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Announcements and Accolades


Congratulations to Madison Fisher (MS-SLP alumna), Dr. Devin Casenhiser, and Dr. Eun Jin Paek for their paper, “Objective and Subjective Clustering Methods for Verb Fluency Responses From Individuals With Alzheimer's Dementia and Cognitively Healthy Older Adults,” in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Way to go! 
Dr. Patrick Plyler, Sarah (Raz) Razavi, Dr. Jennifer Hausladen, and Dr. Beth Humphrey had their manuscript, “Effectiveness of Television Streaming on Hearing Aid User Performance and Satisfaction in Quiet and in Noise,” recently accepted for publication in the American Journal of Audiology.  Raz is a 4th year AuD student. Great work, team! 
Congratulations to Dr. Ilsa Schwarz, as principal investigator, and Drs. Jillian McCarthy and Erinn Finke, as co-investigators, on receiving a $2.4 million dollar award for their grant, “(Project-PAL) Preparing Academic Leaders to Teach, Conduct Research, and Engage in Professional Services to Improve Language and Literacy Outcomes for Children with High Need Communication Disorders.”  This proposal is a partnership between UTHSC ASP and the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University (VU), along with community service providers, local education agencies, and families. The project will prepare a total of six speech-language pathologists with a doctoral degree in either Speech and Hearing Science (at UTHSC) or Hearing and Speech Science (at VU), including specialty training to teach, conduct research, and provide culturally and linguistically responsive services, with the intent to improve language or literacy outcomes for children with high-need communication disorders. What an impressive accomplishment! 
Dr. James Lewis recently published the manuscript, “Model-based prediction of otoacoustic emission level, noise level, and signal-to-noise ratio during time-synchronous averaging,” in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America. Excellent, Dr. Lewis! 
UTHSC’s Teaching and Learning Center acknowledged those who completed intensive, year-long programs from its Teaching Excellence Institute. Those receiving certificates and medallions in various tracks were: Dr. Ashley Harkrider (Inclusive Learning medallion); Dr. Brittany Grayless (Clinical Educator medallion); Ms. Alaina Grissom, PhD student (Craft of Teaching, Inclusive Learning, Teaching with Technology, Course Design, Paradigms of Education, and Teaching Online medallions); Ms. Olivia Hecker, PhD student (Craft of Teaching medallion); and Dr. Elizabeth Tobener, PhD student (Craft of Teaching, Teaching with Technology, and the Inclusive Learning medallions).  What a fantastic achievement! 
Congratulations to Drs. Erin Plyler and Patrick Plyler on the publication of their article, “Management of Unilateral Hearing Loss in the School-Aged Child,” in the Journal of Educational, Pediatric & (Re)Habilitative Audiology. Way to go! 
We are so proud of Dr. Erinn Finke, who was elected a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA). This is a great honor, as it represents one of the highest recognitions awarded by ASHA, acknowledging the individual’s accomplishments and outstanding professional achievements. Dr. Finke will be honored at ASHA’s annual meeting, held in November in Boston, Massachusetts. Bravo, Dr. Finke! 
Congratulations to Donguk Lee for successfully defending his PhD dissertation and his acceptance of a faculty position as assistant professor at the University of North Texas. Dr. Lee’s faculty advisor is Dr. James Lewis. We are certain Dr. Lee will make a great impression in his new position in Texas. 
Several ASP faculty members have been promoted. Dr. Eun Jin Paek was promoted to associate professor with tenure. Dr. Erin Plyler was promoted to clinical professor. Ms. Ashley Irick was promoted to clinical associate professor. Ms. Autumn Sanderson was promoted to clinical associate professor.  Congratulations, everyone, on reaching these impressive milestones! 
PhD student, Blake Rafferty, defended his dissertation research entitled, “Cortical tracking of syntax in post-stroke aphasia: an EEG investigation of disrupted sentence comprehension.” Congratulations, Dr. Rafferty, and his faculty advisor, Dr. Devin Casenhiser. In other good news, Dr. Rafferty accepted a tenure track faculty position at the University of New Mexico. 
PhD student, Tanzida Zaman, received an Outstanding Student Award at the 2023 College of Graduate Health Sciences Awards Ceremony. Tanzida’s research advisor is Dr. Devin Casenhiser.  Hats off to you, Tanzida! 
Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis on the publication of two peer-reviewed manuscripts. These include, “Inter-Subject Variability in the Dependence of Medial-Olivocochlear Reflex Strength on Noise Bandwidth,” in Ear and Hearing and “Medial Olivocochlear Reflex Strength in Ears with Low-to-Moderate Annual Noise Exposure,” in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. The later publication was a collaborative effort with Dr. Morgaine Goettl-Meyer (AuD alumna) and Dr. Donuk Lee (ASP PhD student). Kudos to Dr. Lewis and his team on this outstanding work! 
Two ASP professors have received impressive honors. Professor Patrick Plyler was named as 2023 UT Alumni Association Distinguished Service Professor Award. This award acknowledges Dr. Plyler’s contributions to ASP, the CoHP, students, and his profession. Also, Professor Mark Hedrick was selected by the UTHSC CoHP student body as the 2023 University of Tennessee Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award recipient. In June, both Dr. Plyler and Dr. Hedrick will be recognized at the UT Alumni Association's Board of Governors banquet in Knoxville as special guests of the Alumni Association. Congratulations on these well-deserved honors! 
Congratulations to Drs. Eun Jin Paek and Devin Casenhiser for their paper, “Generating Natural Language Responses in Robot-Mediated Referential Communication Tasks to Simulate Theory of Mind,” published in Social Robotics with Lecture Notes published in Computer Science.  Excellent work! 
Congratulations also to PhD students, Jamileh Azizbeigiboukani and Blake Rafferty, who will receive the 2023 National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Student Fellowships for their upcoming presentations at the NIDCD Research Symposium in Clinical Aphasiology and Clinical Aphasiology Conference. Jamileh is mentored by Dr. Eun Jin Paek, and Blake is mentored by Dr. Devin Casenhiser. Only 15 awards were given nationally, so this is an incredible achievement! 
PhD student, Taylor Stone, and his faculty mentor, Dr. Molly Erickson, had a manuscript, “Experienced Listeners’ Perception of Timbre Dissimilarity Within and Between Voice Categories,” accepted for the Journal of Voice. The data presented in this manuscript are from Taylor’s first PhD project. Great work, Taylor and Dr. Erickson!

