Penn-Del AER logo

Annual Chapter Conference

The Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of AER invites you to participate in our annual conference, which will be held virtually this year. Our nationally respected conference will offer three general sessions, networking opportunities, the Penn-Del AER Awards Event, and an all-day exhibitor event—all virtually! We hope you can attend this exciting lineup.

Some Conference Details

  • Registration is required for each session

  • Request for available accommodations needs to be made at least one week in advance

  • Sessions may vary in length and are free

  • The conference is pending ACVREP approval ACVREP approved (3/23/21)

  • A certificate of attendance can be obtained upon request. The certificate may be used to submit to your employer for Continuing Education Credits such as Act 48.

Download a PDF of the conference details here

Conference Activities with Start Times

Session I: Opening Session Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 pm

Networking Opportunity: Social Hour follows Session I about 8:00 pm

Session II: Future-Ready Professionals . . .  Thursday, April 22, 9:00 am

Penn-Del AER Business Meeting follows Session II, 10:45 am

Penn-Del AER Membership Incentives Drawings

Session III: Ask the Doc . . . Thursday, April 22, 1:00 pm

Session IV: Penn-Del AER Awards Event Thursday, April 22, 6:30 pm

Networking Opportunity: Virtual Reception follows Session IV Awards Event about 7:30 pm

Session V: Exhibitor Day Friday, April 23, 9:00 am

Session VI: Exhibitor Day Breakout Rooms Friday, April 23, 1:00 pm

Session I – Opening Session: Welcome, Celebration and Networking

Wednesday April 21, 2021, 7:00–9:00 pm EDT

Registration: Click here to register for Session I

Register no later than April 14 if requesting available accommodations.

Session Description

The Opening Session will be a feel-good event to remember! Award-winning Canadian musician and Para-Olympian, Terry Kelly, and international speaker and author, Kevin O’Connor, will join forces in an evening of celebration and optimism!

Along with a chorus of students and staff from Overbrook School for the Blind, we will celebrate Penn-Del Chapter’s honor as AER’s “Outstanding Chapter” of 2018–2020. Then, through song, story, and candid conversation, Terry and Kevin will help each of us recognize the resilience our profession has built as we pioneered our way through the challenges of COVID-19. Their insights will also offer inspiration for ways we can “Take Charge” to restore, refresh, and renew our professional roles and personal lives, creating new paths that will accomplish even greater results for ourselves, our students, and our clients.

Plan to stay on after the Opening Session for a social hour.

Presenter Profiles for Opening Session

Terry Kelly, CM, BA

Terry Kelly is a storyteller who finds it natural to tell stories through his original songs. His enthusiasm for life and sheer determination have gained him international recognition as an accomplished athlete; an award-winning singer, songwriter, and entertainer; a professional speaker; and a lover of life.

When Terry was seven, his parents made the difficult decision to send him from his home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the School for the Blind in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was not easy for Terry or his parents, but the difficulties kindled Terry’s quest for challenge, developed his love of life, and nurtured his musical talent. He learned to play the accordion, clarinet, guitar, and piano and was a founding member of a very successful high school band, The Stringbusters. Always busy, he worked his way through Saint Mary’s University performing in clubs and bars with the popular rock group Janus, while earning a degree in psychology.

Terry’s persistence and commitment to his music and his message were first recognized at the 1993 East Coast Music Awards (ECMA). There Terry set an ECMA record by winning in every category in which he was nominated. His tally included “Album of The Year”; “SOCAN Song of The Year”; “Male Vocalist”; “Country Artist”; and “Live Act—Entertainer of the Year.” He has gone on to earn seven ECMAs and has been nominated for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO.

In addition to Terry’s seven solo full-length albums, he has appeared as a guest on numerous other recordings. His talents have taken him to Australia, Spain, and Afghanistan. He has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Edmonton Symphony, the Stadacona Band of Maritime Forces Atlantic, and at the 1988 Winter Olympic Gala Dinner in Calgary. He has entertained royalty, playing for their Royal Highnesses Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at a Prime Minister’s Dinner held in their honor and for Princess Margaret during her royal visit to Nova Scotia.

