Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Grad Students' Perspective on the 2016 ASHA Convention

The 2016 ASHA Convention was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA from November 17-19. A number of JMU grad students and CSD professors were able to attend among thousands of other attendees in the speech-language pathology and audiology field. Two JMU grad students, Kendall and Leslie, share some insight on how their first experience at the ASHA Convention went as they heard about the latest research in the field and gained knowledge from other professionals over the course of the weekend.

What did you like about the Convention?
Kendall: It was an overall great experience to see how the field is outside of school, but also not in a clinical setting. It was awesome to see what research other professionals are doing.
Leslie: I liked the variety of presentation topics and the freebies! I also liked that I learned more about areas that we just don’t have time to discuss in graduate school.

Did you find it worthwhile?
Kendall: Yes, I learned a lot about our scope of practice and it also helped narrow my interests.
Leslie: The ASHA Convention opened my eyes to the variety of career options for SLPs. The presentations I attended covered a diverse range of topics including: assessing cognition of student athletes pre- and post-concussion, toddlers and technology, and teletherapy outcomes for patients with primary progressive aphasia.

What was your favorite part?
Kendall: My favorite talk was a kinesiology and speech one where they showed us movements that could be used to teach kids speech sounds.
Leslie: My favorite part was spending time with my classmates from JMU and discussing our thoughts on what we learned!

What did you wish you knew prior to going?
Kendall: I wish I knew to wear comfier shoes because the convention hall was huge. I also wish I had picked which talks and posters I wanted to go to ahead of time instead of picking them out on the fly while I was there.
Leslie: I wish I had known just how massive the convention center would be. I learned that when planning out your day, you need to consider how far away one presentation location is from another. Sessions were held in multiple buildings and travel time was limited!

Did it help you decide what topics you’re interested or not interested in?
Kendall: It definitely emphasized that I want to work with children.
Leslie: Yes and no. I think it showed me that I could be happy in just about any setting. Everything was new and interesting!

Would you go again?
Kendall: I can see myself going again when I am a clinician.
Leslie: Yes! The ASHA Convention was a great way to learn about current research topics and therapy trends. It was also a useful networking opportunity and a great reminder about why this field is so important!

Monday, November 7, 2016

NEW CSD Seminar in Spring 2017!

Dr. Christina Kuo is offering CSD 490: Special Studies in Communication Sciences and Disorders this Spring as an elective for CSD students.

This is a 3-credit seminar course, and the topic emphasis will be on intelligibility – the understanding of speech.  This is a topic relevant for both speech and language as well as hearing sciences.  Communication requires that a person produces speech signals that are sufficient for the communication partner to understand.  The underlying mechanisms associated with intelligibility, the theoretical development of a framework for understanding intelligibility, and its clinical relevance will be considered. 

If interested, contact Dr. Kuo (kuocx@jmu.edu).

Friday, October 7, 2016

JMU's Learning Strategies Instruction

Check out this link to learn all about what JMU's Learning Strategies Instruction can help you with!


Learn tips and strategies to promote student success!
Make individual appointments!
Request a presentation for your class or organization!

Take advantage of our campus resources!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Welcome, Dr. Piker!

Happy Fall, CSD Students!

It is a season of change in the valley as the Blue Ridge mountains transform to a sea of warm orange and gold. With this season of change has come new faculty members to enhance our already distinguished/impressive CSD department.Dr. Piker is a new Audiology professor here at James Madison University! While she remains unbeknownst to the undergraduates this semester, the juniors will be seeing her next semester in CSD 318 Aural Rehabilitation.

Originally from Virginia, Dr. Piker is excited to be back in her home state after having the opportunity to experience different areas of the country! She received her Bachelor's degree at William and Mary in linguistics and psychology and then decided to take a year off. In that time, she discovered the option of an Audiology career and decided to take the knowledge she gained and utilize it to learn more about the inner ear and the neurology of the auditory system. Choosing to experience a new place, Dr. Piker moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she attended Vanderbilt for her Doctoral of Audiology.  Her fascination for the vestibular system inspired her to conduct research at Vanderbilt and consequently earn her Ph.D. This was the beginning of her career as a Researcher of Audiology! After receiving her Ph.D., she moved to North Carolina for a position as a researcher and clinician at Duke University.  In this position, she was exposed to teaching as students from University of North Carolina's program came to her clinic for student clinic hours. It was there that she realized her passion for imparting knowledge on the central auditory system to others. This year, Dr. Piker set out to search for a balance between research, clinic, and teaching and she found it at, none other than our very own, James Madison University! Here at JMU, she is the Director of the Vestibular Sciences Lab, a professor for the Au.D. Program, and a professor for the CSD Undergraduates .  Her research consists of analyzing and improving diagnostic assessments for patients who suffer from problems with their equilibrium.