1/13/2023 Kudos to Cailin Hannon, a 3rd year AuD student, and her research mentor, Dr. James Lewis. Cailin was awarded a $1,000 Mentored Student Research Presentation travel award funded through a grant to the American Auditory Society by the NIH-NIDCD.  She is one of only 20 students nationwide to receive this award. What an impressive honor!


12/28/2022 We are pleased to announce that Dr. Molly Erickson has had a manuscript, “Experienced Listeners’ Perception of Timbre Dissimilarity Within and Between Voice Categories” accepted for publication in the Journal of Voice.  What a wonderful accomplishment!  

12/16/2022 Congratulations to Drs. Lizzy Tobener, Ashlee Searer, Steve Doettl, and Patrick Plyler on their peer-reviewed manuscript, “Oculomotor Findings in Videonystagmography Across the Lifespan” recently accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.  Dr. Tobener is a PhD student in our program and the data published in this paper are the results of her first project towards earning her PhD degree, in addition to data she and Dr. Searer collected during their AuD program.

12/7/2022 Dr. Patti Johnstone, Professor of Audiology and Speech Pathology and Director of Clinical Education in Audiology, will be retiring from UTHSC January 2, 2023. While she is retiring from UTHSC, she will soon be returning to work! She will be assuming the position of Professor, Founding Chair/Program Director at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  She will work with Viterbo University administration to create a graduate MS degree in Speech-Language Pathology and a BS degree in Communicative Disorders. This is an exciting although challenging opportunity, and one that also allows her to move back to Wisconsin and join her family there.  We will miss Dr. Johnstone but know she will do an outstanding job for Viterbo, just as she has for ASP and the College of Health Professions. 

11/18/2022 Congratulations to Dr. Lisa Cunningham, who received the 2022 Outstanding Alumna Award Winner in Audiology or Speech and Language Pathology at the 50th Anniversary of the College of Health Professions. Dr. Cunningham received a BA and MA in audiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Dr. Cunningham is the scientific director/director of the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). While she had initially planned for a career as a clinician, an auditory study she conducted as an undergraduate, with her UTK ASP classmates serving as research subjects, abruptly changed her path. “We had created a tiny piece of new knowledge, and I was hooked. I knew then that research was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Dr. Cunningham in a recent NIDCD publication.  It was our honor to present you with this well-deserved award!

11/1/2022: Congratulations to Lizzy Tobener and Donguk Lee, PhD students, who were BOTH awarded ASH Foundation Student Research Grants from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASH Foundation) this year. Lizzy's award was for her study entitled, “Effect of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss on Video Ocular Counter Roll Measurements.” She is mentored by Dr. Patrick Plyler and Dr. Steve Doettl.  Donguk received the award for his dissertation study entitled, “Evaluation of Efferent Unmasking Using Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials.” He is mentored by Dr. James Lewis and Dr. Mark Hedrick.  Dean Alway notes, “These awards highlight some of the important and high-quality work performed by our doctoral students and the quality of our faculty mentors.”

