Distinguished Service Professor Lauren Lieberman Named Fulbright Scholar
The Camp Abilities founder has received a Fulbright Global Scholar Award to extend the reach of her educational sports camp in Brazil, Ghana, and Ireland.
Distinguished Service Professor and Camp Abilities founder Lauren Lieberman has been named an award winner in the prestigious Fulbright Global Scholar Program.
Lieberman teaches adapted physical education in the Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education at The College at Brockport. She also directs Camp Abilities, a one-week educational sports camp for children with visual impairments and deafblindness that she started in 1996. As part of the Fulbright program, Lieberman will introduce Camp Abilities to Ghana in October while developing existing programming in Ireland (September) and Brazil (November).
"My dream has always been to start more camps across the country and across the world," said Lieberman. "I believe with the opportunity to expand what we have done in the U.S., teachers around the world will be trained to teach children with visual impairments, parents will understand how to teach their children motor skills and sports, and the next generation of children world-wide will have increased opportunities."
Lieberman will train faculty at host institutions on all three continents, with the goal that trainees will facilitate the expansion of Camp Abilities programming across their countries. Facilitators will have the opportunity to incorporate sports that are unique to their region, such as Gaelic football in Ireland and cricket and goalball in Ghana.
The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Recipients are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential and are provided with the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
"My goal is for people around the world to have higher expectations for children with disabilities in order to create a society that can include and embrace every human being. There are a lot of contributions people with disabilities can provide, but we have to give them the chance," said Lieberman. She hopes her work in the Fulbright program will build advocates who can echo this sentiment across the globe.
"I want Camp Abilities to run long after I'm gone," she said.
Her advice to others: "You have to dare to try."