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January 14, 2014

Blind grad student wins Learning Ally award

Learning Ally, a non-profit educational organization serving people across the U.S. with visual and learning disabilities, has bestowed a National Achievement Special Honors award to Robin Kyle of Indianapolis.

Kyle is one of several students from across the United States who will receive cash awards of $3,000 in recognition of their academic excellence, leadership, and service to others.

Kyle lost her vision as an 18-year-old after being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosis.

“At that time, I felt my life had come to a complete halt and I was not equipped to cope with the loss of my sight,” she said.

She later became a single mother of three children and worked in many jobs to support her family. When she started working in childcare, she found a new sense of fulfillment and decided to pursue a career in teaching.

“I desired to be that individual who assists in turning on the light in young children’s minds,” she said.

Now, at age 47, Kyle has completed her senior year in the elementary teacher education program at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indinapolis and plans to become a kindergarten teacher.

“Being the only blind student in every college course that I have taken, I decided to use my college classroom as a platform to educate and speak on diversity and inclusion of students who are blind or visually impaired,” she said. “My goal is to build a learning community where all learner’s diversities are accepted, respected and valued. My struggles and triumphs in learning are a testimony that disabilities can be gifts, rather than stumbling blocks.”

Since 1959, Learning Ally has honored exceptional students who are blind or visually impaired through its privately endowed Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards (SAA) for college seniors and beyond. Hundreds of students apply for these awards each year and are selected by committees of Learning Ally volunteers, board members, parents, educators, donors, and staff.

Each award winner has a list of honors and accomplishments, and has graduated with a grade point average above 3.0, with most near the 4.0 mark.

For more information, visit the website at www.LearningAlly.org.

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