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Cochlear Implant Pioneer Graeme Clark Awards Three Scholarships at 'Cochlear Celebration'

More than 1200 Cochlear Implant Recipients and Family Members Attended Event Celebrating the History and Future of Cochlear Implant Technology

Denver, Colorado-February 21, 2006-Cochlear Americas today announced the recipients of the fourth annual Graeme Clark Cochlear Scholarship, awarded this weekend at the first Cochlear Celebration in Orlando, Florida. The Celebration, attended by more than 1200, was hosted by Cochlear Americas to provide Nucleus cochlear implant recipients and their families the opportunity to learn and network in a fun and enchanting environment.

The Graeme Clark Cochlear Scholarship Foundation recognizes the remarkable achievements of Nucleus cochlear implant recipients annually by providing tuition assistance. This year's winners are:

  • Mooena Das (Bethesda, MD), a first year student at Wellesley College. Mooena wore hearing aids until she received a Nucleus cochlear implant when she was13 years old.
  • Mark Leekoff (Annadale, VA), a second year student at Tufts University, majoring in Biology. Deaf since birth, Mark received his Nucleus cochlear implant in 1989.
  • Kaitlyn Mielke (Eagle, ID), a freshman at California State University, Northridge, majoring in Journalism and Deaf Studies. Kaitlyn has been a Nucleus cochlear implant user since 1991.

The scholarships were presented by Professor Graeme Clark, and Former Miss America Heather Whitestone McCallum, a Nucleus recipient and chair of the Graeme Clark Cochlear Scholarship Foundation, to "kick-off" to the Cochlear Celebration. Whitestone McCallum also spent time with the children in attendance sharing her personal journey and encouraging children to follow their dreams and work towards goals.

"Bringing Nucleus cochlear implant recipients together, recognizing outstanding accomplishments, and sharing inspirational stories nurtures the growing cochlear community," said Chris Smith, President of Cochlear Americas. "We are devoted to providing educational resources and supporting this unique community."

The Celebration took place from February 16-18 at Walt Disney World and featured educational sessions for cochlear implant wearers and their families. Tom Westman, winner of "Survivor: Palau," spoke to attendees about his nine year old daughter who lost her hearing as an 18 month old and received a Nucleus implant at age two. Tom credits his daughter with teaching him the skills to survive and outlast the competition on Survivor.

Additionally, Professor Clark and Jim Patrick, pioneers of cochlear implant technology, discussed their journey of creating the first multi-channel cochlear implant. Other presentations highlighted such topics as bilateral implantation, how children and parents can obtain the best results from cochlear implants in a classroom setting and what's ahead for cochlear implant technology.

About the Graeme Clark Cochlear Scholarship Foundation

The Foundation was established in 2002 in honor of Professor Graeme Clark, Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne, for his lifelong commitment to finding a solution for the hearing impaired and his pioneering work in the field of cochlear implant technology. Professor Clark invented the world's first multi-channel cochlear implant over 20 years ago. Awarded by Cochlear, this scholarship consists of financial assistance towards a college degree at an accredited university. The award, which will be presented to three students annually, is paid in yearly installments upon the completion of each year of study. Each award is in the amount of $3,000 per year for a total of four years. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to the Cochlear ideals of leadership and humanity.

About Cochlear Americas

Since launching the world's first cochlear implant system more than 20 years ago and adding the Baha system to its product offerings in 2005, Cochlear Limited and its US headquarters, Cochlear Americas, have brought the miracle of sound to more than 90,000 hearing-impaired individuals across the globe. Cochlear's state-of-the-art technologies, based on extensive research and development at preeminent academic institutions, enhance the ability to hear sound and understand speech - improving both learning potential and quality of life for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlear's promise "Hear Now. And Always." reflects its dedication to durability and service. 

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