This year ASHA’s annual convention in Denver held over 14,000 SLPs and audiologists, as well as many JMU CSD faculty and a few graduate students. One graduate student who had the honor of attending the conference this year, Lauren Maher, is a first year speech-language pathology Masters student and Double Duke. Lauren flew to Denver to hear presentations, meet other professionals in the field, and present her research, Quality of Life Indices in Brain Injury: A Pilot Investigation. She first got involved in research during her time in the JMU Honors Program, which requires all students to complete a thesis project. For her thesis, she worked with Dr. O’Donoghue on creating an analog scale for people who have sustained a brain injury so that they could self-report their quality of life. Her research has brought her to two conferences, got her a paid ticket and hotel room in Denver for ASHA, and most importantly provided her with knowledge and experiences that will aid her in her future career as an SLP. When asked what advice she’d give to undergrads she exclaimed, “Always be involved with research!! Research puts you in a position to apply knowledge and make a difference in your field.”
The clinical aspects of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology are possible through the work done in research studies. Being familiar with evidence-based practices and being able to implement them when seeing clients are foundational professional skills. Our field is continually working to expand the knowledge professionals have of communication, and there is a constant need for more research to be done. The faculty of the JMU CSD department is involved in many research studies that have impacted the field as a whole. Being involved in research as a student can allow you to develop a depth of knowledge into a specific aspect of the field, as well as give you the opportunity to work closely with a professor who is knowledgeable in the area. If you are interested in being involved in research, contact a professor who does research that interests you to see if they need any extra help in their lab. You could also consider joining the Honor’s Program if your schedule allows.
For more information on the research that is done through the JMU CSD department, please visit:http://www.csd.jmu.edu/researchlabs.html