Pictured are (from left) Autism Delaware Daniel and Lois Gray Memorial Scholarship recipients Ashley E. Green, Nicole M. Jones and Thea E. Byrne; Autism Delaware Secretary John Fisher Gray; Gray memorial scholarship recipients Elizabeth M. McCabe and Veronica M. D’Amico; and Autism Delaware President Marcy Kempner.

Scholarships awarded

Autism Delaware announces 2013-14 scholarship recipients


12:02 p.m., July 1, 2013--Six University of Delaware students are recipients of the 2013-14 Autism Delaware scholarships. 

Two types of scholarships are available every year to extraordinary students pursuing higher education.

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The Autism Delaware Adult with Autism Scholarship supports adults with autism spectrum disorders who want to attend college or some other post-secondary educational program and the Autism Delaware Daniel and Lois Gray Memorial Scholarship was created specifically for eligible UD undergraduate and graduate students working toward a professional position in the autism community.

Both scholarships come with a cash award.

Autism Delaware Adult with Autism Scholarship recipient Nikita Mutter has just completed her sophomore year at UD. Mutter said she has been dreaming about becoming a writer since she was in middle school, but she’s also interested in special education and defense and considering law school “to eventually become a judge or run for the United States Congress. I understand that these are all lofty goals, so when I graduate [in the spring of 2015] I would like to try to work my way up by securing a job in the public sector or in a congressional office as a policy analyst.”

To this end, Mutter’s work experience includes the University’s Institute for Global Studies, where she has been an undergraduate assistant since August 2012, as well as an internship with U.S. Rep. Katherine (Kathy) Castor (D-Fla).

The five recipients of the Gray memorial scholarship are UD undergraduates Veronica M. D’Amico, Thea E. Byrne, Ashley E. Green, Nicole M. Jones and Elizabeth M. McCabe.

D’Amico is majoring in elementary education and minoring in special education with a concentration in middle school math. D’Amico said she hopes to graduate in 2014 and is currently working toward a master’s degree in education, exceptional children and youth (specifically autism and severe disabilities). After graduating, D’Amico plans to teach in an autism-specific early intervention program in Delaware similar to the Sussex Consortium Delaware Autism Program where she’s working this summer.

Byrne is majoring in exercise science with a minor in disabilities studies and hopes to graduate in 2015. Her career goal, to help children with autism and other disorders, began taking shape in high school, when Byrne began volunteering at Rocking Horse Rehab, a pediatric hippotherapy facility. Today, Byrne works with a pediatric physical therapist on the UD campus, is treasurer of Yes U Can (an organization that encourages physical and social activity for adults with disabilities), and volunteers at the Physical Therapy Stroke Research Lab at McKinley Lab and Early Learning Center with children with disabilities.

Green is majoring in human development and family studies with a minor in disability studies. After graduating in 2014, Green hopes to work at Autism Speaks in Princeton, N.J., and may attend graduate school. Green currently serves on the executive board of the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities, coaches Special Olympics, and travels to schools to provide sensitivity training and awareness of individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Jones is majoring in early childhood education and plans to graduate in 2016. Involved with Best Buddies and a team captain for Autism Delaware’s Walk for Autism, Jones is working toward a degree in early childhood education with a focus on special education. After graduation, she hopes to get a job as a special education teacher at the Sussex Consortium in the Cape Henlopen School District.

McCabe is majoring in elementary education with a concentration in special education and a minor in disabilities studies. She plans to graduate in 2014 and work toward a master’s degree in education. Her goal is to teach children with autism in an early intervention program. In addition to being an international student volunteer in the Dominican Republic, McCabe has also volunteered as a coach-mentor at UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies, as a tutor at the Early Learning Center and at the Activities for Adapted Movements and Skills Program.

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