Congratulations to the 2009 Graeme Clark Scholarship Winners!

March 31st, 2009 by | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

“I feel like I’m winning an Emmy award,” said Tyler Wagner, one of the Graeme Clark Scholarship winner.  I can totally understand his feeling because I remember the moment when I accepted the Graeme Clark Scholarship two years ago.  It was a moment to celebrate the obstacles that my family and I have overcome, and to give a tremendous gratitude to Graeme Clark who has made an immeasurable difference in my life.  I know that all the other winners felt the same way as they thanked numerous people who made a difference in their lives and spoke about their overcoming obstacles.  Also, Dr. Peters, a cochlear implant surgeon from Texas, made some great statements that I could not agree with more.  He said that when he first started implanting children in the late 80′s and early 90′s, he and other physicians were unsure of their outcomes, including social cognition, their language, and their ability to hear and to speak, as they grow up and when they become adults because they were growing up with the technology.  He explained that it’s very different for children to receive cochlear implants than adults because adults’ brains were already wired to hear as they grew up with hearing, whereas the brains of prelingually deaf children had to learn to be wired to hear, but with a cochlear implant.  Dr. Peters said that seeing deaf children who received cochlear implants at a young age in the late 80′s and early 90′s and who are now adults, including the Graeme Clark Scholarship winners, he can attest that the outcomes have surpassed their expectations, and they can thrive and lead a rich life.  His comments were so true because when my parents first went to NYU in 1989 to learn about cochlear implants, they were told by their physicians that all they could guarantee was that I would be able to hear environmental sounds.  In those days, my parents and the physicians had absolutely no idea what to expect for me as a cochlear implant user.  They didn’t even know if I would at least able able to learn to hear and speak English.  They just chose to get a cochlear implant so that I could at least hear environmental sounds.  However, the technology has been far beyond a miracle for all of us.  Many of these adults who grew up with cochlear implants not only went on to learn to hear and to speak, but also to achieve many incredible things.

Click here to view the biography about each of the winners.


March 31, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Rachel as always you are amazing! Thanks for sharing pictures and thoughts about the Cochlear Celebration. It is really a one of a kind event, and one that we look forward to all year long. All of us at Cochlear find it so motivating to meet so many of our recipients – it reminds us why we do what we do. It is moving and inspiring to see how our technology impacts lives so profoundly! When we gave out the Scholarship awards on Sunday I couldn’t help but remember when you recieved yours just two years earlier.

April 2, 2009 at 2:03 am

[...] POISED FOR GREATNESS (Graeme Clark Scholarship Winners) [...]

Abby Brimhall

April 2, 2009 at 4:21 am

Thank you for sharing this since I missed the conference. What you have shared is so true!! I have exceeded my parents’ and my professionals’ expectation. Cochlear implant technology is truly a miracle for me and for all CI users. I honestly don’t know what I would do with my life without it and especially the amazing inventor, Graeme Clarke. He’s a wonderful and humble man. Again, thanks for sharing this and it definitely brought back memories as a Graeme Clark scholarship winner two years ago and the memorable time I spent getting to know you and the other winners.