9/30/2022: We have not one, but TWO, professors who have been awarded impressive grants from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation!  Dr. Kelsey Klein, Assistant Professor, received a 2022 New Investigators Research Grant for her proposal entitled “Children's Real-Time Spoken Word Recognition While Listening in Two-Talker Speech”.  Dr. Eun Jin Paek, Assistant Professor, was selected to receive the 2022 New Century Scholars Research Grant for her proposal entitled “Behavioral Outcomes and Neural Correlates of a Multifactorial Treatment Approach in Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type”. Both will receive their award at during the ASHA Convention in New Orleans, on Friday, November 18, 2022. Congratulations, Dr. Klein and Dr. Paek.  We are very proud of you!

8/19/2022: Dr. Eun Jin Paek, Assistant Professor, was selected as one of 12 attendees, from a national nomination process, for the Alzheimer’s Association Interdisciplinary Summer Research Institute in Chicago where she worked intensively with researchers such as Dr. Ronald Petersen, Neurologist at Mayo Clinic and Dr. Sheryl Zimmerman, Director of Aging Research at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are proud of the impact Dr. Paek is having on our field, especially in the area of Alzheimer’s research. Way to go!

3/29/2022: Patrick Plyler, PhD, has agreed to serve as UTHSC’s Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. Dr. Plyler will be continuing his role as Program Director for the Audiology program but will now also coordinate and review the post tenure files as well as the promotion and tenure files for our college.  Congratulations, Dean Plyler!

2/6/2022: Mark Hedrick, PhD, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, along with Dania Rishiq, PhD, and Cary Springer had a paper entitled, “Effects of Spectral Shaping on Speech Auditory Brainstem Responses to Stop Consonant-Vowel Syllables” accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. Dr. Rishiq, an alumnus of our PhD program is currently on the tenure track at University of South Alabama.  Ms. Springer is a member of the Research Computing Support team at UT Knoxville. This paper contains the data from Dr. Rishiq’s first research project co-directed by Dr. Harkrider and Dr. Hedrick.

2/8/2022: Congratulations to Beth Humphrey, AuD, CCC-A, who was recently elected by her peers across the state to serve as Member-at-Large on the Executive Board of Tennessee Academy of Audiology.

1/28/2022: The Nominations Committee and the Board of Directors of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) has selected Ashley Harkrider, PhD, to fill the position of Treasurer.  The CAPCSD is the primary internationally recognized ASP organization with membership from over 330 communication sciences and disorders programs from the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand which offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in in communication sciences and disorders.  The CAPCSD membership will vote to confirm her nomination in April.  Dr. Harkrider’s term will begin July 1, 2022. Congratulations for this prestigious national/international recognition!



11/22/2021: Congratulations to Jillian McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Ilsa Schwarz, PhD, CCC-SLP, FASHA, who were awarded a 5 year federally funded grant from the U.S. Department of Education- Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for >$1,100,000 for the proposal “Preparation to Support Young Children with Complex Communication Needs Who Benefit from AT/AAC Systems (Project Early LEAPS)”. This grant began 10/1/2021 and it is a collaboration with the Language and Literacy Lab (L3) team, and Dr. MariBeth Coleman and Dr. Kristen Secora from the Special Education Department at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Allison Wegman is also serving on this grant as a coordinator.  What a fantastic accomplishment!

10/15/2021: Congratulations to Jennifer Hausladen, AuD, CCC-A, on her recently accepted paper entitled, "Effect of Hearing Aid Technology Level on New Hearing Aid Users" for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. Dr. Hausladen took the lead on this paper which also included Patrick Plyler, PhD, and Bailey Clausen, Ashton Fincher, Sarah Norris, and Teresa Russell (4 AuD students) as co-authors.  

10/6/2021: Excellent work, Dr. Brittany Grayless and her co-authors on the acceptance of two papers for publication in the last few months!  Accepted in July:  Hedrick, M., Stigers, A., Grayless, B., Plyler, P., Bolden, J., Springer, C. (in press). “Cognitive Measures and the Acceptable Noise Level” in the American Journal of Audiology.  Accepted in August: Grayless, B. (in press). “Assessment and management of misophonia in a female adolescent: A case study” in Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.

10/5/2021: PhD student, Donguk Lee, had his research project entitled, “Acceptable Noise Levels and Preferred Signal-to-Noise Ratios for Speech and Music” accepted for publication in Ear and Hearing. Co-authors were Drs. James Lewis, Patti Johnstone, and Patrick Plyler.  Way to go Donguk and his doctoral committee!