Not only has this year been an exciting one for her professional career, but she was also blessed with a baby girl! She and her family are looking forward to enjoying the mountains and all of the fall festivities offered in the Shenandoah Valley.

We are so excited to have you as part of the faculty at James Madison University, Dr. Piker. Welcome!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Welcome, Dr. Lee!

The temperatures are dropping and the leaves turning gold... Autumn is almost at our doorsteps! Before we welcome the new season, let's first give a warm welcome to Dr. Jaime Lee to the James Madison University CSD department! Her area of specialty is adult neurogenic communication disorders. Her clinical experience is specifically with individuals suffering from strokes and traumatic brain injuries.  Dr. Lee is proof that your first job after graduate school can pave the way for the rest of your career as it was during her Clinical Fellowship Year  that she began working with individuals with cognitive communication deficits. She found it immediately fascinating, challenging, and meaningful which lead her to continue on that same path! 
After her Clinical Fellowship Year at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), she continued on as a staff clinician on the Stroke and Brain Injury units and eventually transitioned into a research position with the Center for Aphasia Research. Dr. Lee completed her PhD at the University of Oregon, where she continued to pursue aphasia research and worked as a Clinical Supervisor in the University Speech-Language Clinic. Here at JMU, Dr. Lee is teaching the graduate level course, Communication Disorders following Traumatic Brain Injury, this semester, and will be instructing another graduate course, Language Disorders in Adults, in the spring, along with the undergraduate lecture, CSD 416 Organic Speech Disorders.  While teaching, Dr. Lee is starting her new research program evaluating treatment techniques for aphasia. Her goal is to add to the evidence-based practices (EBPs) available to clinicians working with individuals with aphasia. As a new professor at James Madison University, she is looking forward to inspiring students to become excellent clinicians in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. Welcome to JMU’s CSD department, Dr. Lee! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Welcome, Dr. Timler!

            With new students, new faculty, and a new Health and Behavioral Studies building, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is excited to kick off a new school year! The undergraduate peer advisors would like to introduce one of our newest faculty members, Dr. Geralyn Timler. At the undergraduate level, she is currently teaching CSD 300 Children’s Language and will be teaching a section of CSD 314 Phonological and Language Disorders in the spring. She is looking forward to the unique opportunity of collaborating with another child language researcher and professor, Dr. Pavelko, for CSD 314. She is also teaching Speech Sound Disorders for the Master’s program and is serving as the new director of JMU’s residential Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program. Her research is focused on social communication disorders and she is looking at how a self-report measure of children’s conversation skills could be used for documenting the effects of social communication interventions.
Dr. Timler attended University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for her undergraduate degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison for her Master’s, and then the University of Washington for her Ph.D. She has since taught at several universities, including Miami of Ohio where she last worked, and has had an extensive career working with children with language disorders. She experienced working in a myriad of settings including an in-patient children’s hospital, an outpatient clinic, a psychiatric hospital, a juvenile hall, and in early intervention with medically fragile kids. Dr. Timler said that she has loved working in different settings over the years, but that her favorite clinical setting was where she was able to be a part of an interdisciplinary team.
At the prospect of coming JMU, Dr. Timler was instantly impressed with JMU’s faculty and shared the excitement of the department moving to a new building. She also appreciated that our clinic had an association with the local public schools. Between JMU’s speech program and the surrounding area suiting her love for hiking, the move to JMU was a perfect fit. She is looking forward to working with such a strong student body and a faculty with diverse interests. We’re so glad to have you, Dr. Timler!

Monday, September 5, 2016


Need help with your resume? 
Want a chance to network with employers? 
An awesome opportunity is coming up that YOU can take advantage of!

Career & Academic Planning is hosting ResumePREP to help students develop their resume and offer a chance to network with participating employers. This program aims to create a relaxed environment for students to meet with employers for a personal 10 minute resume review. Refreshments will be provided!

Tuesday, September 13th

12:00 - 3:00 pm

Madison Union Ballroom (5th floor of Warren Hall, across from Madison Grill)

Participating employers:
Booz Allen Hamilton 
Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP 
Fed Bid, Inc. 
Grant Thornton LLP
JMU Human Resources 
Marriott International 
The Sherwin-Williams Company
TTI Milwaukee/Hoover/Ryobi 
United Way of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County

For questions regarding this event please contact: Laura Hickerson at hickerly@jmu.edu 

Peer Advising Fall 2016

Welcome back, everyone!!! 