Athletically, Terry is an avid hiker and skier, and distinguished himself as the third blind person in the world to run the mile in under five minutes.

A tireless advocate for special causes, Terry has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts, and he received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award. Most notably, for his outstanding accomplishments and public service, Terry was invested into The Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor for extraordinary contributions to their nation.

Kevin E. O’Connor, MA, CSP

In addition to being an author, executive coach, and businessman, Kevin O’Connor is also a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). Not only is he one of 550 persons in the world to hold this highest earned speaking designation, he also holds three Master’s degrees—in Education, Counseling Psychology, and Pastoral Studies. Kevin is a Senior Lecturer at Chicago’s Loyola University and is faculty for Columbia College of Chicago. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate students.

Kevin is a published author, having authored and co-authored six books with two more currently underway. He specializes in working with professionals—particularly professionals who have been promoted to leadership positions where they now lead their former peers. He has spoken to marketing executives; medical groups in Dubai, London, and across the United States; to the United States Air Force; professional accreditation associations; and privately owned companies. He addresses each, of course, through the lens of their own culture, their own needs, their own goals. Whether keynoting or workshopping, Kevin knows his job is to help people learn.

Kevin focuses his expertise and humor to provide insight on the challenges of leadership, professional relationships, and how to improve the effectiveness of teams working together. Kevin comes to our conference, not only as a highly sought international speaker, but also as the father of a son who has a visual impairment.

Networking Opportunities

Mark your calendars and plan to join us on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings for some camaraderie appended to Session I’s social hour and Session IV’s virtual reception. Use the link for each session.

The Penn-Del AER Board and the Conference Planning Committee invites you to join in an evening of relaxation and camaraderie with Vince McVeigh, Penn-Del AER Treasurer, as our host. Realizing that many of us have not had an opportunity to mingle with each other as we might have at in-person conferences, we hope to provide a little time together where our primary purpose is to enjoy each other’s company. Tentative plans call for time for us to share positive professional or personal experiences in a virtual world and enjoy some musical interludes. It will be a perfect opportunity for us to have a virtual toast in honor of Penn-Del AER’s recognition as the AER Chapter of the Biennium as well as honor the awards and scholarship recipients.

Photo of Terry Kelly
Photo of Kevin O'Conner

Session II – Future-Ready Professionals: Tools to Become the 21st Century Professional

and Penn-Del AER Membership Business Meeting

Thursday April 22, 2021, 9:00–10:30 am EDT

Registration: Click here to register for Session II

Register no later than April 14 if requesting available accommodations.

Session Description:

Now is the time for professionals to embrace 21st Century skills regardless of whether you are teaching students or working with adult clients. How do we attain those skills? Today's address will focus on how we can evolve as professionals to advance our practice to better prepare those on our caseloads. We can become the future-ready professionals needed in today's world!

Presenter Profile

Robbin Clark

Robbin Clark serves as the Expanded Core Curriculum Coordinator for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

She also worked as a vision rehabilitation therapist in the Children’s Services for the State of Connecticut, an early intervention specialist for children with vision impairments and deafblind instructor in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robbin is the Executive Camp Director for Camp Abilities Utah, a one-week developmental sport camp for children with visual impairments. Robbin has been active in the vision impairment community since her youth, working with her mother who has total vision loss.

Robbin writes a blog for children with vision impairments and their families, The Independent Little Bee and runs social media based on the Expanded Core Curriculum titled 9 More Than Core in both Facebook & Instagram. She completed her vision rehabilitation therapist graduate degree at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock.

Photo of presenter Robbin Clark

Penn-Del AER Annual Membership Business Meeting with Penn-Del AER Membership Incentive Drawings

Thursday April 22, 2021, 10:45 am – 12:00 pm EDT

Registration

To register for the Penn-Del AER Annual Membership Business Meeting use the Session II link. Click here to register for Session II

Register no later than April 14 if requesting available accommodations.

