Nicole Schuster, 2008 International Award for Benefit to Society winner

The Mensa Foundation has announced that Nicole Schuster has been named the first winner of the International Award for Benefit to Society for her work with autism. Schuster is a 23-year-old autistic woman and Mensa member from Germany who strives to give autistic people a voice and fights for their rights.

As well as a voice, Schuster wants to give autistic people in Germany a way to profit from a better understanding of society. She is familiar with both the autistic and non-autistic world; at the age of 8, she learned to speak and began to interact with her community. She feels that she can serve as a bridge between those who have autism and those who do not and has already written one book on the subject. She also gives lectures to explain to parents how best to understand their children, and she regularly appears on TV and radio shows to discuss autism and its issues.

Schuster was presented the award by Dr. Abbie Salny.