CSD Peer Advising is UP AND RUNNING!!

Katie Davies and Andi Sorber are the new peer advisors for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters.

As double dukes, they were just in your undergraduate shoes last year and
are there to guide you through the major and answer ANY questions you may have!

When asked about their positions as the next UG Advisors they replied:

"I'm really excited to be able to help everyone who needs it, I am really knowledgeable about what they are going through and want to help in any way I can!"

"There are no stupid questions! I mean chances are I was wondering the same things as an undergrad CSD student!"

Their office hours and location can be found at the "PEER ADVISORS" tab at the top of the page AND are listed below:

Mondays 1:30-3:00pm (Katie) HBS 1042
Thursdays 1:30-3:00pm (Andi) HBS 1042

Contact them via this email: csdug@jmu.edu and they will get back to you promptly!

PLEASE COME VISIT US! We are here for YOU.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Peer Advising Office Hours

The graduate student advisors will not be advising undergraduates or hosting office hours during finals week. Undergraduate student advising by the graduate students will start up again in the fall. Good luck with finals and have a great summer!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Farewell Dr. Reed

With the end of the school year approaching, Dr. Reed, a speech language pathology professor, is planning to retire after 11 years of teaching at JMU and 45 years of teaching at the college level. Dr. Reed has made her mark on the JMU CSD department through years of teaching courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels; conducting research on children and adolescents with language impairments; and publishing multiple articles and books.

Originally entering college to study music, Dr. Reed’s long and wonderful career in speech language pathology began due to an unexpected turn when she was struggling with some of her music classes. Needing to find a new major, she sought advice from an older student in her sorority who happened to be a speech language pathology major. Dr. Reed met with a professor to learn more about the major, and it turned out to be Laura Lee, a front-runner in the field of speech language pathology. She switched her major and has been dedicated to speech language pathology since. During her junior year of college, she knew she eventually wanted to work at the college level as a clinical supervisor due to the unique opportunity to work with both young children and college students in the same setting.  After graduating with her master’s degree, Dr. Reed spent a few years in clinical practice before beginning to teach. Before the age of 25, she began teaching at the university level, and she continued teaching at 4 different universities across the US and in Australia before landing at JMU.  She contributes her success in the field to wonderful mentors who gave her great opportunities to expand her knowledge.

Dr. Reed says she will miss the people at JMU the most when she retires. Throughout her time at JMU, she has loved seeing the contributions made by fellow faculty members and being a part of the expansion of the undergraduate and PhD programs. While Dr. Reed will be missed at JMU, she is looking forward to the adventure that comes with the next new stage in her life. Dr. Reed’s contributions to the JMU CSD department will not be soon forgotten. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Dr. Ryals

As our CSD seniors are getting ready to graduate and take their next big step in their lives, one of our CSD faculty members is preparing for a big change as well. Dr. Ryals is retiring after 27 years at JMU.
            Dr. Ryals is an audiology professor and Editor-in-Chief of Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society. Dr. Ryals has had a full career that started with an interest in communication during high school. When she started her undergraduate career at East Carolina University, she was originally interested in speech-language pathology, but after learning more about audiology, she decided to change her career path when she entered graduate school at the University of Tennessee. After receiving her Masters degree, she had a busy career working in private practices and ENT offices, owning a private practice of her own, earning her Ph.D. from UVA, working with both the infant and geriatric populations, and eventually coming to JMU to continue her research and explore academia. She considers the highlight of her career to be the year of 1988 when she had her son, she worked with others to convince the government to form the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), and she published a research article on her discovery that birds’ hair cells regenerate and therefore prevent them from going permanently deaf. Her hard work in the field was recognized with the Honors of the Association Award in 2014, the highest award granted by ASHA.
             While at JMU, Dr. Ryals has enjoyed the culture of academic life and working with students who she deemed “excited, interested, and smart.” When asked what advice she would give to students starting out in the field, she stated “If you don’t keep learning, you’ll get bored, and boredom is death to life.” Some other words of wisdom she gave were “don’t be afraid to ask questions” or “be a nerd”. She stressed the importance of colleagues, claiming that they are “critical” to your life, work, and happiness. While Dr. Ryals will be missed at JMU, she will continue to be involved in the field by continuing as Editor-in-Chief of Ear and Hearing, volunteering for ASHA, catching up on reading research, and traveling to conferences. Dr. Ryals’ career is a testament to the success that can be achieved with a passion for learning and a commitment to expanding the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Don't know what to take next fall?