Business Meeting Description

Penn-Del AER Annual Membership Business Meeting will occur following the conclusion of Session II. If you are a member, please remain on to hear about the great things the Board has done and plans to do in the future, as well as vote for new Board members. We will have the opportunity to thank those Board members who are rotating off the Board and welcome the new Board members.

Meeting Facilitator

Holly Russell, Penn-Del AER President

Holly Russell is the current president of Penn-Del AER, term 2020-2022. She has a dual certification as a teacher of students with visual impairments and a certified orientation and mobility specialist. Holly is currently employed by the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children as an Outreach Teacher. She has been working in the field for 27 years, and loves working with her students, their families, and their educational staff.

Photo of Penn-Del president Holly Russell

Penn-Del AER Annual Membership Incentive Drawings

Penn-Del AER Membership Committee is excited to announce its Annual Membership Incentives! Current and new members who attend the 2021 Virtual Chapter Conference, April 21-23, 2021 may win the following prizes!

Drawing 1: Four $25 Gift Cards

  • Must be a Penn-Del AER Member; Join/Renew: Membership Applications – AER (aerbvi.org)

  • Must be present at the Virtual Annual Business Meeting on Thursday, April 22nd at 10:30am

  • Names will be drawn randomly during the meeting

  • Gift Card Selection: 2 - Target, 1 - Amazon, and 1 - Michael’s

Drawing 2: 2022 AER International Conference in St. Louis in July 2022 (One Winner)

     Prize includes:

  • Complimentary Early Bird registration fees to the 2022 AER International Conference in St. Louis, MO

  • $500 Travel Expenses, a check will be provided after the event with submission of receipts

If interested in having your name entered in this drawing, please email your name, contact information and AER Membership Number to Ashley Popojas by Wednesday, April 21st, 2021.

  • Participants need to be present at the business meeting to win.

Prize Details

  • Individuals entering the drawing(s) must be current Penn-Del AER members.

  • Winners for Drawing 1, the gift cards, will be pulled and announced during the Virtual Business Meeting.

  • The winner for Drawing 2, will be announced at the end of the Virtual Business Meeting.

  • Winners will also be announced on the Penn-Del AER web site, through e-blasts and on social media.

  • Prizes are non-transferrable.

Not a Penn-Del AER Member?

Join or renew for a chance to win. Join today!

Join/Renew: Membership Applications – AER (aerbvi.org)

Session III – Ask the Doc: An Appointment with Dr. Marla Moon

Thursday April 22, 2021, 1:00–2:30 pm EDT

Registration: Click here to register for Session III

Register no later than April 14 if requesting available accommodations.

Session Description

Bring your burning questions and get an expert’s answers! Practicing Optometrist Dr. Marla Moon returns to the Penn-Del AER Conference to address questions submitted. Registrants will have the opportunity to email questions ahead of time, and she will also field spontaneous questions from the audience attending this general session. Look for an email invitation “blasted” prior to the conference. And she is back by popular demand!

Presenter Profile

Marla Moon, OD, F.A.A.O.

Founding and Principal Partner, Nittany Eye Associates

Dr. Moon is in practice as a principal and founding partner of Nittany Eye Associates in State College. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO now Salus University). Dr. Moon’s practice interests include geriatric, pediatric, patients with special needs, vision and learning issues, and all vision rehabilitative care.

Dr. Moon has been a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA), the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA), and the Mid-Counties Optometric Association for her entire professional career. She served as president of the POA and MCOS and on various POA committees. She served on the Pennsylvania State Board of Optometry, six of those years as chair of the board. Dr. Moon was elected to the National Board of Examiners in Optometry, and currently is serving on the Board's Finance, Judiciary and Examination Committees. She served on the PCO Board of Trustees for six years and is a Fellow of the AAO. She also served on the Penn-Del AER Board of Directors. Dr. Moon is also active in her community.

