AER Awards

Hello from the AER Awards Committee!

The charge of the AER Awards Committee is to provide AER members with the opportunity to be recognized for significant achievements and factoring high standards as defined by each specific AER award. We are indeed lucky to work in a profession filled to the brim with persons whose work inspires, motivates, and even sometimes amazes us. Recognizing our members for their dedication, commitment, service, and leadership for people with visual impairments is a way to honor and lift-up our profession and the quality of all of our work.

Below you will find links to information about and applications for each of the AER awards. There are so many deserving applicants! Please consider nominating your mentor, your colleague, your hero.

Kathryn D Botsford, Chair, AER Awards Committee


MARY K BAUMAN AWARD – Established to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the education of visually handicapped children. All nominees should have worked in/for the education of blind persons and made a significant contribution to the professional organization. The first recipient of this award was Mary K. Bauman.

AMBROSE M. SHOTWELL AWARD – Candidates for the Shotwell Award shall be those whose leadership and services have “exerted influence on a national or international scale.” Past Shotwell Award recipients have included Peter Salmon and Helen Keller.

ALFRED ALLEN AWARD – Candidates for the Alfred Allen Award shall be those whose character and dedication epitomize the spirit and quality of direct service to blind persons.

JOHN H. McAULAY AWARD – This award is achieved for outstanding achievement in the placement of blind and visually impaired persons into employment.

AER OUTSTANDING CHAPTER AWARD – This award goes to a chapter whose membership efforts have been outstanding. Criteria include: increase in the number of members; number and quality of services and/or programs offered by the chapter; legislative activity significantly affecting the lives of blind people. Effective with the 1996 award, the Outstanding Chapter shall receive a cash award of $200.

 C. WARREN BLEDSOE AWARD This honor is bestowed by the AER Publication Committee in recognition of a particularly noteworthy piece of literature in the field.  Those presented with the C. Warren Bledsoe Award have presented new facts and/or concepts about blindness, presented new perspectives on fundamental problems in blindness, clearly relayed some particular need in the field and elicited responses in concrete form of contributions and/or legislative advocacy, and/or successfully popularized the life and times of people with visual impairments within the sighted community.

DOUGLAS C MacFARLAND AWARD – This award was established to honor an individual who has provided leadership in the field of blindness and visual impairment and is now retired from the field. This individual will have made innovative, significant or outstanding contributions to the education or rehabilitation of people who are visually impaired, through either direct service, professional organizations, research, literature and/or preparation of professionals. These contributions should have had an impact on a national or international level.

RICHARD L WELSH CHAPTER LEADERSHIP AWARD This award was established to recognize professionals who have contributed outstanding efforts in AER chapter leadership.  Nominees will demonstrate activity and achievement, either past or current, in the role of AER President-Elect, President, Past-President, Secretary, or Treasurer at the chapter level in the following areas: 1) Overall recognition as a leader who embodies and models the qualities of honesty, common sense, good decision making, communication, commitment to the field of visual impairment and blindness, and respect for diverse opinions; 2) embracing, inspiring, and motivating new membership and leadership at the Chapter level and beyond; 3) inviting collaboration to promote: leadership, membership recruitment, and member retention; and 4) Leadership that inspires joy and passion in the mentoring of new professionals in the field of visual impairment.