Check out your year's page on the blog and we have written out what the CSD program suggests you take! If you have any questions or want some advice please email the student advisors or go to their office hours! For more information on the student advisors please visit their tab on the blog!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Freshman Open Advising Session

Dr. Pavelko will host an open advising session for Freshman on Monday, April 11 from 1:30-2:30 in HHS 1210. Please come to learn more about classes, the major, and your next 3 years at JMU!

"Suggestion Box" Session

The CSD Department is excited to host an open forum for students to offer suggestions to improve the undergraduate CSD program on Tuesday, April 12 from 2:15-3:15 in HHS 2210. Students are encouraged to attend this session to voice any constructive feedback about the CSD program.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Communication Sciences & Disorders

“Speed Dating”
with Professors

CSD Juniors: Join CSD Faculty on
Tuesday, March 15th at 5 pm in the 1208 HHS for an informal gathering. We will use the speed dating format to initiate conversations between faculty and students with the hope of having some fun!

** Pizza and soda will be provided! **

Sunday, February 28, 2016

VocalID: A Voice Banking Company

As CSD students, we recognize that a person’s ability to communicate is a huge factor in one’s identity and quality of life. For those that are unable to use their own voice to speak, various Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices can be groundbreaking for an individual to express their wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings. With changes in technology and advancing knowledge in Speech Science, the possibilities for AAC devices are continually growing.
 As useful and appreciated as these devices are, they often use the same robotic, computerized voice that may not fit the client’s identity. A company called VocaliD is working to change that. Using principals from Acoustics and Speech Science, VocaliD uses a recording from a client’s production of a vowel and blends it to the voice of a donor to create a unique voice to be used on an AAC device. President and Founder of the company, Rupal Patel, became inspired to create VocaliD after watching a young girl and an older man have a conversation using the same synthetic voice. Recognizing that even people with limited speech have a unique vocal identity, VocaliD hopes to provide each client with a voice that matches their unique personality.
According to Dr. Longerbeam, who is JMU’s professor of the graduate level AAC course, some of the newer AAC devices come with some options to match the voice to at least the gender and possibly the age range of the device user. However, she stated that the choices are still very limited, and the voices are often still robotic and fail to match the unique identity of the client. Dr. Kuo, a professor in the department who specializes in speech science and motor speech disorders, explained that the foundation of Dr. Patel’s work is based on our understanding of the speech mechanism as a source-and-filter system.  By changing the source and filter characteristics, individualized voices and speech sounds can be created. Dr. Kuo continued to express that VocaliD and similar speech banking companies that allow clients to express their feelings to their loved ones in their own, unique voice can be extremely meaningful for both the clients and their families.
The company takes donations of voice from anyone with a computer, microphone, and 3-4 hours to record their voice. Using the Chrome browser from their own computer, a voice donor repeats many sentences that when put together cover all of the sounds that occur in English.

To learn more about the company and to donate your voice, please visit:

The Official VocaliD Website:
TED Talk featuring Rupal Patel, the founder of VocaliD: http://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints
Wall Street Journal article about a client who received a voice from VocaliD: http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-people-who-cant-speak-can-sound-like-themselves-1455592266

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Job Opportunities!

Don't have any plans for the summer?
Not sure if you want to go to graduate school after you graduate?
New job opportunities have been posted under the "Job Opportunity" tab on the blog. We will continue to update the tab as the CSD department receives notification of new opportunities.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

NSSLHA: Diving into CSD

Being involved in campus clubs and organizations is a great way for students to meet people with similar interests and gain leadership and volunteer experience. JMU currently has over 300 student organizations. Many of the clubs offered provide opportunities related to the fields of Speech Pathology and Audiology, including the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSHLA). NSSHLA is a pre-professional organization for any student interested in the study of normal and disordered communication. With over 300 chapters across the country, involvement in NSSLHA can provide networking opportunities and allow students to be informed about updates within the field.
Current president of JMUs chapter of NSSHLA is senior CSD major, Maddy Eskew. Maddy became involved with NSSHLA during her sophomore year and saw it as a great opportunity to gain personal interactions with other CSD students and professors. Along with many possibilities to gain leadership experience, NSSHLA members often have the opportunity to do volunteer work within the department and community. They host fundraisers at places like Chipotle and Bluetique and even have raffles and prizes for students who go to a certain amount of events. The organization also hosts a dinner once every semester to give students and faculty an opportunity to come together, get to know each other, and build connections. NSSHLA holds meetings twice a month and is open to any student interested.
For more information, please visit:
NSSHLA Official Website: http://www.asha.org/nsslha/