Centennial, Colo — Cochlear Americas has announced the winners of the 9th annual Graeme Clark Scholarship awards. Five students have been selected to each receive up to $8,000 in financial assistance toward a degree at an accredited university, for a total of $40,000 in scholarship funds.

The award is named for Graeme Clark, the inventor of the cochlear implant. The scholarship is given to the company’s Nucleus Cochlear Implant recipients who are academically gifted and committed to leadership and humanity.

"This year’s scholarship winners were selected from an inspirational pool of over 100 applicants from across the US and Canada who have benefited through use of their cochlear implants," said Chris Smith, president, Cochlear Americas, in a press statement. "We would like to congratulate all of the scholarship recipients for their accomplishments and are pleased we can help support them with their academic goals and future dreams."

Each of the scholarship recipients was honored at a recognition ceremony during the company’s Cochlear Celebration, which was held this year in Orlando, Fla on February 20, 2011. The event was reportedly attended by more than 1,200 people.

The scholarship winners for 2011 are:

Mark Burka (Fairfax, Va), a freshman at the University of Virginia who is studying accounting and economics. Burka was president of the National Honor Society as well as a member of his high school band, orchestra, and drumline.

Catherine Egeland (Birmingham, Ala), a freshman at the University of Montevallo studying pre-med. Egeland was recognized in high school for her academic and artistic excellence, and named Youth Volunteer of the Year by the Birmingham YMCA.

Tyler McFarland (Westlake, Ohio), a freshman at Kalamazoo College studying economics and math. In addition to his academic excellence, McFarland is an accomplished swimmer, named to the Southeastern Swimming Hall of Fame and the US Deaf Swimming National Team.

Joseph Pelter (Garden City, NY), a freshman at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC taking exploratory courses. Pelter has a passion for speaking Italian, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 16, and has received recognition for his work with the homeless and disabled.

Christopher Boyer (Boston), a freshman at Cornell University considering a major in English or law. Boyer graduated from high school as a member of the National Honor Society, Latin Club, and track team, while also carrying a 4.1 GPA.

Forty students have received the award since the program’s inception in 2002. To be eligible, students must have a Nucleus Cochlear Implant and be entering their first year of college or enrolled in an accredited university or graduate program. Selection criteria include academic performance, letters of recommendation, awards and activities, and a short personal essay describing academic inspiration and other interests.

SOURCE: Cochlear Americas