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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

South Carolina Speech-Language Pathology Students Win National Awards

Two students from the department of communication sciences and disorders (COMD) in the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health have been named recipients of the 2015 Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Ms. Sheida Abdi and Ms. Stacey Sangtian, both students in the Master of Speech-Pathology program, were two of only 11 awardees chosen from applicants across the United States.

[Photo: Ms. Sheida Abdi (left) and Ms. Stacey Sangtian]

This award program is part of ASHA’s effort to increase research commitment by fostering students’ interest in the pursuit of earning a doctoral degree and pursuing a career in academia. As recipients, Abdi and Sangtian will each receive a $1,000 stipend to support mentored teaching and research activities.

Ms. Abdi plans to work as a speech-language pathologist for a few years before continuing her education in communication sciences and disorders. She will use her stipend to fund her travel to ASHA’s annual conference this fall in Denver.

Ms. Sangtian will also gain experience in a clinical setting as a speech-language pathologist prior to returning to academia to pursue a doctoral degree. Her stipend will go toward lab supplies for her master’s thesis project and travel to the Society for Neuroscience annual conference in Chicago where she will present a research poster.

A requirement of the award program and a necessity for any aspiring scholar, mentors have played an important role in these students’ educational development so far. “Dr. Roozbeh Behroozmand has been supportive and encouraging of my research and academic goals since I started the program,” Ms. Sangtian says. “He has allowed me the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of research — from conception of a new project to the writing of the final manuscript.”

Dr. Suzanne Adlof has been a critical part of Ms. Abdi’s progress as well. “Dr. Adlof has provided me with invaluable knowledge and support as an educator and researcher,” she says. Ms. Abdi and Ms. Sangtian are appreciative of the support they receive from COMD as a whole. “I am grateful to Dr. Krystal Werfel for helping me with the preparation of the award application and to the department for their support of students pursuing outside funding opportunities,” Ms. Sangtian says.

Advocating for students is a consistent theme throughout the department and is especially important to chair Dr. Kenn Apel, who leads by example. “This particular award has the potential for marking a milestone in the lives of these students,” he says. “With this award, they not only will be able to complete their research projects, they also may be swayed into pursuing additional research experiences and even pursuing a doctoral degree.”

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