National Federation of the Blind Awards Scholarship to Student

KwaakCommunication arts major and aspiring radio personality Ryan Kwaak ’11 of Oak Lawn, Illinois, said he was “pleased as punch” to work as a webcast host at the recent convention for the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois (NFBI). But he was even more excited to be one of three recipients of the organization’s Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship. Kwaak accepted the award at the October convention in Springfield, Illinois.

The scholarship, in the amount of $1,250, was established in tribute to Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, former president of the federation, whose extraordinary leadership has improved the quality of life for blind people both here and abroad.

Kwaak was chosen based on his academic standing at Trinity and the essay he wrote about his work with the communication arts department and audio/visual department coordinator Dave Jousma to produce news podcasts for the College.


The Oak Lawn resident is originally from Columbia, Kentucky, and still has strong ties to the area. He plans to someday help program a full-service southern Gospel/local news/farm information format on a station in the area. Closer to his Trinity home, Kwaak is involved in the campus’s Academic Initiative and Men’s Ministry. He also writes and produces films for a website supported by his church New Life Assembly in Matteson, Illinois.

Listen to a two-minute sampling of Kwaak’s production and on-air work at the 2010 NFBI convention.

“I’m glad my hard work and broadcasting experience at Trinity paid off,” said Kwaak. “I thank our communication arts professors, especially Professor Mark Haller-Wade, for equipping me with the tools that have enhanced my abilities as a producer and for the wisdom the professors share in their instruction.”