
Fullerton College


jessica huizinga
George Mason University - LIFE Program


mark kaye 
Sheridan Technical Center


Ray Linthicum
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY - LIFE PROGRAM


Megan McCormick 
Bluegrass Community College


Lauren Welsh
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY - LIFE PROGRAM


2007 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Dylan Kuehl
South Puget Sound Community College

Craig Kinney
Bristol Community College

Jennifer McKeown
Mercer County Community College

John W. McCormack
Mercer County Community College

Brandon B. Smith
Edgewood College

2006 O'Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Aliza “Claire” Bible
Madison, WI
Lesley University 

Claire has many interests including reading, writing poetry, acting and working with children. Claire will be attending the Threshold Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, where she hopes to take a class in childcare so that she can work toward her teaching certification. Some of her future goals include living independently and having a successful career.


Christine Billante
Brentwood, TN
Columbia State Community College 

Christine is very active in her community and enjoys participating in various sports though the Special Olympics, advocacy groups and volunteering at her church. Christine intends to enroll in an art appreciation class at Columbia State Community College in Franklin, TN because she would like to learn drawing techniques so that she can enter the VSA Arts contest.


Patricia Moody
Vero Beach, FL
Indian River Community College  

Patricia is interested in a career teaching sign language to both hearing and non-hearing people. Patricia studied American Sign Language for six years and is fluent, and now she is working to be certified. In addition, Patricia likes to perform (signing and singing) and speak publicly about what it is like to be a young adult with Down syndrome. She will be taking courses in sign language and public speaking at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, FL.


Angelica Salas
El Paso, TX
Eastern New Mexico University 

Angelica has many interests, including law enforcement and cooking. She will be pursuing one of those interests as she takes courses to become a Veterinarian Assistant so that she can work at a zoo, animal shelter or animal hospital. One of Angelica’s goals is to have a good paying job so that she is able to live on her own. She will be attending courses at Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell, NM.


Nannie Sanchez
Albuquerque, NM
University of New Mexico - Albuquerque 

Nannie is an accomplished public speaker and powerful self-advocate. Nannie successfully lobbied her legislature to obtain funds to establish a Self-Advocacy Center in New Mexico in 2004, and she has worked to ensure that the Center remained funded in the subsequent two years. Nannie is seeking a career change and would like to study Digital Photography and Filmmaking. She will be studying these topics through Continuing Education courses at the University of New Mexico - Albuquerque.


2005 O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Kate Bartlett
Arlington, MA
Middlesex Community College 

Kate is currently exploring career options while she works toward her associate's degree at Middlesex Community College. Kate's future goals include earning a bachelor's degree and working to support herself.


Robert Magill
Cheyenne, WY
Laramie County Community College 

Robert runs his own business called Rob's Forum, where he makes videos, DVDs, video resumes and home movies. He intends to enroll in a computer graphics course at Laramie County Community College to learn additional production skills to improve his business.


Kyle McGonigal
Kendall, NY
Genesee Community College 

Kyle is working toward many goals including earning his Regents diploma and coaching certification. Kyle attends Genesee Community College and hopes to become the coach of a baseball or football team in the future.


Carrie Raabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Coconino Community College 

Carrie works at Northern Arizona University and attends Coconino Community College to mentor youth with disabilities. Carrie is also an accomplished public speaker and she has specific goals for her future, including living in her own apartment, being independent and working to support herself.

Where is she now?


Chris Stuhlmann
New Haven, CT

Chris is an accomplished poet and actor and has participated in many activities that showcase his talents. He plans on attending courses to further his study of poetry and drama, but is also interested in pursuing plant arranging as a potential career.


Philip With
Albuquerque, NM

Philip is currently the kitchen manager at a local restaurant, but intends to take management classes, so that he can become the manager of the entire store. One of his most important activities is spending time with his fiancée, Emily.


Sara Wolff
Moscow, PA

Sara works at O'Malley & Langan P.C. Law Offices. Sara will attend a local college to improve her public speaking skills, so that she can speak to large groups of people about the potential of individuals with disabilities and the importance of inclusion.

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