Honors Program

Honors program

The honors program in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is open to academically talented and motivated students who wish to engage in independent study and research under the close supervision of a faculty advisor. All juniors with an overall GPA of 3.5 or better are eligible for participation. Successful applicants are admitted to the program in the spring of their junior year.

Recent honors research projects

Student: Amanda Tolen
Lab: Applied Hearing Science Laboratory
Mentor: Dr. Yi Shen
Title: Timing the cochlear traveling wave with and without contralateral acoustic stimulation
Summary: Cochlear wave dispersion was measured indirectly by presenting chirp stimuli with repeated low-to-high frequency sweeps and recording the corresponding neurophysiological responses using scalp electrodes. Results showed that contralateral stimulation only suppressed the magnitude of the scalp responses to the ipsilateral inputs, but this type of suppression was not associated with nonlinear changes in the cochlear wave delay. Therefore, evidence for the contralateral activation of the medial olivocochlear reflex was not observed, and the contralateral suppression in the current study may have been influenced by the middle-ear muscle reflex.

Student: Megan R. Diekhoff
Lab: Speech Production Laboratory
Mentor: Dr. Steven M. Lulich
Title: Speech-Language Pathology Student-Clinicians’ Self-Awareness of Tongue Position During Rhotic Sound Production in American English
Summary: The American English rhotic sound /ɹ/ is commonly produced in error by children with speech sound disorders seeking treatment from a speech-language pathologist. Since tongue shape is not readily visible during rhotic production, clinicians rely heavily on verbal descriptions and auditory feedback to explain sounds to their clients. Yet, little is known about how closely these descriptions match actual production. In this study, the use of ultrasound imaging makes it possible to compare student-clinicians’ verbal and drawn descriptions of their tongue shapes with their veridical physical productions. Results reveal that student-clinicians’ descriptions are heavily influenced by top-down processing, and can change to reflect explicit knowledge learned in class rather than a true sense of proprioception.

Student: Nicole Isroff
Lab: Baby Language Laboratory
Mentor: Dr. Gershkoff
Title: Effectiveness of Prompting on Topic Maintenance in Children with Autism
Summary: The current study examines the effect of verbal prompting on topic maintenance and peer-to-peer interactions in a natural camp environment. Participants were three school-aged children with autism. Overall improvements in on-topic responses were found after six sessions of training, however, behavioral outcomes were affected by individual differences and variations in daily activities.  Additionally, the small sample size and brief length of treatment make it difficult to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of prompting as an intervention strategy for improving children’s social communication skills.

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