Three AG Bell college scholarship winners participated in the 2018 STEM-HEAR initiative led by Dr. J. Tilak Ratnanather, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
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WASHINGTON, August 10, 2018 – Three AG Bell college scholarship winners participated in the 2018 STEM-HEAR initiative led by Dr. J. Tilak Ratnanather, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The five selected included Rachit Kumar (Georgia Institute of Technology), Anne Rojona Feliciano (University of Miami), Sam Bidwell (Wesleyan University), Yasmeen Alshabasy (Wesleyan University) and Garrett Brown (University of Florida).
The STEM-HEAR initiative is designed to provide deaf and hard of hearing college students pursuing STEM disciplines career development, mentorship, networking opportunities and research experience in some of the most advanced auditory and engineering laboratories in the country. This summer, five outstanding students, including three AG Bell college scholarship winners, worked as interns at Johns Hopkins University schools of Medicine and Engineering laboratories over the summer, conducting their own research and taking advantage of career development opportunities.
“Existing programs for students with hearing loss tend to focus on technical rather than leadership positions in STEM. This skewed model means that the student with hearing loss at a mainstream college has to compete with other underrepresented minorities in order to gain opportunities in STEM. Now – with several people with hearing loss doing research in auditory science and engineering – there is a unique opportunity to change the landscape,” said Dr. Ratnanather.
Dr. Ratnanather has been working with AG Bell since 2000 to bring more deaf and hard of hearing college students into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. To date, 25 AG Bell Scholars have enjoyed internship opportunities. In the near future, Dr. Ratnanather plans to expand this initiative with Dr. Amanda Brown, associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, and with support from the National Institutes of Health. This expansion will mentor underrepresented minority students – including students who are deaf and hard of hearing – throughout the year and provide them with summer research opportunities.
According to Dr. Ratnanather, the STEM-HEAR initiative allows these students not only to understand their own hearing loss but to also help them find suitable careers and ultimately improve the world in which we live.
About the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and live a life without limits. With chapters located in the United States, AG Bell International in Europe and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Working Globally to Ensure That People Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing can Hear and Talk. Visit www.agbell.org.
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