AES Announces Educational Foundation Awards for 2016

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Larry Estrin was Director and CEO of Filmways Audio Group.

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.

Harman International Industries has committed to offering two scholarships annually to encourage excellence in audio. This year’s Harman Scholars are Sina Hafezi and David Moffat. Hafezi receives a renewal grant for his Ph.D. 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. Moffat is a Ph.D. 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, Moffat will serve as the International Chair for the Europe and International Regions of the Student Delegate Assembly.  

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

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 Emil Torick Scholar distinction is offered to Juan Simon Calle, a graduate student at NYU in Performing Arts and Technology. Calle has a Bachelor of Science degree in Audio Visual Communication from the Universidad Medellin, Columbia.

The John Eargle Award is given annually to a student who excels in both technology and music. The John Eargle Award is granted to Jonathan Kaspy, and is a renewal award. Raspy 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 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. Shafter 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. Estrin was Director and CEO of Filmways Audio Group, founder of Best Audio and responsible for the production of live events in 50 countries, including the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Olympics, and more. This grant is offered to students with a demonstrated commitment to audio engineering in the broadcast industry.

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Tom Kite, former Vice President of Engineering at Audio Precision.

The Advancing Audio—Tom Kite Scholarship is awarded to Ana Djordjevic, a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering from Nis, Serbia; her previous degrees are also from Nis. Djordjevic has authored and presented 10 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 in 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.  

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, a renewal recipient, will earn a Ph.D. in Sound Recording from McGill University. He has a BFA in Electroacoustic Studies at Concordia University, and a Master’s degree from McGill.   

Jennifer Nulsen is a graduate student at McGill University, studying toward a Master’s 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. Nulsen 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. For more information, visit

For information about the Bruce Swedien Scholarship, go to