Categorized | Features

Wooster grads impress at symposium

Robyn Newcomb
Features Editor

The growing strength of Wooster’s Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) department was reflected by the presentation of nine recent College of Wooster graduates’ Independent Studies at the Alexander Graham Bell Listening and Spoken Language Symposium this summer.

These nine Wooster alumni comprised more than half of the 15 accepted submissions at the symposium’s poster sessions, and they stood alongside experienced professionals in the communication sciences and disorders field.

The symposium, held every other year in Washington, D.C., is a professional conference designed to help families, healthcare providers and education professionals understand hearing loss and work towards equality for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. More than 400 people attended the conference, traveling from across the United States and from 12 different countries to see presentations of current research on listening and spoken language.

Wooster’s nine presenters — Matt Ehrenburg ’16, Logan Honea ’16, Marissa Kobylas ’16, Kelsey Large ’16, Moira McShane ’16, Zack Moore ’16, Frayne Poeting ’16, Lena Smith ’16 and Bridget Slone ’17 — exhibited research on a diverse array of topics. These topics include hearing assistive technology at theme parks, the integration of music therapy and hearing aids and the experience of Hispanic children with cochlear implants.

The number of presenters coming from the College and the quality of their research painted an extremely favorable impression of the College for those who attended the symposium, impressing indivuals in the professional field.

“I was shocked […] to see that type of research from undergrads,” said Ellen Thomas, a senior speech-language pathologist at the University of Michigan’s Department of Otolaryngology who attended the conference. Thomas expressed how impressive the showing was by saying that the posters “are usually from professionals in the field: people with master’s degrees or beyond. There were nine by Wooster undergrads, and they were good.”

The apparent professional strength of Wooster CSD graduates was reinforced by the fact that several of the same graduates also presented at the Early Hearing Detection & Intervention annual meeting earlier this year.

Moore’s poster won a blue ribbon for best poster at the meeting — an incredible accomplishment considering his poster was amongst approximately 40 others completed by individuals who had already earned advanced degrees or were professional researchers and clinicians.

What does this mean for current CSD majors at Wooster? “It is an absolutely exciting time to be a CSD major here at Wooster,” said Matt Woodward ’19, a current CSD major at the College.

“The CSD program at Wooster is becoming more well-known everyday because of the quality of our education here. […] We have professors who are not only excellent teachers and clinicians, but mentors as well. They are preparing us for a future that I certainly didn’t know would be possible for me before I came to Wooster,” he said.

Expressing a feeling that applies not just to CSD majors but to every student who benefits from the rigor of undergraduate research at Wooster, Woodward added, “I know that whatever comes next for me will be infinitely easier thanks to the tools I’ve acquired during my time in the program here.”

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