7/22/2021: PhD student, Jessica Defenderfer, recently had accepted for publication the results of her second research project.  The paper entitled “Frontotemporal activation differs between perception of simulated cochlear implant speech and speech in background noise: An image-based fNIRS study”, is accessible online in NeuroImage.  Co-authors include Samuel Forbes, Sobanawartiny Wijeakumar, Mark Hedrick, Patrick Plyler, and Aaron Buss.  What a great collaboration!  We are proud of you, Jessica!  Keep up the good work.

6/18/2021: PhD student, Donguk Lee, was awarded the American Academy of Audiology Foundation’s Sadanand Singh Memorial Scholarship.  He earned this reward due to his “excellent academic record, wonderful recommendation, and clearly articulated research aspirations.”  Congratulations to Dunguk and his research mentor, Dr. James Lewis.

6/17/2021: Kudos to Drs. Molly Erickson, Patti Johnstone, Mark Hedrick, and Kelsey Klein for being awarded a GRAMMY Museum® grant for their proposal entitled “The Survey of Music Enjoyment: Application to Pre- and Postlingually Deafened Cochlear Implant.” This is a great example of interprofessional collaboration.  Fantastic!

6/14/2021: We are so proud of Jennifer Wilson and Emily Noss who received a 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant from UTHSC for their project entitled, “Improving Job Skills and Community Integration for University of Tennessee FUTURE Students.” This project is a beautiful expansion of the partnership our program has had with UT’s FUTURE Postsecondary Education Program for some years now. Congratulations!

6/8/2021: Congratulations to Dr. Thelma Uzonyi who recently had accepted for publication her manuscript entitled, “Measuring Transactional Engagement Among Young Children with Elevated Likelihood for Later Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis." These data are from the first part of her dissertation work at UNC Chapel Hill and will be published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

6/4/2021: Congratulations to Drs. Daniela Santos-Oliveira (PhD program alumnus), Devin Casenhiser, Tim Saltuklaroglu, and Ashley Harkrider, as well as Dave Jenson (PhD program alumnus), David Thornton (PhD program alumnus) and current PhD student Blake Rafferty for their recent publication entitled, " Mu Rhythm Dynamics Suggest Automatic Activation of Motor and Premotor Brain Regions During Speech Processing" accepted by the Journal of Neurolinguistics.  Great teamwork on this one!

6/1/2021: Phase One of ASP’s move to the UT Conference Center is complete, with the relocation of all clinical services for patients with hearing and balance disorders.  As of now, all academic faculty offices and research labs, some classrooms, all administrative offices, and many clinical faculty offices now have a new address at 600 Henley Street.  We are thrilled to no longer have a presence in South Stadium Hall.  Until Phase Two is complete, the Hearing and Speech Center and its providers will remain at 1600 Peyton Manning Pass and the Pediatric Language Clinic and its providers will continue to call 2023 Lake Avenue their home.

5/14/2021: Dr. Thelma Uzonyi who recently had a paper accepted in Infants and Young Children.  The manuscript was authored by Uzonyi along with J. Page, M. DuBay, and E. R. Crais and is entitled, “Perceptions on Screening for Developmental Disabilities and Autism in Childcare Settings.”  The data are the result of a research project she completed during her Ph.D. program.  Way to go, Dr. Uzonyi!

4/16/2021: A paper entitled “Effect of Hearing Aid Technology Level and Individual Characteristics on Listener Outcome Measures” authored by Drs. Patrick Plyler and Jennifer Hausladen, Micaela Capps, and Mary Alice Cox was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.  The data are the result of Micaela and Mary Alice’s AuD research project, directed by Drs. Plyler and Hausladen. Congratulations!

3/4/2021: Congratulations to Dr. Nola Radford who recently had her article, “Positive messages and traditional therapy for three children with persistent stuttering” published in the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education. Excellent work, Dr. Radford!



12/17/2020: Congratulations, Dr. Erinn Finke, for being selected as an Editor-in-Chief for the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (AJSLP). This hard-earned appointment begins in 2021, a year when the journal will be expanding its publication schedule, which will lead to even busier times ahead for Dr. Finke. Dr. Finke has served as editor for AJSLP since 2017. We are very proud of you!

12/8/2020: Congratulations to Drs. Devin Casenhiser and Eun Jin Paek who, along with Dr. Xiaopeng Zhao from UTK Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, recently received a One UT Collaboration and Innovation Grant for “Topics and patterns in conversational discourses during daily routines in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias."  The goal of One UT funding is to support innovative ideas, create collaborative opportunities and advance the university in three key areas – student success, research and outreach and engagement.  We are certainly proud of this unique collaborative effort to advance our field’s knowledge about the communication skills of patients who experience these devastating conditions.

11/1/2020: ASP’s Pediatric Language Clinic has moved!  The new location, at 2023 Lake Avenue, is just around the corner for where the clinic stood for decades.  Just look for the cute yellow house!

