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 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

2016 Vision Specialist Class Arrives

A portrait of the 2016 Vision Specialist class.

The 2016 Vision Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation class has arrived in Starkville! As part of the academic Certificate Program, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors and graduate students from around the country come to Mississippi State University for an intensive, three-week residency component.

The Vision Specialist program consists of a 26-week distance education component, 100 practicum hours, and this three-week, on-campus residency. Participants in the Vision Specialist program complete four graduate courses designed to expand their knowledge about working with consumers who are blind or visually impaired. The professional skills learned enable graduates to more effectively assist consumers with vision loss to learn independent living skills and become employed.

The NRTC is proud to host this group of 11 rehabilitation professionals as they continue and broaden their knowledge in the field of blindness rehabilitation. Participants in this year’s class include Betinna Fields (Virginia), Talitha Heard (Michigan), Chan Howell (Texas), Shelby King (Georgia), Erin Lewis (Mississippi), Maria Mathews (California), Ingrid O’Neal (Georgia), Christopher Roach (Michigan), Rebecca Schmaltz (North Dakota), Regina Weidler (Georgia), and Fadeelah Williams (Mississippi).

The annual program begins in January, and applications are accepted from June 1st through October 1st. For more information about the Vision Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation Certificate Program, visit our website ( or email BJ LeJeune at