Faculty Members, Student Group to Receive National Speech-Language Pathology Awards

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Professors Michael Crary and Jennifer Kent-Walsh and the 2015-16 UCF NSSLHA members

UCF will be well-represented at this week’s awards ceremony of the 2016 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Philadelphia.

Two leading scholars and a student organization from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will receive top awards Nov. 18.

Professor Michael Crary will receive ASHA’s most prestigious award, Honors of the Association, for lifetime achievement and excellence. Crary has enriched the profession through his contributions in childhood apraxia of speech and adult dysphagia, mentoring of students from diverse backgrounds, and innovative and interdisciplinary clinical practice.

Professor Jennifer Kent-Walsh will receive ASHA’s second highest honor, Fellowship of the Association, which is awarded to scholars whose contributions are cornerstones of the professions. She is an accomplished researcher in augmentative and alternative communication, and she established and directs the FAAST Atlantic Region Assistive Technology Demonstration Center at UCF, which has served thousands of clients since opening in 2005.

As a result UCF will have two ASHA honorees and 11 fellows, collectively one of the largest, if not the largest, number of ASHA awardees on a single campus.

The UCF Chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association also will be recognized. UCF NSSLHA is one of just 20 chapters out of 319 nationwide to earn Gold Chapter Honors in 2016. To earn gold-level honors, a chapter must raise funds for the NSSLHA Loves campaign, publicly advocate for the field, host at least one career awareness day, and be very active in the community though volunteering.

In addition, two relatively new members of the department are receiving recognition for their research.
Assistant Professor Joshua Troche’s research poster presentation for the meeting, “Eye Tracking & Pupillometry as a Means to Determine the Validity of the Multidimensional Semantic Space,” is designated a Meritorious Poster Submission by ASHA.

And Assistant Professor Jackie Towson will receive a $10,000 New Investigator Research Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation on Nov. 18 for her project titled “The Impact of Virtual Simulation on the Interprofessional Communication Skills of Speech-Language Pathology Students.”

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders has 30 full-time faculty members. Nearly 1,000 students are enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The department’s main office, faculty offices and teaching laboratory are located in Health and Public Affairs II. The department’s Communication Disorders Clinic and the FAAST ARDC are located in the Central Florida Research Park.

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