9/30/2020: Tim Saltuklaroglu and Tricia Hedinger recently had a paper entitled, “The perceived impact of fluency on personalities of adults who stutter: Implicit evidence of self-stigma” accepted for publication in Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology. We are very proud of Tim and Tricia! Their research and clinical collaboration continues to be productive.

7/20/2020: Congratulations to Dr. Jillian McCarthy who was recently promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.  In the area of teaching, she has earned the respect and enthusiasm of both undergraduates and graduate students and they recognize regularly they are the better for her courses and mentorship.  Dr. McCarthy’s research has earned her a national reputation and demonstrated at least two lines of research worthy of external funding.  In fact, Dr. McCarthy has brought in over $3 million in federal funds to educate graduate students in SLP and SPED in improving early language and literacy outcomes in children who are deaf and/or use AAC.  Her funding record – 8 of 16 applications funded with 2 still in review – is equally impressive.

Each of Dr. McCarthy’s nationally-recognized external reviewers supported her applications for both tenure and promotion.  One concluded his/her review by stating, “Relative to other scholars who are likely to be seeking promotion to Associate Professor and tenure within our field, Dr. McCarthy stands out as likely to be in the top tier of candidates. She publishes peer-reviewed articles regularly, has successfully secured external grant funding, and is clearly making an impact on the profession of communication sciences and disorders.”  Another external reviewer emphasizes, “Among the individuals who have been tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in the AAC field during the last 5 years, I would rate Dr. McCarthy’s work to be in the top 5%.”   Another one of her internal reviewers noted,  “If my profession, position, and location were different, this is the type of individual that I would be recruiting away from UT. In my view, to prevent such activity, it is our responsibility to reward Dr. McCarthy’s success and maintain her loyalty.”  In this, the department, college, and university most definitely concurred, unanimously recommending her for promotion and tenure!

7/20/2020: We are proud to announce that Dr. Steven Doettl was recommended unanimously at all levels (Department, College, and University) for promotion from Associate Professor to Professor on the non-tenure-track.  His dossier clearly demonstrated his effectiveness as an educator, productivity as a scholar, and leadership and collegiality among his peers.   Dr. Doettl’s value as an educator is clear in all 3 modalities - clinical instruction, classroom instruction, and mentorship - based on the consistently stellar feedback from students. Additionally, UTHSC’s outstanding reputation for providing high quality education and care in the area of vestibular diagnostics and treatment is due almost entirely to Dr. Doettl’s hard work and vision.  Despite only 10% of his effort assigned in the area of research/scholarship, Dr. Doettl has published 7 peer-review and 7 non-peer review papers and 1 book chapter since his last promotion in 2014.  In this time frame, he also has authored or co-authored 4 grant applications, 2 of which were funded, and presented at the state or national level 16 times, with 3 of these presentations invited.

One of his external reviewers commented that his “research efforts are laudable.”  All four of his external reviewers were from nationally-ranked programs and they unequivocally supported his application for promotion to Professor.  One reviewer summed things up nicely by saying, “His incredible productivity as a faculty member should be an example to others who seek to be promoted.”  I have no doubt that Dr. Doettl will continue to be a successful disseminator of critical knowledge within our discipline and a mentor to faculty and students who would like to emulate his impressive trajectory.  Well done, Professor Doettl and congratulations for earning the highest rank held by a university professor in the United States!

6/30/2020: Drs. Erin Plyler and Ashley Harkrider and Dr. John Little from Children’s Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists in Knoxville recently had a paper, entitled “Three Cases of Recovery from Sensorineural Hearing Loss in the First Year of Life:  Implications for Monitoring and Management”, accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.  What a fantastic scientific contribution to our field!

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Nola Radford recently received two notable accolades.  She was invited to serve on the Membership Committee for the Council for Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD).  Her nomination was approved by the CAPCSD Board of Directors and her term will be July 1, 2020-June 30, 2022.  In addition, Dr. Radford was invited to serve as Tennessee’s representative for speech-language pathology on the State Advocates for Reimbursement (STAR) Network for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).  STAR helps ASHA and state associations to increase coverage and reimbursement for communication and related services in private health plans.  Both CAPCSD and ASHA are lucky to have Dr. Radford involved in this important work!

6/18/2020: Kudos to Amanda Simmons, a PhD candidate, who recently receive a UTHSC Office of Equity and Diversity 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant. Simmons' project, entitled "Development and Implementation of Computer- Based Learning Modules on Alternative Communication for Pediatric Nurses and Nursing Students", will facilitate a partnership with the College of Nursing to develop computer-based learning modules on alternative communication and communication boards that can be implemented in clinical settings, especially in the branch of pediatrics. We cannot wait to see how this project unfolds!

