Canadian Hearing Services Awards Record Number of National Scholarships to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students


On behalf of Canadian Hearing Services (CHS), we are pleased to announce that CHS has awarded a record 21 scholarships to Deaf and hard of hearing post-secondary students for the academic year commencing September 2020. The CHS National Scholarship Program breaks down financial barriers for students who are often excluded from the full academic experience, due to added accessibility costs, and makes it possible for these students to pursue their dream careers. 

“We are incredibly proud to continue to offer these life-changing scholarships. The resilience of these 21 students is evident through their decision to continue pursuing a post-secondary education that will provide them with the foundation to build successful careers while also allowing all Canadians to benefit from their participation in society,” said Julia N. Dumanian, President & CEO of CHS. “As always, we are indebted to our funders for their generous support every year.”

The winners are chosen by an independent committee composed of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing business leaders and academics. To be considered, applicants must meet various criteria such as community service hours earned, letters of reference and an essay detailing how the scholarship will help transform their future. Students who are eligible will be guaranteed full-time scholarships of $3,000 a year for up to four years.

Click to view videos from each of our 2020 scholarship recipients

“Each year, I am amazed by the passion and talent exhibited by our scholarship winners – and this year was no exception,” says Committee Chair, Diane Gregoris. “I am thrilled that we could offer a record number of scholarships this year and I look forward to hearing about the student’s academic successes in the coming months."

CHS would like to thank the National Scholarship Committee for participating in the application review process. Special recognition and thanks to Diane Gregoris, Brahm Spilfogel, Jim Kyte, Lynn Lockhart-Menzies, Nigel Howard, and Rex Banks.

National Scholarship Program Funders
CHS gratefully acknowledges the support of our scholarship funders: the Dr. Wolf Lebovic Charitable Foundation, the Canadian Foundation For Physically Disabled Persons, the Longo's Family Charitable Foundation, the John C. and Sally Horsfall Eaton Foundation, the Walker Wood Foundation, Beutel Goodman Charitable Foundation and all of our individual donors, as well as our Golf Tournament Corporate Partners and participants.


Meet the Award Winners

Addison Ali is from Aurora, ON and is entering the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences program at Guelph University.  The CHS Scholarship will allow her to further her education journey and to pursue post-secondary schooling in the sciences.  She wants to pursue a career in the area of the genetics of hearing loss and help children and families make impactful and self-advocating choices.

Alessandra Iacovone is from Toronto, ON and is in her fourth year of Sociology at Ryerson University.  During her past three years at university, she has learned that students who are Deaf and hard of hearing face unique barriers to education. The CHS National Scholarship will help ease the financial burden of university as she works towards creating a brighter future for herself and becoming a positive role model for others who face barriers.

Brittney Trimming is from Leduc, AB and is enrolled in the Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant program at Red Deer College. Brittney juggles working and helping at home with pursuing her dream of completing her post-secondary education. The CHS National Scholarship will help pay for residence while she is away from home and ease her family’s financial burden.  Brittney hopes to one day work with people with disabilities and be an advocate for the Deaf community by sharing her language and experiences.

Claire Vandesande is from Ottawa, ON and is in her second year of the Bachelor of Science program at Queen’s University.  After developing a hearing loss, she challenged herself to learn new ways to communicate and navigate in a world that had become a constant puzzle.  The CHS National Scholarship will help pay for her studies as she pursues a career as an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor with Doctors Without Borders and World Wide Hearing.  She hopes to advocate for Deaf and hard of hearing communities around the world.

Drew Evans is from Mount Albert, ON and is entering the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Trent University.  The CHS Scholarship will help him overcome the financial barriers to post-secondary education.  Drew loves sports and hopes to one day be the manager of a sports team.

Emma Kyte is from Carp, ON and is studying Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University. One of five Deaf family members, she has three siblings in university so the CHS National Scholarship provides financial support for the whole family.  She is proud to be a part of the Deaf community and hopes to become an audiologist or a specialized teacher and work with students who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere is from London, ON and is entering his fourth year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Western University and Fanshawe College. While he faces challenges in school with hearing loss, he tries to collaborate with teachers and students to get the help he needs. He says a positive attitude and being patient and kind go a long way in a health care setting. The CHS National Scholarship helps to ease the financial burden of post-secondary school and has helped pay for specialized equipment such as an FM system and an amplified stethoscope. He is currently considering specializing in the fields of neurology or cardiovascular medicine.

Erick Sturm is from Mississauga, ON and is entering the second year of the Architecture program at Laurentian University.  Erick has persevered through mainstream classes with the support of one special, understanding teacher who taught Erick to become a strong advocate for himself. Erick’s determination landed him on the honour roll throughout high school.  His goal is to design homes and buildings that are accessible for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Esme Newling is from Fredericton, NB and is entering her third year of her program majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Forensic Science at the University of Toronto. Navigating university has been an enormous adjustment. For Esme, the CHS National Scholarship will be invested in new communication supports, including ASL classes and an interpreter for classes. It will also help ease the overall financial burden of post-secondary education.  Esme is excited to be a pioneer in a field she believes has limited Deaf representation.