Dr. Moon was awarded the Dr. W. David Sullins Award by the AOA which recognizes an individual Doctor of Optometry who has made significant contributions to optometry and public service involving the InfantSEE ™ program. Her most notable contribution to the POA has been in the development of the POA’s Kids Welcome Here (sm) pediatric vision care campaign. In addition, her peers named her the “OD of the Year” for both the Mid-Counties Optometric Society and the POA. In 1992, she was recipient of the Penn-Del AER Distinguished Service Award. More recently in 2019, Dr. Moon was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor by the PCO and the Dr. H. Ward Ewalt Meritorious Award by the POA (the organization’s highest award). She is also a fellow in the American Academy of Optometry.

Photo of Dr. Marla Moon

Session IV – Penn-Del AER Awards Event and Virtual Reception

Thursday April 22, 2021, 6:30–8:30 pm EDT

Registration: Click here to register for Session IV

Register no later than April 14 if requesting available accommodations.

Session Detials

Penn-Del AER is proud of its members and service providers and each year we highlight and recognize the professional achievements of outstanding Chapter members and university students who are demonstrating characteristics of becoming outstanding professionals in the field of vision education and rehabilitation.

The Penn-Del AER Virtual Awards Event will recognize and honor the recipients of the highly regarded Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh (Welsh) Service Award and the Elinor Long Educator of the Year (ELEY) Award. The awards recognize and highlight the achievements of deserving Penn-Del AER members and professionals who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to and performance in education and/or rehabilitation of individuals who are visually impaired in Pennsylvania or Delaware.

In addition, the Penn-Del AER Student Scholarship recipient will be recognized. The Student Scholarship is granted to an outstanding university student who is pursuing certification in the field of blindness and visual impairment. The applicant must be a Pennsylvania or Delaware resident and a member of the Penn-Del AER Chapter.

The Virtual Awards Event is an opportunity for the Penn-Del AER Chapter to publicly recognize the contributions of outstanding professionals and to celebrate the work they do and the differences they can make.

The Virtual Awards celebration is open for all AER members and other professionals in the field of vision education or rehabilitation, for the families of the award recipients, their families, and guests.

Plan to attend and help us recognize the accomplishments of our colleagues! The celebration promises to be exciting and inspiring! If you attended last year’s event, you know you are in for a special evening.

Plan to stay on after the Virtual Event to socialize at the Virtual Reception.

Session V – Exhibitor Day

Friday April 23, 2021, 9:00 am–12:00 pm EDT

Session VI – Exhibitor Day Breakout Rooms

Friday April 23, 2021, 1:00 pm–3:00 pm EDT

Registration:

Click here to register for Session V which is the AM session.

Click here to register for Session VI which is the PM session.

Register no later than April 14 if requesting available accommodations.

Session Detials

Students, clients, families, and service providers are encouraged to attend both the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning and afternoon sessions will have separate registration links.

The morning portion will be an informational session with a focus on a broad range of products and resources available for persons with visual impairments. The information will be divided into areas with a focus on features of tactual, visual, and auditory access technologies and/or available resources. Some examples of products and resources include new products and services as well as some that are tried and true technologies, services, and resources.

The afternoon portion will focus on live breakout rooms available to interact directly with individual exhibitors and resource providers. There will be an “ask the consultant” room available to best direct you to address your individual needs, interest areas or just plain technical assistance. There will also be a room available for students, clients and families to interact with one another.

Here are some questions that will be addressed in both the morning and afternoon sessions:

  • Did you ever wonder what you can do to get the most out of an interaction with a vendor/exhibitor?

  • How can I be comfortable with my technology – what training is available?

  • What questions do I ask the vendor to troubleshoot if there is a problem?

  • How to think through the features needed to address your school and work requirements to promote doing more for yourself?

  • What resources can be utilized for my needs?

  • Is there an app for that . . . ?

  • Is a dog guide for me? Am I ready for a dog guide?  What do I need to do or what skills do I need to demonstrate? What does a dog guide do or not do?

  • What impact has the pandemic had on services and supports typically provided?

  • What can I say when asked about a device that I do not use but I know the person is asking for support?

Road sign with text reading,

The Penn-Del AER Virtual Conference

April 21–23, 2021

Taking Charge: Restore, Refresh, Renew

A Three-Day Event on Self-Care and Resilience