6/10/2020: Congratulations to Dr. Jillian McCarthy who was elected to serve as UTHSC Faculty Senate Secretary for 2020-2021.  In addition, Dr. McCarthy has also been nominated by her peers as a candidate for Faculty Senator of the Year.  We are proud that you represent our department so well in your active participation and ongoing service as a member of the Executive Committee for the Faculty Senate!

5/27/2020: Congratulations to Dr. Erinn Finke who recently received a "One UT" Collaboration and Innovation Grant for Project TRIUMPH-Tennessee Recruitment to Increase Underrepresented Minorities into Professions of Health. TRIUMPH aims to create a UT system mentoring program to serve as a pipeline to increase admissions of students from underrepresented minorities from UTK into the Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) programs at UTHSC. The team for the TRIUMPH project will consist of faculty members from UTHSC College of Health Professions including Drs. Kim Carter, Shannon Hughes, Carol Likens and Myra Meekins from PT; Dr. Stephanie Lancaster from OT; and Dr. Finke, from SLP. What an impressive team and worthwhile mission!

5/19/2020: We are so proud of Blake Rafferty, a PhD candidate, who recently received the Outstanding Student Award for Speech and Hearing Sciences at the first annual UTHSC College of Graduate Health Studies Awards Ceremony.  This award recognizes one student in each program/track who has excelled academically and has made significant contributions to benefit others. The recipients of these awards were nominated by students and/or faculty and the winners chosen by the Director of each Program/Track based on merit and accomplishments.  What an honor, Blake!

3/2/2020: We have two newly-named Board-Certified Specialists on our faculty! Tricia Hedinger is now a Board-Certified Specialist in Fluency and Fluency Disorders. Through the application process, Ms. Hedinger demonstrated a minimum of 450 hours of direct service with people who stutter, 100 hours of continuing education related to stuttering, 3 letters of reference, successful completion of 3 case studies including six separate videos, a philosophy statement, and evidence of service to people who stutter. In addition, Ms. Hedinger was recently nominated to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Stuttering Association.

Jennifer Wilson is now a Board-Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. Through the application process, Ms. Wilson demonstrated a minimum of 350 clock hours of evaluation and/or treatment of swallowing disorders within a year for each of 3 years, at least 75 hours of continuing education related to dysphagia within the last 3 years, and documentation of advanced level skills in swallowing and swallowing disorders demonstrating achievement of the highest standard of excellence, professionalism, and commitment to continuous advanced learning.

Through their hard work and expertise, both Ms. Hedinger and Ms. Wilson have increased the visibility and stature of ASP and UTHSC. Congratulations!

1/29/2020: Congratulations to Jennifer Wilson, Amanda Simmons (PhD student), and Dr. Jillian McCarthy for their article, “Pediatric Dysphagia: Survey Results Describing Speech-Language Pathologists' Education and Experience”, which was featured in the January 2020 edition of Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.

1/9/2020: We are so proud of PhD student, Amanda Simmons, who was accepted to participate in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Teaching Symposium in May. The symposium’s goal is to enhance foundational education in the Communication Sciences and Disorders field using evidence-based teaching strategies, including innovative instruction and high-impact learning practices. Only 56 individuals across the nation are chosen to participate.



Kudos to several of our faculty who received a 2020 Maturation Grant from the UT Research Foundation. The Foundation recognizes “researchers whose innovations better society.” Each of the teams shown below were awarded a 2020 Maturation Grant.  Drs. Patti Johnstone, Kelly Yeager, and Molly Erickson and Ms Emily Noss received the award for their “Pediatric Auditory Recognition Test”. Drs. Jillian McCarthy and Michael Berry (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) received one for “Vocabulary Coordinator (VocaCoord): A Speech to Text Solution to Accessing Academic Vocabulary.”

Congratulations to Professor Emerita Dr. Ilsa Schwarz and Dr. Jillian McCarthy for receiving a U.S. Department of Education interdisciplinary training grant for a 5-year project entitled, “Interdisciplinary Preparation of Speech-Language Pathologists and Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to Improve Early Language and Pre-Literacy Outcomes for Young Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.”  This project will train graduate students in speech-language pathology and education of the deaf/hard of hearing to work with children who are deaf/hard of hearing on improving the early language and code-based pre-literacy skills. Drs. Dave Smith and Kimberly Wolbers of UTK’s Center on Deafness are also co-directing the project, with the assistance of ASP’sJulie Beeler.  In addition, a host of departmental faculty will serve as campus-based supervisors, as well several community-based speech-language pathologists and teachers of the deaf/hard-of-hearing. 

