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Media Advisory 05-023

People of Persistence: A Journey Beyond Disability

Yachtsman, student engineers visit area Dec. 8 to tell of successful voyage

The crew members of <i>B'Quest</i> before their departure

The crew members of the B'Quest before their departure

November 29, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

This past summer, a crew of four sailors challenged by such physical disabilities as paraplegia and blindness sailed with their able-bodied captain in the 2,225-mile Trans-Pacific yacht race from southern Calif. to Hawaii. Representing Challenged America, a charitable sailing-education and rehabilitation organization, the team placed fourth in their class of able-bodied competitors and in the top third overall.

On Dec. 8, crew member Urban Miyares, a Challenged America co-founder and Presidential Point of Light awardee, will come to Washington, D.C. to tell his trek and discuss how new technologies made the voyage possible.

Students and professors at San Diego State University developed many of the technologies as part of a long-running NSF program, the Engineering Senior Design Projects for Persons with Disabilities. Professor Karen May-Newman and several students will showcase some of the devices.

The lunch and talk will be held at the National Press Club, and space is limited. Please RSVP to by Dec. 5, 2005.


WHAT: Guest lecture featuring Urban Miyares; will be followed by catered lunch sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

WHEN: Dec. 8, 2005 from 12:00 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.

WHERE: First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club (529 14th St, NW, Washington, D.C. 20045)


About the speaker:
Urban Miyares is a nationally-recognized blinded and multi-disabled Vietnam veteran, motivational/inspirational speaker and lecturer, entrepreneur, published writer and newspaper columnist, inventor and patent holder, media personality, world-class athlete, and president of the Disabled Businesspersons Association--a national, volunteer-based, public charity founded in 1985 to assist in the rehabilitation and self-employment of disabled veterans and others with disabilities.

Selected Achievements:
*Founded the Disabled Businesspersons Association (1985)
*U.S. National Disabled Alpine Ski Champion (B-1 Total Blind Division and world's fastest total blind skier (1990-91)
*National U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Veteran Small Business Advocate Of The Year, Washington, D.C. (1991)
*California's Outstanding Veteran and Small Business Award, presented by former California Governor Pete Wilson (1991)
*Presidential Point Of Light Award, presented by former President George H. W. Bush (1992)
*A&E Network's National CityVideo Award Winner for the Emmy-nominated documentary "Local Heroes: Challenged America" (1992)
*National Disabled Veteran Of The Year, presented by the Disabled American Veterans (1994)
*Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur Of The Year, Socially Responsible, presented by Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young, Merrill Lynch (1995)
*Presidential Appointee to The White House Conference On Small Business, appointed by former President Bill Clinton (1995)
*David Schnair Volunteer Service Award, presented by the Blinded Veterans Association, Washington, D.C. (1995)
*National Samaritan Award, presented by the Acton Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich. (1995)
*National Spokesperson for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay to Atlanta, selected by the Coca Cola Corporation, Atlanta, Ga. (1996)
*U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Veteran Braintrust Award (2001)
*Transpacific Yacht Race, Team CHALLENGED AMERICA, skipper -- 4th Place (2003)
*U.S. Sailing Association's "National Year-Round Program of the Year,” presented to Challenged America (2004)
*U.S. Sailing Association's "National Outstanding Inclusion Sailing Program," presented to Challenged America (2005)
*Transpacific Yacth Race, Team CHALLENGED AMERICA, skipper --4th (2005) Place

Selected affiliations and activities:
Challenged America co-founder and director (
Accion San Diego, micro-lender and founding board member
American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth member
Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) life member and former national district director
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) life member
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) life member
Paralyzed Veterans Association, Cal-Diego PVA associate member
Vietnam Veterans of America and San Diego Vietnam Veterans American Legion member
Taking Control. Of Your Diabetes faculty member and lecturer
Diabetes Exercise Sports Association member
Seeing Eye Graduate Society founding member
Special Kids In The Community mentor
YEP! -- Young Entrepreneurs with disabilities (after-school) Program -- founder/mentor
Transpacific Yacht Club member


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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