How we’re gifting this Christmas (with a little help from our friends)

Here at Sonocent, we finish each year with a $10,000 donation to charitable causes. And what a year it’s been!

We hope you’ve been keeping safe and well in these uncertain and challenging times. And though the pandemic is still with us, we hope you’re set for a restful and happy Holiday season, too.

Given the year we’ve all had, we decided to let a few of our customers choose where our $10,000 goes this time round.

So, we gave 4 fantastic departments that have brought us joy in 2020 an award of $2,000 to either donate to an educational charity or establish a one-off student scholarship.

First, here’s a quick introduction to the charities we’re supporting this year…

Our chosen charities

The Covid crisis has exposed real divides in access to education, divisions that have had significant consequences for learners across the world

All of these organizations are doing amazing work to broaden access to education in the US and here in the UK. As such, Sonocent will be making a separate donation to each of them.

  • Say Yes to Education – a North American charity that provides scholarships to underserved communities to improve access to Higher Education.
  • SHINE – a UK charity that supports schools in the North of England (where Sonocent is based) to help improve grades and therefore students’ choices after K-12.
  • TheirWorld – a worldwide charity that provides tools and training to support ‘lifelong learning’ from pre-school to the workplace. 
  • ComputerAid – a worldwide charity that provides technology and equipment to schools in developing countries. 
  • Voice21 – a UK charity that trains teachers on how to embed oracy skills in the classroom to help develop students’ speaking and listening.

A one-off student scholarship

Nominees can also choose to establish a student scholarship or donate directly to non-profits on their campuses. 

We know just what kind of difference a $2,000 award could make for a student that needs a little help, so we were very pleased to be able to offer this option to our nominees.

Introducing our nominees

Patrice Wheeler, CSUN

Our first award of the Holidays goes to CSUN & Patrice Wheeler.

Patrice’s department at CSUN were early adopters of Glean, trialling the software way back in Fall 2019 as the tool made its first appearance on US campuses. 

Since then, Patrice has been a regular contributor to the Note Taking Support Network (our community of disability support professionals) and has contributed to Sonocent’s live chats and webinars.

She’s been instrumental in helping her students navigate remote learning and all the challenges the pandemic has brought, encouraging a greater use of technology to overcome these obstacles. She’s also helped us shape Glean student workshops and contributed several pieces of content we’ve published this year. Thanks, Patrice!

Technology played a huge role in staying connected as well as presenting challenges with student access. But these challenges have also been opportunities to find strategies and solutions that have benefits beyond 2020 and the current restrictions’ – Patrice

We’re very excited about receiving the Sonocent/Glean scholarship! ‘Changing the World for People with Disabilities’ is on the entry of our office at CSUN. This scholarship will enable a CSUN student to be a part of changing the world for the better.’


Twon Madison & Kerri Cauldwell, Missouri State

Twon Madison works as a Grad Assistant in Missouri State’s Disability Resource Center alongside Access Assistant Kerri Cauldwell. 

Being both a support professional and a student, Twon puts his money where his mouth is with new tech. Since launching Glean at Missouri State, Twon’s been using it himself in his Grad classes, observing its effects on the learning and note taking process.

Twon and Kerri have helped strengthen connections between students and the disability resource office during the pandemic. But they’ve also created more pathways for students to access support by collaborating with other departments and institutions. 

In place of a scholarship, Kerri and Twon have chosen to donate the money to Missouri State’s Delta Alpha Pi honor society

Kim Saccio-Kent, Skyline College

Skyline College is one of many community colleges adopting Glean in the past year, with its disability resource center now serving 25 students through the tool.

Kim and Skyline’s Glean journey officially started in September after a successful free trial period. Glean is now an important part of their plan to replace the provided notes model and encourage independence for all learners. 

Along the way, Kim has also helped us improve the accessibility of our content – a big thanks from us for that!

Kim is a big advocate of UDL and using technology to ‘build a community that serves the needs of every learner’.

Lindsay Greene, MMMC

Lindsay has recently been combining her role as Assistant Director at MMMC with her studies as a Grad student. She’s been researching how students with disabilities are affected by the pandemic, both in the classroom and the wider world.

Lindsay’s approach emphasizes the importance of the ‘whole person’ as opposed to someone’s narrow identification as a student. Students must be prepared to meet the challenges that await them outside the classroom, Lindsay argues, and disability services have a crucial role in preparing them for this.

As such, student independence is a key driver for Lindsay and her department.

‘2020 has been a challenging year for all with a lot of adapting in the education world, especially for students with disabilities. I am pleased to assist Sonocent in donating to ‘Say Yes to Education’, a charity that aligns with my institution’s mission that will give back to underserved communities to ensure access to education.’


A big thank you from all of us

Three new scholarships and a donation to a fantastic charity… not a bad way to end 2020! We’re very excited to see the difference these awards will make to students.

In addition to our wonderful nominees, we want to thank everyone who worked with us over the course of this year.

It’s been a time like no other, but you’ve inspired us with the effort you’ve made to stay connected and support students despite the restrictions Covid-19 has imposed on us.

We’ve missed meeting you at conferences and on campuses this year. But we’re looking forward to seeing you again when we can talk of Covid-19 in the past tense.

From all of us here at Sonocent – we wish you a peaceful Holidays and a happy New Year!

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