Canadian Hearing Society Announces 2018 National Scholarship Recipients

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TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) is making post-secondary education more accessible for 11 full-time students from across the country who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Today CHS announced the 2018 scholarship recipients who represent the largest number of scholarships and the highest value awarded to students in the organization’s 78-year history – a 33% funding increase over last year.

“Canadian students who are Deaf and hard of hearing face many barriers to participation in higher education, with one of the most common barriers being financial,” said Julia Dumanian, President and CEO of the Canadian Hearing Society. “We are proud to support these incredibly bright and motivated students as they pursue their dreams and help create a society that’s free of barriers for those that follow in their footsteps. We are committed to supporting these students and have set an ambitious goal to raise $1.5 million over the next few years to ensure CHS’s scholarship program remains sustainable in the future.”

A committee of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing business leaders and academics reviewed applications from across Canada to determine this year’s scholarship recipients. Winners are chosen based on key criteria, including student essays detailing how a scholarship would transform their futures. New this year, students will be guaranteed full-time scholarships of $3,000 a year for up to 4 years.

“As incoming Chair of the Scholarship Committee I was personally inspired as I reviewed the student applications that we received,” says Committee Chair Diane Gregoris. “It is always a difficult decision. This year we have awarded more money to more students than ever before.  We are keen to follow these students’ academic careers and to support them throughout their education journeys.” 

CHS would like to thank the National Scholarship Committee for participating in the application review process. Special thanks to Dr. Linda Campbell, 2017-2018 Chair; Diane Gregoris, 2018-2019 Chair; Brahm Spilfogel; Jim Kyte; Lynn Lockhart-Menzies; Nigel Howard; Pam Feldman; and Rex Banks.

National Scholarship Program Funders

The 2018 scholarship recipients were announced at the 3rd annual CHS President’s Golf Tournament where all proceeds are directed back to the National Scholarship Fund.

CHS gratefully acknowledges the support of our scholarship funders, the Dr. Wolf Lebovic Charitable Foundation, the Peter Gilgan Charitable Foundation, the John C. and Sally Horsfall Eaton Foundation, the Walker Wood Foundation, and all our corporate partners and participants of the President’s Scholarship Golf Tournament.

Meet the Award Winners

Adedotun Adeyemi from Windsor, ON is studying Computing Exploration at a university in Rochester, NY. He is the only hard of hearing person in his family and says his positive attitude, determination, and perseverance have helped him to become a courageous and mentally strong student. The CHS National Scholarship will help him with tuition costs so he can be strong academically, get a great job, and achieve his goal of being a role model for students who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Alessandra Iacovone from Etobicoke, ON is studying Sociology at a university in Toronto, ON. She is an active community volunteer who is described by her references as gifted, dedicated, and 100 per cent committed to everything she does. She is humbled to be a two-time winner of the CHS National Scholarship. Meeting older Deaf people at a CHS golf event last year opened her eyes to some of the struggles that Deaf people have faced in pursuing an education. This has kept her determined as she heads into her second year at university.

Brittney Trimming from Leduc, AB is studying to become an Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant at a college in Red Deer, AB. Brittney became Deaf at two years old when she contracted meningitis and needs to juggle work and helping at home with pursuing her dream of completing her post-secondary education. The CHS National Scholarship will help her pay for her studies and repairs for her cochlear implants and FM system.

Corinna Den Dekker from London, ON is majoring in Disability Studies at a university in London, ON. Her experience facing barriers at school and in the working world have motivated her to pursue Disability Studies as well as Women’s Studies, because she identifies strongly as a Deaf woman and wants to contribute to both communities. The CHS National Scholarship will help her pay for tuition, books and transportation. She says these opportunities will enrich her learning, allowing her to contribute to the Deaf community by working towards improved access and a better quality of life for all.

Emma Kyte from Carp, ON is studying Human Kinetics at a university in Antigonish, NS. She’s always been proud to show off her hearing aids. One of 5 Deaf family members, the CHS National Scholarship will provide much-needed relief for the whole family, who have 4 Deaf children heading off to university. She’s thrilled to offer relief to her parents and is proud she is to be a part of the CHS community.

Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere from London, ON is in his second year of Nursing at a university in London, ON. He overcomes barriers at school by collaborating 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 the health care setting. The CHS National Scholarship will help to ease the financial burden of post-secondary school for Enrique and allow him to pursue his nursing career dreams.

Jessica Niemela from Vancouver, BC is studying Audiology at a university in Vancouver, BC and juggling her studies with being a mother. When she was young, she tried to hide her hearing loss, but now believes her unique journey of coming to accept her hearing loss has made her who she is today. The CHS National Scholarship will allow her to continue her studies with less financial burden.

Joshua Gomes from Cambridge, ON is studying Engineering at a university in Ottawa, ON. Josh aspires to be the voice of change for accessibility and was interviewed by three media outlets this year about his goal of transforming hearing aid technology. Josh is receiving this award for the second time and says the CHS National Scholarship helped him to raise awareness for young people with hearing loss.

Justine Nguyen from Calgary, AB is majoring in Human Resources at a college in Calgary, AB. She has always had hearing loss and is grateful to her parents for believing that she still had every opportunity available to her. She looks forward to being an advocate in the workplace for Deaf and hard of hearing people when she graduates. The CHS National Scholarship will help her cover tuition expenses and be a positive ambassador for the Deaf community.

Marie-Claire Gagnon from Chicoutimi, QC is pursuing a Youth Intervention Certificate at a university in Chicoutimi, QC. Marie-Claire grew up hearing but lost her hearing in one ear, then the other, at the age of 17. At first, she withdrew and isolated herself, but now she is driven to show the world what a hard of hearing person can do. By enrolling in university, she is allowing herself to participate in the life that she always wanted to have.

Sarah Savoie from Ingersoll, ON is studying at a college in London, ON and 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. The CHS National Scholarship will allow her to extend her post-secondary studies so she can continue to advocate for the Deaf and hard of hearing community.