De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is proud to have presented the fifth annual Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship to Nevada resident Devin Valencia. Valencia works as a teacher with children in grades kindergarten through second grade suffering from autism, and will utilize the funds from the scholarship to complete a bachelors in Psychology, followed by a two year Masters in School Counseling.
This scholarship was introduced during Brain Injury Awareness Month, for individuals who sustained a traumatic or acquired brain injury and are pursuing a higher education. In announcing the winner, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP partners Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen said, “Selecting a single winner for our scholarship is always challenging. Each applicant has their own unique story of courage and determination to follow his or her dream of higher education, while living with the day to day challenges, and lifelong consequences of brain injury.”
But according to De Caro & Kaplen, LLP it was Valencia’s desire to help other brain injury survivors that tipped the balance in her favor.
Shana De Caro, who serves as the Chairwoman of The Brain Injury Association of America, commented, “In addition to pursuing her personal education and career goals, Devin has expressed a desire to form a support group for students who have experienced brain injury. Through my experience over four decades representing brain injury survivors, and in my work for the Brain Injury Association of America, I have become acutely aware of the importance of support groups for brain injury survivors.”
Valencia, who was diagnosed with a rare brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in 2017, says there is a lack of support for brain injury survivors, “The lack of general support for brain injury survivors is slim, and getting our voices out there is crucial for the betterment of not only those who have suffered an acquired or a traumatic brain injury, but for those that will also become a part of this community in the future.”
Michael V. Kaplen, a three-term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and professorial lecturer at law, teaching a course in brain injury law at the George Washington University Law School echoed Valencia’s call for more support for brain injury survivors, “We are delighted to present this year’s scholarship award to Devin, and hope that it assist her achieve her educational goals. And like Devin, we believe much more needs to be done to support the over 5 million Americans who currently live with the lifetime consequences of brain injury.”
The Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship is an annual award for students who have sustained a brain injury. Applications for the next fund, to be distributed in late Summer 2022, will open in March 2022.
Watch an interview with 2021 scholarship winner Devin Valencia below.