AG Bell’s Volta Voices recently featured an article written by Velvet Buehler and AG Bell’s Gayla Guignard. The article, entitled “3 by 3: Grade-Level Reading by the End of Third Grade”, discusses the importance of reaching grade-level reading for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Great work!

Many thanks to Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano from University of Colorado Boulder and Dr. Myriam DeLa Asunción and Mr. Michael Douglas from Med-El for being our featured presenters at the 7th Annual Tom Davidson Conference. Their presentations focused on cultural and linguistic diversity in our patient populations. ASP’s Drs. Patti Johnstone and  Nola Radford spoke to the group over lunch about clinical ethics and multiculturalism. Conference resources and presentations can found on our Continuing Education Page. It was a fantastic day of learning!

Congratulations to Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education in Audiology, Dr. Patti Johnstone, who was recently elected by her peers across the United States to serve on the Audiology Advisory Council for the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The Council identifies critical issues of concern to the professions and advises the ASHA Board of Directors regarding programs and services that should be provided for members and supported by Association resources. Dr. Johnstone has an impressive background in research, teaching, service delivery, and practice management. Undoubtedly, she will represent the state of Tennessee well, as she begins her 3-year term on the Council beginning January 1, 2020.

Congratulations to Drs. Katie Faulkner, Patrick Plyler, Mary Easterday, and Ms. Teresa Slade for their recently accepted manuscript, "The Relationship Between Auditory and Visual Noise Acceptance in Normal Hearing Listeners." This paper will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.   Dr. Easterday is a PhD student in our program and Teresa Slade is a rising 3rd year AuD student. The preliminary data for the study were originally collected as part of Teresa's undergraduate honors thesis. Drs. Faulkner, Plyler, and Easterday continued with data collection on the project and this paper is the result of their combined efforts.

Congratulations to Elissa Doll for placing third in the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EUREcA) Competition with her study, Patient Perception and Clinician Ratings of Voice Disorder Severity.  Elissa is a senior majoring in speech pathology in the College of Education Health and Human Sciences and will be a second-year graduate student in speech pathology in the fall. She completed her research project as part of an undergraduate honors class, and presented her findings at the competition last week. Way to go, Elissa.

The 25th Annual Sol Adler Memorial Conference was attended by more than 200 enthusiastic students, faculty, and community providers.  Many thanks to our keynote speaker, Dr. Kerry Proctor-Williams from East Tennessee State University, who taught us about speech-language and academic outcomes of children who are prenatally exposed to drugs.  Additionally, our audience participated in question/answer sessions with a panel of local experts on the topic:  Patricia Zetterberg from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Caleb Corwin with Cherokee Health Systems, Teresa Stafford from Tennessee Department of Child Services, Jeffrey Wright with Knox County Schools, Tiffani Dixon with Emory Valley Center, and Sarah Brewer from UT Medical Center.  It was an excellent opportunity to expand our knowledge on how to better serve this population of children.

Congratulations to Dr. Mark Hedrick and Kristin Thornton and co-authors Drs. Kelly Yeager, Patrick Plyler, Patti Johnstone, Kevin Reilly and Cary Springer on their recent publication, “The Use of Static and Dynamic Cues for Vowel Identification by Children Wearing Cochlear Implants”, in Ear and Hearing.  This was a very ambitious project that Kristen completed as part of her PhD  program.  The complexity of the project required the expertise of many individuals from the department.  Great work, team!

Dr. Eun Jin Paek recently received good news that two of her recent peer-reviewed manuscripts have been accepted for publication.  The first in-press paper by Dr. Paek and co-authors L. Murray, S. Newman, and D. Kim is titled “Test-retest reliability in an fMRI study of naming in dementia” in Brain and Language.  The second article Dr. Paek teamed with L. Murray to author “A Novel Cognitive-Linguistic Approach to Addressing Developmental Reading Disorders: A Pilot Study” in Communication Sciences & Disorders.  Congratulations to Dr. Paek and her colleagues on their great work!

We are pleased to announce that PhD student, Donguk Lee, recently received a Resident and Graduate Student Mentored Research Travel Award from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.  As part of this award, Donguk will present his first year research project titled, “Acceptable Noise and Preferred Listening Levels for Speech and Music” at the American Auditory Society in Scottsdale, Arizona in February.  Co-authors on the presentation are Donguk’s faculty mentors, Drs. Patti Johnstone, James Lewis, and Patrick Plyler.


