Below you will find introductory bio's of recipients recently selected for the Class of 2023 ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows. Let's begin with an overview of the criteria that each applicant is required to have met in order to be considered.
Applicants must satisfy three basic criteria — 18 years of age or older; blind or visually impaired; and members in good standing of ACB. Eligible applicants must be recommended by the president of their respective state or special-interest affiliate. The application process for this award also consists of completing an online application, and having a letter of recommendation submitted by a president of a state or special-interest affiliate, along with participating in a 30 minute interview with members of the DKM committee.
The application will include the objectives in applying for the leadership award; a brief summary of the applicant’s education and relevant experience; number of years of membership in ACB as well as previous conventions attended, if any; description of one’s role as a leader; and an assessment of what one brings to ACB. The affiliate president’s letter of recommendation should address the applicant’s contributions to the affiliate, ACB and community organizations; and describe the applicant’s demonstrated leadership skills and leadership potential. Interviews are scheduled for mid-April of each year.
All recipients receive round-trip transportation; hotel accommodation (double occupancy), per diem stipend for meals and incidentals, convention registration fee and reception and banquet tickets. Recipients are expected to attend the convention from June 30-July 7, 2023, and there arrival date at the convention hotel is June 29, 2023.
Recipients are required to participate actively in convention activities, including the daily general sessions, special-interest presentations, seminars and workshops designated on their personalized Schedule of Events.
Presenting the Class of 2023 ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows
Cheryl Cumings is a resident of Seattle, Washington and is currently employed by the Lighthouse for the Blind as the Workforce Development Manager. She experienced vision loss during high school, and further determined that she would center her life around championing a theme of access through advocacy efforts in support of people who are blind.
While attending Princeton University, she acquired a BA in International Relations, then continued on to receive a Master’s of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Within ACB, Cheryl serves on the Board of Publications, Chair of the Multicultural Affairs Committee and a member of the ACB Mentoring Team. Prior to relocating to Seattle and joining the Washington Council of the Blind, she and her husband were dedicated members of Bay State Council of the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts.
She has a love for books, the arts, politics, and her local community.
Liz Bottner resides in Washington, DC and currently works as an Assistive Technology Specialist at the National Library Service, Library of Congress.
She has a master’s in Blind Rehabilitation Teaching with a specialization in assistive technology from Northern Illinois University. Her volunteer work consist of sharing skills as a remote Assistive Technology Instructor with the Washington, DC Talking Book and Braille Library, and as Vice President of the Penny Forward board of directors.
Liz is a member of ACB of Maryland by way of the National Capitol Area Chapter. She currently serves on the Pedestrian Environment Access committee, the Section 508 Audio Description subcommittee, and as a trained ACB Community zoom host. Liz is Vice President of the Government Employees special-interest affiliate, and a board member of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI).
Her hobbies include reading, traveling, running, and playing blind ice hockey.
Benjamin Wright resides in Henderson, Kentucky with his wife and daughter. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Family Services from Eastern Illinois University. Ben’s employment career spans from work with the American Printing House (APH), the Kentucky School for the Blind, and Deaconess Hospital as a Patient Intake Specialist.
As a member of the Kentucky Council of the Blind (KCB) and other affiliates since 2014, Benjamin has served on the KCB Programs committee and presently serves as a director on the KCB board of directors. As a founding member of the KCB Next Generation chapter, he has served as Secretary and President. Future aspirations are to serve on an ACB advocacy committee, and due to his love for theatre and the performing arts, he is also interested in assisting the audio description project.
Ben leads a youth and young adults group in his church. He enjoys singing, spending quality time with his family and volunteering in his community.
Malaina VanderWal is a resident of Caledonia, Michigan. She is a graduate of Grand Rapids Community College with a Associate in Arts degree. She moved forward with an educational aspiration to acquire a degree to become a teacher of the visually impaired by attending the Eastern Michigan University. She shares the knowledge she gained during this time by incorporating her desire to teach into programs offered by Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired.(MCBVI).
Malaina volunteers in her local community in support of their advocacy efforts for better transportation. She is a member of Concerned Citizens for Improved Transportation (CCIT). Malaina is an active member in her chapter, Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP). She has served as resolutions committee chair, and President of her chapter. She serves within MCBVI (her state affiliate) on committees, such as; technology, fundraising, accessible prescription labeling, accessible voting, resolutions, legislative, and convention. She is Vice Chair of the MCBVI Convention committee, Co-Editor of the affiliate newsletter, and she serves as Secretary. Malaina is a supporting member of ACB Next Generation, in which she has served on the nominations committee in 2022. Additionally, she actively serves on the ACB Ohio board of directors, and enjoys being a member of Blind Information Technology Specialist (BITS).
She enjoys spending time with family and friends, singing her favorites songs, and learning about technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired.
Terrie Terlau is a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. She obtained Bachelor’s degrees in English and Psychology, and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Terrie has been a licensed Psychologist in Kentucky since 1991. Her employment career spans from working as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, in mental health clinics, at a rape crisis center, at the Ohio State Counseling and Consultation Service, and in private practice. Her work with the American Printing House (APH) included researching and developing products for visually impaired adults.
Terrie is a long time member of Guide Dog Users, Inc., Guide Dog Users of Kentuckiana, and has been very active in the Kentucky Council of the Blind (KCB) since retiring in 2016. As a lifetime member of KCB, she is currently serving her second term as First Vice President. Terrie is Chair of the KCB Scholarship and Tech Grant committee and contributes much more to KCB and its affiliates. Her advocacy efforts have been directed toward reducing barriers for pedestrians and bicyclist, the elimination of global warming, poverty, and more.
Terrie loves language and is an avid reader of mysteries and science fiction, with special interests in singing, playing the guitar, writing and sharing her poetry.