April 22, 2012
12-124

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

VSU Graduate Students Present Research at Speech, Language, HearingConvention

VALDOSTA -- During their first semester in the program, students seeking a Master of Education degree from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders take a class on science and research in communication disorders. They also conduct a research project on a topic of interest to them and their field.

“Their grade depends on their poster presentation to the department,” said Dr. Ruth H. Stonestreet, a Valdosta State University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders professor and a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist.

Students with outstanding posters are selected by departmental faculty to apply for the opportunity to present their research at the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s annual convention. This year, 10 of the 16 posters chosen for the state convention were from VSU students and faculty members.

“It’s been that way for the past seven or eight years,” said Stonestreet, referring to the large percentage of VSU students selected to present posters at the state event. “In the past, some of our students have been asked to present on a national level at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention.”

VSU students who presented posters are the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s annual convention were:

• Working under the direction of Dr. Mary Gorham-Rowan, a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a certified speech-language pathologist, Dilshad Kachra and Ashley Fitzpatrick researched the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on blood lactate levels.

• Working under the direction of Karen R. Noll, an instructor/clinical supervisor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a certified speech-language pathologist, Brianna J. Bywater researched the essentials of the productive mentoring relationship.

• Brittany McLeod researched fundamental frequency in average and overweight women.

• Working under the direction of Susan Miller, an instructor/clinical supervisor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a certified speech-language pathologist, Jordan Kay researched the proximity of on-task behavior in autism.

• Working under the direction of Dr. Robert Johnston, a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a certified speech-language pathologist, Lindsey Shiver researched the auditory effects of personal listening devices.

• Working under the direction of Johnston, Erin Russo researched the value of vocal rest in vocal performers.

• Kristen Cheney researched the effects of 5-hour Energy on vocal performance.

• Meg Moulton researched the effects of stress on speech production.

• Working under the direction of Miller, Lois Jackson researched the effects of methods of positive reinforcement in articulation therapy.

With the exception of Bywater and Jackson, who earned their undergraduate degrees at other institutions, all of the students hold Bachelor of Education degrees from Valdosta State’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

In addition to the students, two VSU faculty members, Miller and Mary Consolini, a clinical director/assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a certified audiologist and speech-language pathologist, also collaborated on a poster presentation regarding response to intervention and its impact on speech services and speech-language pathology positions in Georgia.

When asked the importance of students conducting research, Stonestreet said, “Our profession is very evidence-based and research driven. It helps them appreciate and understand why they do certain things in therapy.”

The Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association is a professional association of individuals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human communication disorders that advocates for the professional interest of its members and the individuals they serve and provides a forum for the exchange of professional information and ideas.

To learn more about Valdosta State University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, call (229) 219-1327 or visit www.valdosta.edu/coe/comd/.