May 2024 Student of the Month Highlights

The Freedom Scientific Student of the Month Program features K-12 students living in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired and use Freedom Scientific technology to achieve educational goals. Rather than featuring a student this month, we are highlighting a few of our past winners.

Student of the Month January-May 2024


Kate uses JAWS and the Focus Braille Display in class to complete assignments, write documents, and navigate web pages and web-based applications. She is currently using these products with the Canvas Learning Management system to take a college health class and says using JAWS along with braille helps her proofread as she works. “It’s a good way to do everything my sighted peers are doing.”

Kate enjoys writing and says English is her favorite subject. “I love writing books, songs, anything. I love to write.”

In her spare time, Kate enjoys wake surfing with her dad, skiing, and traveling. She also plays piano and sings. “I cover a lot of genres including pop, rock, and country, and I am experimenting with a bit of metal.”

Kate performs in a program through her school called the Academy of Performing Arts, plus plays gigs on the side. “I could be on stage every day,” she says. “It’s the best feeling when you have that adrenaline and you’re up there by yourself with eyes glued on you.”

After graduating, Kate plans to attend college and pursue a career in either music or marriage and family therapy. “Independence is important to me. I want to travel and explore, especially if I can travel and play music.”

Kate says JAWS and the Focus Braille Display have helped her become more independent. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a long road, but I will keep pushing for independence.”

Kate advises others who are blind or visually impaired to do the same. “Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it as long as you keep pushing.”


Arushi, who has been using JAWS since the 8th grade, said she learned it on her own out of necessity. “I had no knowledge of JAWS but decided to take a Python coding class. I needed to learn how to use JAWS to succeed in that class.”

She continued learning JAWS during the pandemic while completing her schoolwork online. “I had no support for learning JAWS, and I was taking a lot of visual classes like geography and geometry. I had to figure out how to keep up while learning JAWS and using it with apps and websites.”

Arushi said her favorite subjects in school are Advanced Placement (AP) computer science and AP U.S. Government. “I took art and creative writing classes before the 8th grade. I didn’t know I could access technology classes, but I took a chance and found it was very possible with JAWS.”

Once she discovered her aptitude for technology, Arushi started a local chapter of Women in STEM. Members share ideas for potential majors and career paths in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

After graduating, Arushi plans to attend college and major in Computer Science. “Coding has opened up a realm of possibilities for blind people. If not for coding, we would not have access to apps and the internet. I would like to contribute to advancing accessibility.”

Arushi said her dream job would be as a software developer either creating accessibility tools or improving the accessibility of websites or software. “I have found a great combination using JAWS and refreshable braille. Having both together helps with taking standardized tests in school and is especially helpful when coding.”

In her spare time, Arushi enjoys listening to music and reading both fiction and nonfiction. She encourages others to embrace technology and use the tools available to them. “It’s never too late to start learning JAWS. It’s life-changing.”


Mina began learning JAWS in elementary school around the same time she began reading braille. “Using the auditory format of JAWS and feeling the braille under my fingers helped me learn braille.”

Mina’s passion is science, a subject she previously thought was out of reach because of all its visual elements. “My sixth grade science teacher had tactile models of organs and the human skeleton, so I was able to access science for the first time the same way as my sighted peers. That sparked my love of science.”

JAWS enables Mina to keep up with her sighted peers both in and out of the classroom. “The Google Workspace suite and Microsoft Office apps help me create and organize information. In chemistry, I can create lab reports that are accessible to my lab partners and me.”

After high school, Mina plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in either biology or biochemistry, then go to medical school to complete an M.D.-Ph.D. in physics. “I want to pursue a career in studying how interstellar space travel affects the human body.”

Mina frequently works with visual content like complex charts and graphics, and uses the Convenient OCR feature in JAWS to read text within those graphics and the Picture Smart AI feature to obtain image descriptions. “I believe that without JAWS, I would have never been so successful academically. It really empowers me to be able to explore subjects that would not have otherwise been available to me.”

In addition to competing on her high school swim team, Mina loves to read, play the piano, bake, and spend time with friends. She is currently teaching herself Spanish and Mandarin.

Mina encourages others who are blind to learn and use JAWS. “All those little things you feel you can’t do or don’t know how you could do are answered for you.”

Learn more about these students in this highlight video.

Nominate a Student

Complete our nomination form to self-nominate or nominate a student. Visit the Freedom Scientific Student of the Month page for details and watch our blog in July for the next winner and that student’s story.

Winners receive a $300 Amazon gift card and a five-year license for JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion. Their story will be featured by Freedom Scientific on our blog and social media—X, (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.

In partnership with Computers for the Blind, each winner can also receive a free, refurbished computer along with a free one-year Home Annual license of JAWS or ZoomText, which is already installed. Learn more about Computers for the Blind and their partnership with Freedom Scientific on their order page.

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