News and updates News release

RTOERO awards $60,000 in scholarships to invest in the future of students and our communities

To invest in a better future for our communities, RTOERO has awarded scholarships valued at $3,000 each to 20 post-secondary students. The scholarships will help the students to pursue goals that support well-being, from geriatric medicine, to nursing, to public health, to age-friendly technology. RTOERO includes retirees and active employees from the broader education community, and has a mission to improve the lives of members and seniors.

“The scholarship program is an excellent way to further that strategic goal. Together, this year’s recipients have the passion and curiosity to make a huge impact on the health of our people and places,” says Rich Prophet, chair, RTOERO board of directors.

The awards go to university or college students enrolled in programs leading to careers that support RTOERO’s mission. RTOERO members are encouraged to recommend students for the scholarships. Over the past 21 years, RTOERO has awarded scholarships totalling over $500,000.

The full list of the 2021 scholarship recipients:

Recipient Pursuing Interest
Abimbola Akomah North Bay, ON
Nominated from District 11 Waterloo Region
MScN – Nursing, Laurentian University Has a thesis focus on what needs to be done to prevent or reduce falls in long-term care, providing Ontario-specific research.
Danielle D’Amico Toronto, ON
Nominated fromDistrict 16 Toronto
PhD – Psychology, Ryerson University Her research aims to determine if adherence to healthy lifestyle behaviours (diet, physical activity, social engagement, mindful self-care) can minimize the association between chronic stress and poor cognitive health among older adults.
Nicholas DietrichEtobicoke, ON
Nominated from District 16 Toronto
BHSc – Health Sciences, McMaster University Plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in geriatric medicine. He wants to focus on identifying factors that contribute to successful aging, physical functions and social interactions.
Maeve Dixon Ottawa, ON
Nominated from District 20 Frontenac Lennox & Addington
BHSc (Honours) – Health Sciences, University of Ottawa Wants to go into medicine and focus on geriatric oncology and neurology. These are two fields in need of specialists who can adapt treatment plans and approaches to the unique needs of seniors.
Emily FrenchElgin, ON
Nominated from District 30 Northumberland
BSc (Honours) – Kinesiology, Redeemer University Goal is to become a physiotherapist in a nursing home or long-term care residence. Improving physical can also improve mental health and overall quality of life.
Kathleen Gould Severn, ON
Nominated from District 34 York Region
BScN – Nursing, Trent University Completing a placement in complex continuing care. Future goals include helping older patients to retain dignity as they age.
Jessica Holland London, ON
Nominated from District 11 Waterloo Region
MSc OT – Occupational Therapy, Western University Hopes to use occupational therapy skills to help seniors age in place. People can live more fulfilling lives by adapting both their spaces and how they do tasks.
Devon Jahnke Sudbury, ON
Nominated from District 10 Bruce Grey Dufferin
MA – Clinical Science and Wound Healing, Western University Serves as a chiropodist at the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care, Health Sciences North in Sudbury. Certified diabetes educator. Goals are to prevent serious health risks, alleviate personal pain, and save limbs and even lives.
Elaine Klim Beamsville, ON
Nominated from District 14 Niagara
BScN – Nursing Bridging Program, McMaster University Working on a medical unit at St. Catharines Hospital on the front lines of the pandemic, including caring for seniors from the community and those transferred from LTC homes. Upon becoming a RN, hopes to continue working with seniors in hospital and LTC settings.
Matthew Malandruccolo LaSalle, ON
Nominated from District 7 Windsor-Essex
BScN – Nursing, St. Clair College Through community nursing, hopes to help people continue to live and receive care in their own home.
Allan MiddletonSault Ste. Marie, ON
Nominated from District 3 Algoma
MD – Medicine, Northern Ontario School of Medicine He hopes to go into family medicine in his home town of Sault Ste. Marie, helping to fill a local doctor shortage and improve preventative care and chronic disease management.
Daniel Picard LaSalle, ON
Nominated from District 7 Windsor-Essex
MD – Medicine, University of Ottawa Plans to go into family medicine, and practice with a holistic and preventative care lens.
Laurel Pierroz-WongToronto, ON
Nominated from District 23 North York
BASc – Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo Wants a career focus on water systems technology, to help ensure safe, accessible, regenerative sources of clean drinking water.
Leah Ritacco Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Nominated from District 3 Algoma
BSc – Kinesiology, Lake Superior State University Plans a career as a family physician, and wishes to investigate how different diseases may affect other facets of health in seniors.
Teagan Rolf von den BaumenOakville, ON
Nominated from District 35 Dryden
PharmD – Doctorate of Pharmacy, University of Toronto Plans to pursue a hospital pharmacy residency, gaining further expertise in the management of complex health conditions.
Margaret RussellPort Perry, ON
Nominated from District 30 Northumberland
BScN – Nursing, McMaster University Wants to work in a post-operative surgical unit and in the ICU, followed by work as a palliative care nurse.
Robin StanleyOttawa, ON
Nominated from District 50 Atlantic
BScN – Nursing, Dalhousie University Has a passion for mental health, and builds her practice on a foundation of equitable care, patient advocacy, empathy and compassion.
Jamie Struthers Owen Sound, ON
Nominated from District 10 Bruce Grey Dufferin
PharmD – Doctorate of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo Passionate about the health of seniors, who require the most pharmacy support. Did a co-op with a geriatric pharmacist, and wrote a journal article on elder abuse.
Austin TeshubaWindsor, ON
Nominated from District 7 Windsor-Essex
BEngSc – Software Engineering, Western University Goal is to reform the internet by creating inclusive digital spaces and age-friendly software for seniors.
Avery Toepell Toronto, ON
Nominated from District 22 Etobicoke and York
MPEd – Applied Behavioural Analysis, University of Waterloo Plans to pursue project management in the public health sector. Has studied aging and geriatrics, to gain knowledge about health care and quality of life for this segment of the population.


RTOERO is a bilingual trusted voice on healthy, active living in the retirement journey for the broader education community. With 81,000+ members in 51 districts across Canada, RTOERO is the largest national provider of non-profit group health benefits for education retirees. It welcomes members who work in or are retired from the early years, schools and school boards, post-secondary and any other capacity in education.

RTOERO media contact:

Sylvia Link, Director of Marketing and Communications, [email protected], 416-209-1249 (cell)