NFB EQ

The National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient program (NFB EQ) is a weeklong summer engineering program for blind and low-vision teens from around the United States. NFB EQ is jam-packed with fun and learning. Participants spend each day engaged in activities designed to strengthen their knowledge of engineering as well as their problem solving abilities. In the evenings, participants explore the local community and participate in various recreational activities. Throughout the week, participants will forge new friendships while increasing their engineering knowledge, problem solving abilities, self-confidence, and independence. Blind and low-vision teens who are ready to learn new things, meet new people, and have an adventure this summer are encouraged to apply. 

NFB EQ 2019 Specs

Who: 30 blind and low-vision teens currently enrolled in grades 9-12 in the United States

What: A weeklong summer engineering program for blind and low-vision teens

When: NFB EQ 2019 will take place from June 16 through June 22.

Where: Baltimore, Maryland

Why: To meet new people, learn new things, and have an exciting adventure!

How: The NFB EQ 2019 application will open in January of 2019.

If you are not able to apply this year, stay tuned because we are planning to facilitate NFB EQ in 2020 and 2021. In the meantime, we encourage you to connect with the National Association of Blind Students, which runs a variety of programs and activities for high school and college students. Younger students may find interest in our NFB BELL Academies

How Much: There are no registration fees for this program. Additionally, the National Federation of the Blind will cover participants’ travel,* room, and board for the duration of the week.

*Please visit our NFB EQ frequently asked questions page to learn about minimal costs associated with travel.

Questions? Visit our NFB EQ frequently asked questions page for more details.

What People Are Saying about NFB EQ

“NFB EQ gave me more confidence to keep doing what I want—no one can stop me! The program opened my eyes to even more options in the field [of engineering] and it gave me some confidence that I can do some mechanical stuff that I didn’t think I could do before.” – Michael, Texas

“At the program, I learned that there is accessible equipment—I can use equipment that is close to what sighted people use, like Braille rulers and click rules. At school the tools for measuring in science aren’t always accessible to me.” – Lilly, Alaska

“I increased my drawing skills at NFB EQ. The tactile drawing board helped me, because I could feel what I drew. Visualizations also have gotten easier [going from drawing to model to prototype]. In engineering, you have to picture an idea in your mind and then draw it before you can build it. When you draw it, you can really see how it's going to come together.” – Trey, Kentucky

“Before the program, I didn’t know that you could use power tools to build, even if you can’t see it, you can feel it and build it just the same. I am going to tell my teachers at school that I can build things too.” – Naveha, Massachusetts

“I’ve been taking engineering classes at school and now that I know there are tools that are easy for me to use, accessible drafting boards, I’m going to ask for [them] next year. This program has made me more confident in what I can do.” – Yang, Florida

“Last year, I got a C+ in geometry because I had trouble understanding all the pictures. At NFB EQ, I learned how to draw a cube using tactile drawing tools and now the things I was taught in geometry make more sense. I want to take the drawing techniques I learned back to use in my pre-calc class next year.” – Riley, Louisiana

“At school, my science teacher didn’t want me to do anything, and I know how I can do these things. I can use talking scales and measure. I can be one who participates, not the one who takes notes.” – Logan, Alabama

“Participating in this program gave me the determination to push forward. If I hear someone say I can’t, I will push forward anyway.” – Noah, Michigan

“Going to college is pretty scary but exciting, this program gave me confidence to do hard science in college.” – Kaitlyn, Colorado

“Expectations for blind people are really low. This program showed us all that there is a way to do things we never thought we could do. I always thought STEM seemed kind of impossible, but there are tools, techniques, and there is a way to integrate into the real world.” – Abdi, Nebraska

“The program has given me more choices and possibilities. I always thought STEM was closed to me because I’m blind, good to know if I chose to pursue STEM it is open to me and I am capable of it. The program was empowering.” – Mili, Pennsylvania

“I wish I could be a pilot. I thought that was impossible. At NFB EQ I learned people don't hire you for what you see, but for what you know. If I make my own decision--I shouldn't listen to others say I can't. That's the barrier. Since this program, I'm more confident I can do activities friends who are fully sighted can do. I have physical and mental capacities I'm willing to use and show.” –Tatiana, Montana

“At this program, I felt a sense of community and friendship, so I felt comfortable opening up. The lessons were also very intriguing and I could tell how great everyone felt with the confidence and independence that our teachers were trying to ensure that we had.” – Xakhary, Oklahoma

“I am amazed at how the people involved in organizing this program made everything so easy for us. From organizing logistics to making sure the schedule was running smoothly for the students—the whole event was very successful. The staff’s warmth and attention to detail really eased my mind and made me feel good about leaving my son at the program for the week.” – Mark (father), North Carolina

"I was looking for a rigorous, highly academic STEM program that promoted and modeled independence and the National Federation of the Blind was offering everything I was looking for. Still, I was hesitant. What if it wasn’t a good use of my students’ resources, or what if they weren’t safe? My fears were unwarranted, from start to finish. NFB made the health, safety, academic rigor, social experiences, and general well-being of our students paramount. Every detail was professionally planned and handled, ensuring that every moment, for every student, was as meaningful as it could possibly be.” – Laura (teacher of the visually impaired), Kentucky

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1712887. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.