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Introducing the Remote 2021 Braille Challenge Finals, a virtual experience throughout the months of June and July including webinars, social hours, world-class networking, and a dazzling one-of-a-kind Awards Ceremony that is always the highlight of Braille Challenge Finals, all in a digital setting.

2021 Finals Information

Remote 2021 Braille Challenge Finals will be a virtual experience throughout the months of June and July. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Los Angeles continues its restrictions on large gatherings, so it will not be possible for us to stage a large, in-person event within our usual footprint. The focus now is a similar concept to our remote Finals last year, and we look forward to bringing you the many aspects of our Finals program that make it unique while connecting with our Finalists, families and supporters in new and meaningful ways.

Since finalists and families will not be coming to Los Angeles for the Braille Challenge experience, we’re bringing the experience to them as follows:

  • Announcement of all the Finalists in June.
  • Finalists will complete their remote Braille Challenge testing at a location determined by each finalist’s family, their TVI and/or Regional Braille Challenge coordinator(s).
  • Braille Institute staff will coordinate a privately proctored test which will then be sent back to Braille Institute for scoring.
  • Finalists will receive a swag bag, goodies, annual yearbook, tactile portrait, engaging activity kits, and other items!
  • Winners will be announced at a live virtual awards ceremony and prizes will be sent accordingly.

TIMELINE

June 1: Finalists Announcement

Find out who the 2021 Braille Challenge Finalists are!

June 28 – July 11: Contest Proctoring Window

It’s competition time! Finalists will be testing with their proctors in their hometowns. 

July 19-23: Webinar Week

Engaging informative and interactive webinars from industry leaders such as APH, Humanware, past Braille Challenge champions, and more.

Title: APHConnectCenter: Everything is New Again
*Click on the workshop title to sign up online
Date: Monday, July 19
Time: 1:00pm PDT/4pm EST

Presenters: Olaya Landa-Vialard, Ph.D. and Richard Rueda

The APH ConnectCenter  and FamilyConnect, CareerConnect and VisionAware websites offer a host of advice and resources to assist children, parents, transition age youth, job seekers, and even adults who are blind or visually impaired toward greater independence and success in their lives.  APH ConnectCenter resources connect people seeking information and services to agencies and service providers through its websites, information and referral service, Directory of Services, webinars, training programs and more. This session will help you learn more about the APH ConnectCenter Hub’s resources. Come and learn and engage with us on July 19. For additional information, please visit www.APHConnectCenter.org.


Title: The Constant of Innovation – an overview of what is current and new with HumanWare products
Date: Tuesday, July 20
Time: 12:00pm PDT / 3:00pm EST

Presenter: Peter Tucic

HumanWare is proud to once again partner with the Braille Institute in 2021 to support the Braille Challenge. Over the past 32 years, HumanWare has developed a wide variety of refreshable braille devices that promote inclusion and successful outcomes in the classroom and workplace alike. As we near another Braille Challenge final, we continue to innovate and promote braille literacy through both the introduction of exciting new products as well as improvements to our flagship refreshable braille tablet the BrailleNote Touch Plus. Join us for an overview of our braille product portfolio where you will both learn about all that is new, as well as develop a better understanding of how HumanWare devices empower users within the current environment of remote classroom participation and leisure activities in a braille-centric way.


Title: Braille Challenge Alumni Panel
*Click on the workshop title to sign up online
Date: Wednesday, July 21
Time: 1:00pm PDT / 4:00pm EDT

So what’s next? Wondering how to get there from here? Join us for a Braille Challenge Alumni panel to hear from those who have been in your shoes and can give insider tips for success as you approach transitions and next steps in life. Topics will include higher education, employment, independence, and preparing for success. After an overview by each panelist, you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Sound great? Join us!

Presenters: Judith Lung and Jessica Minneci

Workshop Presenter Bios:

Judith Lung
Judith Lung participated in the National Braille challenge from 2007 to 2010, placing first at the Junior Varsity level in 2008 and  the Varsity level in 2010.  Some of Judith’s favorite memories from the Braille Challenge include meeting very talented peers, typing with breakneck speed during the Speed and  accuracy test, and attending the  awards banquet with her family and teachers.  After graduating from high school, Judith went on to obtain her B.A. in English from UC Berkeley and M.S. in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from San Francisco State.  Judith fell in love with computer programming after taking an introductory class in college, and she continued learning how to code on her own through taking online classes and working on personal projects.  Today, Judith works as an apprentice engineer in Accessibility Engineering at LinkedIn, helping to develop tools that allow engineers to create more accessible products.  In her spare time, Judith enjoys reading and writing short stories, composing music, playing piano, taking long walks, and working on an open-source program that converts digital sheet music into braille.

Jessica Minneci
Jessica Minneci has been reading braille for 19 years. She participated in the Braille Challenge from 2008-2015 and competed in the final round in Los Angeles, CA in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Jessica works as a Communications Associate at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, KY. She is also a graduate student at Seton Hill University, pursuing her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. In her spare time, you can find Jessica reading, writing, swimming, and going on hikes with her guide dog Joyce as well as working on her podcast, The Half-Blood Princesses: A Harry Potter Podcast.


Title: Get Moving and Get Motivated with Goalball Paralympian, Tyler Merren
*Click on the workshop title to sign up online
Date: Thursday, July 22
Time: 1:00pm PDT/4pm EST

Join us for a workshop on adaptive exercises and goal setting for success led by a three-time Paralympian.

Presenter: Tyler Merren

Workshop Presenter Bio:
Tyler Merren
Tyler Merren is a three-time Paralympian and two-time team medalist. Merren is currently training with the USA Men’s Goalball Team as they prepare for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan that was rescheduled for August 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions. When he isn’t training, Merren is an advocate for disability rights, motivational speaker, personal trainer, husband, father, and most recently served as an independent contractor with the Northeast Indiana Disability Advocacy Coalition.

July 26-29: Finalist Social Hours

Come together and get to know the other finalists and their families in these virtual social gatherings!

Friday, July 30: 2021 Remote Braille Challenge Finals Awards Ceremony

Find out this year’s winners, hear from leaders in the field, and much, much more via live stream.

Please stay tuned for updates!

 Keep Calm and Braille On!