Nancy O’Neill, a senior music education major in the College of Fine Arts, has been selected for a 2013—2014 Fulbright Student Scholarship to study at the Resonaari School in Helsinki, Finland, and its use of new technologies to teach special needs students.

The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, operating in more than 155 countries. Forty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes, and 78 have won Pulitzer Prizes. More Nobel laureates are former Fulbright recipients than any other award program.

Friends of the Arts awarded a grant to O’Neill in spring 2011.

The grant allowed her to purchase assistive technology, including an electronic drum pad and a webcam, so that a fourth-grader at Stevenson Elementary in Bloomington could participate in his music class. The student has cerebral palsy, cannot speak, and can only move his eyes and mouth. He loved going to music class but was unable to use instruments. That is until O’Neill trained a webcam on the student’s mouth so that whenever the student smiles, he triggers a percussion sound that he could choose (a tambourine, crash cymbal, snare drum, etc.) and play along with his classmates or other prerecorded music.