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Empowering Tomorrow's Advocates: FDD's Scholarship Program for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Updated: Jun 18

As educational advocates, the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities (FDD) proudly supports academic scholarships as catalysts for change and gateways to opportunities within intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs) and related fields. At the heart of our commitment lies the esteemed Raymond M. Peterson Scholarship program—dedicated to supporting emerging student leaders.

FDD dedicates up to $40,000 in yearly scholarship funding to San Diego and Imperial County post-secondary students. Administered by our dedicated Board, the scholarship program aims to provide financial assistance to university or college students pursuing careers that focus on intellectual and developmental disabilities or related disciplines.

The scholarships strive to dismantle financial barriers that often impede the pursuit of higher education and professional advancement. FDD passionately believes that by investing in the education of tomorrow's advocates and caregivers, we foster personal growth and significantly enhance the quality of support and services provided to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, making a real difference in their lives.

Scholarships are exclusively available to residents of and students attending colleges or universities in San Diego and Imperial Counties. This localized focus ensures that our support directly benefits the communities we serve, fostering a network of dedicated professionals committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with I/DDs right here in our community. Investing in education lays the groundwork for a more inclusive and compassionate society where everyone is valued, respected, and empowered to thrive.

Introducing the 2024 Peterson Scholarship Recipients: Transforming Dreams into Reality

We are thrilled to present our 2024 Raymond M. Peterson Scholarship recipients. These remarkable students have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements, community involvement, and a steadfast commitment to their educational pursuits. Read on to learn more about these inspiring individuals and hear directly from them about how the scholarships will significantly impact their academic aspirations and goals.

“Receiving this scholarship will allow me to thrive twice over. I have recently started a new position as a program manager at Promising Futures, a vocational day program for adults with developmental disabilities. Beginning this new leadership role has proven to be a time-consuming yet worthwhile endeavor. With my sights set on a heavier fall semester and my new position, I was worried about balancing all my commitments. With the gift of this scholarship, I can now enroll in a summer course and begin the fall semester with a more balanced schedule, allowing me to focus on my studies and support the community I serve.” - Alexandria W.

“We are all able to change the world by planting a seed of kindness, empathy, patience…” - Ana Laura A.

"This scholarship will allow me room to breathe while I develop my skills in this field." - Audrey G.

"I am honored to be the recipient of the FDD Peterson Scholarship this year. I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for your generous support in helping me pursue a degree in Psychology. With the help of your Foundation, I am more determined than ever to excel in providing comprehensive and compassionate care to individuals with disabilities, helping them lead fulfilling and empowered lives." - Grecia A.

"FDD and the Raymond M. Peterson scholarship has provided me with financial support and left a profound emotional impact. It's deeply validating to feel recognized as someone living with epilepsy, and it inspires me to persevere in my journey of providing radical care and support for my students with disabilities and families as a future bilingual school psychologist in San Diego." - Guadalupe T.  

"I am deeply honored to have been chosen for the Peterson Scholarship. This scholarship has alleviated the financial burden that often accompanies higher education. I am grateful to the Peterson Scholarship Committee for recognizing my commitment to promoting Person-Centered thinking for people with disabilities. This scholarship is a testament to our shared vision of change and awareness." - Mallory E. 

“I am very honored and grateful to have been selected as a recipient of the Peterson Scholarship. This scholarship is very meaningful to me, and the generous support from the Peterson Scholarship and the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities will significantly aid me in my academic journey. Thank you for the opportunity to interview with the committee and to share my passions." - Mindy K. 

Receiving this scholarship is a tremendous honor that fuels my dedication to becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. This recognition inspires me to continue creating inclusive learning environments where individuals with disabilities can thrive. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and committed to making a meaningful impact in the field of special education." - Mitchel M. 

“Thank you so much for this great opportunity. I am deeply honored to be selected for this scholarship. Your generosity and belief in my potential are truly inspiring. I am excited to use this opportunity to further my education and positively impact my community. I am deeply grateful for your support.” - Nataly G. 

“The Raymond M. Peterson Scholarship has significantly impacted my journey to become a Speech-Language Pathologist so that I can continue to dedicate myself to learning about and serving as an advocate for underrepresented individuals within the community around me. Thank you for helping me to pursue my educational dreams!” - Stefani W. 

A Brighter Future Ahead

Our scholarship recipients' stories highlight the Peterson Scholarship's profound impact on their educational journeys. We are immensely proud of their accomplishments and are committed to supporting their continued success. As these students continue on their academic paths, we are confident they will significantly contribute to their communities and beyond.

Join us in celebrating these extraordinary students and the transformative power of the Peterson Scholarship. Together, we can continue to support and nurture the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change-makers.

Stay tuned for updates on our scholars' progress and achievements throughout the year. Your support and encouragement make a world of difference.

Why are Academic Scholarships Essential for Students?

Scholarships tailored for university or college students stand as crucial pillars of support, offering far more than just financial aid. Academic scholarships serve as invaluable lifelines, freeing individuals from financial worries and allowing them to immerse themselves fully in their scholarly and professional journeys.

Academic scholarships ease financial stress and promote an environment conducive to holistic learning experiences. Students can devote themselves entirely to their studies and professional growth, unhindered by the distractions of financial constraints. This enriches their educational pursuits and equips them with the tools and knowledge necessary to excel in their chosen field.

Furthermore, the impact of academic scholarships in I/DD studies extends beyond individual recipients, contributing significantly to society. By investing in the education of deserving students, these scholarships play a pivotal role in fostering a skilled workforce in the disabilities sector. They empower students to pursue their academic and professional aspirations, stimulating innovation, creativity, and progress within the I/DD industry.

In essence, scholarships in I/DD studies represent collective investments in the future of both education and society. By recognizing and nurturing talent, scholarships empower students to pursue their academic dreams and make meaningful contributions to their communities and the broader world.



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