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The Eden Autism Alexis Kate Special Education Teachers Scholarship


Since 2002, Eden Autism has offered the Alexis Kate Special Education Teachers Scholarship, a $500 Scholarship awarded annually to a worthy college student who has declared a special education major and has also demonstrated an extracurricular commitment to the field. The scholarship fund was started by a loving uncle who was so inspired by Eden that he acted on an impulse nothing short of extraordinary.

Alexis Kate and her uncle Steven Nelson - 2002

Alexis Kate and her uncle Steven Nelson – 2002

“My niece was diagnosed with autism at 17 months of age,” says Steve Nelson, “and she subsequently received early intervention services through Eden’s infant and toddler program. I was so grateful to the wonderful teachers that helped Alexis Kate to grow and learn that I decided to create the Alexis Kate Scholarship Fund. In 2002, with the support of family and friends, I partnered with Eden on a solo 1,800 mile New Jersey-to-Florida bike ride which raised nearly $20,000 to create an endowed scholarship fund for students committed to special education careers. The outpouring of support I received through this endeavor from family, friends and complete strangers I met along the way was so overwhelming.”




“Now, fifteen years later, Alexis (Lexi) has come such a long way and we are all so proud of her!” Due to early intervention services and the support she received from wonderful teachers over the years, she was able to be mainstreamed throughout her high school education. She was also involved in school and community theater programs for a number of years which boosted her confidence and created some long lasting friendships. Her journey was not an easy one, but she is proof that guidance and support from educators like those at Eden is crucial in the process of supporting individuals on the spectrum to achieve independence. Lexi is currently enrolled in college, majoring in writing.


Eden is now accepting applications for the 2017 Alexis Kate Scholarship. College students who have found their calling in the important work carried out by a special education major are invited to apply. “It is so important that individuals who have demonstrated the passion and commitment for serving children and adults with autism are provided the support needed to complete their studies,” says Steve Nelson.


The 2016 Alexis Kate Scholarship recipient was Mallory Felch, currently a senior in the dual Early Childhood/Special Education bachelors program at the University of Maryland. “As a junior, I was placed in an infant/toddler intensive needs program for two-year-olds with autism. During this five week program, I found my calling. I connected with the children and their service providers on a level that I had never experienced with any of my students before. I was happy to wake up before six a.m. every day and make the hour commute to the school. I always looked forward to working with these children and seeing their progress. I walked away from this school feeling a fulfillment I had yet to feel in any of the other four schools I had been placed in throughout my college career. This is why I will be returning to this program to student-teach full-time for my final
semester at UMD!”

The deadline for applications is May 31, 2017.