Giacomo Volpe is from Montreal, QC and is studying Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Concordia University. The CHS Scholarship will help pay for his tuition fees, books, tutoring and rent and help him reach his goal of becoming a teacher for Deaf children. His motto is “where there’s a will, there’s always a way!”  This positive attitude has helped him overcome barriers at both work and school.

Gregory Carrier is from Edmonton, AB and is entering the first year of the PhD Program in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.  Greg plans to obtain a PhD and become a public historian.  He wants to make Deaf history more accessible to Deaf and hearing people by explaining what deaf and blind people experienced in the Middle Ages, and how medieval hearing people had surprisingly positive views about deaf people and deafness itself.

Jooah Bae is from Nanaimo, BC and is studying Computer Science and Health Information Science at the University of Victoria.  When Jooah was 12, her family immigrated to Canada so she would have more opportunities as someone who is Deaf.  The CHS National Scholarship will lessen the overall financial burden of post-secondary education for her and her family as she enters her first year of post-secondary education.

Joshua Gomes is from Cambridge, ON and is studying Engineering at Carleton University. Josh is currently enjoying his first co-op placement at the university teaching engineering concepts to local students. The CHS National Scholarship has not only helped pay for part of his education, but has been invested in hearing aids, an FM system and assistive living technologies, including a fire alarm system and bed shaker. Josh aspires to be the voice of change for accessibility.  He is proud to be receiving this award for the fourth time.

Justine Nguyen is from Calgary, AB and is majoring in Business Administration and Human Resource Management at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. The CHS National Scholarship will help her pay for her tuition and living expenses, allowing her to focus entirely on her academics. Her future aspirations are to help employers recognize the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Kayla Milewski is from Welland, ON and is entering Veterinary Technician program at Sheridan College.  The CHS Scholarship will offset the additional financial burden the students with disabilities face pursuing post-secondary education.  She plans to open a non-kill pet shelter with all different types of animals including animals who have disabilities.

Marco Chiaramonte is from Vancouver, BC and is a graduate student in the Community Development program at the University of Victoria.  Marco has worked as an Employment Counsellor Team Lead for the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The CHS National Scholarship will allow him to further his education and pursue his goal of working in policy development to improve the lives of people with disabilities at work, at home and in their community.

Marie-Claire Gagnon is from Chicoutimi, QC and is studying Psychology at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. The CHS National Scholarship will help relieve the pressure from having to work while going to school, allowing her to put all her energy into her studies. For Marie-Claire, the scholarship reinforces that there are people who believe in Deaf and hard of hearing students and their ability to fulfill their dreams.

Naomi Robinson is from Sudbury, ON and is entering the Bachelor of Science program at St. Francis Xavier University.  The CHS Scholarship will allow her to complete her post-secondary education in order to become an Environmental Journalist. As a journalist, she hopes to advocate that those who are Deaf or hard of hearing not be left out of the developments that are happening in our world.

Rox-Ann Lambert is from Port Coquitlam, BC and is a mature student finishing her Bachelor of Social Work at Douglas College.  The CHS Scholarship will allow her to work less and focus on finishing her studies.  Rox-Ann has focused on disability supports in the areas of employment and geriatrics. As a long-term care aid, she has repeatedly witnessed the importance of hearing accommodations in the older population. She plans to continue helping to improve the quality of life and provide communication supports for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

Sarah Savoie is from Ingersoll, ON and is studying Human Resources Management at Fanshawe College. Sarah is determined to overcome the barriers to participation that Deaf and hard of hearing people often face. She has always been a strong self-advocate, which is what motivates her to work towards improving accessibility for everyone. This is her second time receiving the CHS National Scholarship, which will allow her to continue her post-secondary studies so she can keep advocating for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

Zachary Sturm is from Mississauga, ON and is enrolled in the Social Service Worker program at Fleming College. Zachary is very active in the Deaf community with VOICE, an organization that advocates and supports families with children who have hearing loss. The CHS National Scholarship will help pay for part of his education and an interpreter. His goal is to become a social worker for children who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

About the Canadian Hearing Services National Scholarship Program Fund
The CHS National Scholarship Program is uniquely inclusive of Deaf and hard of hearing students of all abilities. Winners are chosen based on key criteria, including community service, letters of reference and essays detailing how the scholarship will transform their futures. Scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students, including mature students attending accredited post-secondary institutions inside or outside of Canada. Students that receive funding remain eligible for the same level of funding for up to four years. For more information, visit
About Canadian Hearing Services
Canadian Hearing Services (CHS) is an industry-leading provider of services, products and education that empower people who are Deaf and hard of hearing to overcome barriers to participation. CHS is the largest and only Accredited organization of its kind in North America. CHS services are provided by highly trained professionals with expertise and experience in meeting the needs of its clients in convenient, accessible, and confidential environments. For more information about CHS services, visit or call 1-866-518-0000.