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March 10, 2023

Roberts Wesleyan University Establishes Endowed Scholarship with Flower City Down Syndrome Network

Flower City Down Syndrome Network scholarship signing photo

$28,000 grant to attract students who will professionally serve individuals with Down syndrome

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Today, Roberts Wesleyan University President Deana L. Porterfield was joined by Flower City Down Syndrome Network (FCDSN) Board President Brian Callahan and university faculty to solidify a new scholarship program that aims to attract more students who will professionally serve individuals with Down syndrome. The FCDSN awarded Roberts Wesleyan a $28,000 grant, establishing an endowed scholarship to assist students pursuing careers that serve people with Down syndrome.

The scholarship, which ranges from $500 to $1,000 annually, will be awarded to currently enrolled traditional undergraduate or graduate students making satisfactory progress toward their degree in teacher education, special education, school psychology, occupational therapy, pre-physical therapy, or other related health and human services fields. Successful applicants in good academic standing must also demonstrate a passion for or history of working with people with Down syndrome, and preference may be given to students with financial need. 

“At a time when our country needs educators more than ever, especially educators who serve students with diverse abilities, Roberts is pleased to partner with Flower City Down Syndrome Network for this grant to help students advance their education with less financial burden,” said Kimberley Wiedefeld, vice president of enrollment management at Roberts Wesleyan University. “As someone with a personal connection to Down syndrome, it’s encouraging to see more resources allocated to programs in our community and more students expressing a dedicated interest and passion for serving individuals with Down syndrome and other diverse abilities post-graduation.”

Operating in the Greater Rochester area for more than 30 years, FCDSN provides education, support and opportunities to people with Down syndrome and their families. The local not-for-profit corporation was established in 1991 by a small group of parents who saw a need to help educate and support Rochester-area families and community members who have been touched by Down syndrome. Throughout the years, the organization has grown into an expansive network of devoted professionals, self-advocates and volunteers who work to ensure individuals with Down syndrome realize their full potential and are included in every aspect of their communities. 

Click here to learn more about FCDSN’s resources and impact on the community. For more information about Roberts Wesleyan’s undergraduate and graduate programming in education, occupational therapy, health and other human services fields, please visit


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