AES Press Release

AES Announces Educational Foundation Awards for 2016

For Release: October 5, 2016

The Educational Foundation of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) has announced the recipients of the 2016 AES Educational Grants for Graduate Studies in Audio Engineering. The announcement was made by Don Puluse, President of the AES Educational Foundation (AESEF), on behalf of the foundation’s Board of Directors.

This year’s Harman Scholars are Sina Hafezi and David Moffat. Mr. Hafezi receives a renewal grant for his PhD studies in Speech and Audio Processing from the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at Imperial College London. He has undergraduate and MS degrees from Queen Mary University. David Moffat is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. His previous degrees are a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Edinburg, and an MSc in Digital Music Processing from Queen Mary.  Next year he is the International Chair for the Europe and International Regions of the Student Delegate Assembly. Harman International Industries has committed to offering two scholarships annually to encourage excellence in audio.

The Bruce Swedien Scholarship is a renewal grant awarded to Natasha Branch. Natasha will pursue an MFA in Recording Arts and Technologies from MTSU. She has a BM in Composition from Cameron University. This scholarship aids young recording engineers who believe in putting “Music First!” to quote Swedien’s mantra. For more information, visit

The Emil Torick Scholar distinction is offered to Juan Simon Calle, a graduate student at NYU in Performing Arts and Technology. Juan has a BS in Audio Visual Communication at the Universidad Medellin, Columbia. The Emil Torick Award honors former AES Foundation President and founding member Emil Torick, and is awarded to an outstanding student with exceptional career goals.

The John Eargle Award is granted to Jonathan Kaspy. It is a renewal award. Jonathan seeks an MM in Sound Recording from McGill University. He has a BM from Humber College and attended Vanier College and the Banff Center. The John Eargle Award is given annually to a student who excels in both technology and music.

The Don and Fran Pearson Award goes to Ross Hammond, a graduate student at the University of Derby, UK, for an MSc in Audio Engineering. His BSc is in Sound, Light and Live Event Technology, also from Derby. Don Pearson was a system engineer for the Grateful Dead, a consultant for several audio manufacturers as well as Meyer Sound Labs. This grant will support a student interested in audio research with a focus on live sound, music and innovation.

Spencer Shafter receives a renewal grant and is this year’s Larry Estrin Scholarship recipient. Spencer will earn an MM in Music Technology and Performing Arts at NYU; he also holds a BM in Music Technology from the Steinhardt School at NYU. Larry Estrin was Director and CEO of Filmways Audio Group, founder of Best Audio and responsible for the Production of live production in 50 countries (Academy Awards, GRAMMYs, Olympics, etc.). This grant is offered to students with a demonstrated commitment to Audio Engineering in the Broadcast Industry. Press announcement may be found at

Advancing Audio -Tom Kite Scholarship is awarded to Ana Djordjevic, a PhD candidate in EE from Nis, Serbia; her previous degrees are also from Nis. Ana has authored and presented ten papers at national and international conferences and spent one year as an exchange student at Norwegian University of Science and Technologies. She also won acceptance to an R&D Team at Cisco, Norway.
This award from Audio Precision honors the work of former Vice President of Engineering, Tom Kite, and is offered annually to graduate students in the field of audio engineering with a passion for advancing audio through innovation and technology development. Press announcement may be found at

Jose Ernesto Valenzuela Arena, receives a renewal grant towards a Masters in Music Technology at NYU. He holds a Mechanical-Electrical Engineering degree from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. Jack Kelly Mr. Kelly, a renewal recipient, will earn a PhD in Sound Recording from McGill University. He has a BFA in Electroacoustic studies at Concordia University, and a Masters from McGill. 

Jennifer Nulsen is a graduate student at McGill University, studying towards a Masters in Sound Recording. She has a BM in Music Production and Technology from the Hartt School, University of Hartford, and studied at the Banff Center. Jennifer served as Associate Audio Engineer at Tanglewood, and is AES student Vice-Chair at McGill.

The AES Educational Foundation was established in 1984 to encourage talented students to enter the profession of audio engineering. Grants for graduate studies with emphasis on audio topics are awarded annually. Recipients are selected on the basis of demonstrated talent, achievements, goals and recommendations. Since its inception, the AESEF has presented awards totaling over several hundred thousand dollars. Grants have been made possible by contributions from AES, Inc., Audio Precision, HARMAN International Industries Inc., JBL Inc., the estate of John K. Hilliard, the Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio, the families of John Eargle, David Smith and Emil Torick, and the family and friends of Bruce Swedien, Don and Fran Pearson and Larry Estrin. 

The AES also receives support from other benefactors such as in-memoriam donors, and individuals and companies that support education in audio. Application forms and additional information are available from the Audio Engineering Society, 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 1225, New York, NY 10176, USA, or on its web site:

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