Great news!  A paper from the Human Auditory Physiology Lab (HAPLAB) has been accepted for publication in Experimental Brain Research.  Authored by Dr. Andy Bowers (a PhD grad), Dr. Tim Saltuklaroglu, Dr. Ashley Harkrider, Dr. David Jenson (recent PhD grad), and David Thornton (current PhD student), the paper entitled,  “Power and phase coherence in sensorimotor mu and temporal lobe alpha components during covert and overt syllable production” reports data collected in the HAPLAB by our interdisciplinary research team and analyzed by Dr. Bowers at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  This fruitful collaboration between alumni and current faculty members continues to produce peer-reviewed data of interest to a broad scientific audience studying neurophysiology in the US and abroad. Congratulations to Dr. Bowers and his co-authors.

A manuscript, "Sex differences in early sensorimotor processing for speech discrimination," by David Thornton, Ashley Harkrider, David Jenson, and Tim Saltuklaroglu recently was accepted for publication in the journal Nature, Scientific Reports. These data were collected by David Thornton under the mentorship of Drs. Harkrider and Saltuklaroglu to fulfill the requirements of his second research project towards the earning of his PhD degree.  Congratulations to David and the entire Human Auditory Physiology Lab team!

Congratulations to Vickie Barnes who was recognized by the Tennessee Academy of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology with one of their most prestigious awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Everyone in the department agrees that Vickie is well deserving of this honor. It is wonderful to see the state that she has served so tirelessly for well over 30 years recognize the lasting impact of her contributions to families and children. Thank you, Vickie, for representing our Department, College, University, and professions in such a remarkable way.

Congratulations to Drs. Tim Saltuklaroglu, Ashley Harkrider, Devin Casenhiser, Kevin Reilly, David Jenson, Andy Bowers, and Ph.D. student David Thornton for the acceptance of their invited, peer-reviewed manuscript entitled, “EEG mu rhythms: Rich sources of sensorimotor information in speech processing” to the journal Brain and Language. This paper highlights the usefulness of EEG mu rhythm activity in elucidating the role of sensorimotor processing in speech, with supporting data culminating from research completed by current ASP faculty, matriculated PhD students (Jenson & Bowers), and a current student (Thornton) over the last 5 years.  Super work! 

Thank you to Dr. David Haynes, Director of the Department of Otolaryngology, Neurosurgery, and Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, for being our featured presenter at the 6th Annual Tom Davidson Conference.  Dr. Haynes shared his experiences in establishing and growing a cochlear implant program as well as considerations in the management of chronic ear diseases.  ASP’s own Dr. Patti Johnstone and cochlear implant representatives Dr. Lindsey Early and Ms. Taylor Sands also presented about research and advancements in cochlear implants.  Some of the presentations can found on our Continuing Education Page.  It was an informative day!

Congratulations to Dr. Sue Hume who, with co-authors Drs. Ilsa Schwarz and Mark Hedrick, recently had her paper “Preliminary Investigation of the Use of Phonological Awareness Paired With Production Training in Childhood Apraxia of Speech” published in ASHA Perspectives this month. Great work!

Congratulations to Dr. Molly Erickson who has a publication, entitled “Inexperienced Listeners’ Perception of Timbre Dissimilarity Within and Between Voice Categories” accepted to the Journal of Voice. This manuscript is the epitome of persistence pays off, as Dr. Erickson was able to collect additional data on a small number of highly experienced listeners to provide ratings of stimuli she used to collect data on inexperienced listeners years ago. Way to go!

Congratulations to Dr. Molly Erickson and co-author and former PhD student Payton Philips for their paper “Can Listeners Hear Who Is Singing? The Role of Listener Experience in Singer Discrimination Across Pitch” which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Voice. Great work!

We welcome Jestina Bunch to our faculty as an Assistant Professor on the non-tenure track.  Jestina has been on staff with us for some time in the role of Demonstration Teacher, specializing in aural (re)habilitation with patients who have hearing loss.  Congratulations!

Congratulations to Dr. Mary Easterday (PhD student) and her faculty mentors, Drs. Patrick Plyler, Steve Doettl, and James Lewis, on the acceptance of their paper, "Effect of Intensity Level and Speech Stimulus Type on the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex" in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.  These translational data are the result of Mary’s 2nd research project towards the fulfillment of her PhD program criteria and will impact clinical protocols for vestibular assessment.  Way to go, all!

Kudos to our own Dr. Eun Jin Paek for receiving the Advancing Academic-Research Careers (AARC) Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)! The AARC Award, a highly-competitive award given to only 10 individuals across the nation each year, is intended to support the academic-research careers of junior-level faculty in the field of communication sciences and disorders (CSD). The AARC Award supports mentored activities in both teaching and research. Dr. Paek will be honored for this achievement at the ASHA conference in Boston in November. Thank you, Dr. Paek, for representing UTHSC so well!

The UT Board of Trustees officially approved Dr. Kelly Yeager's promotion to Professor. The rank of Professor is the highest possible academic promotion and is awarded only to individuals who have served their institution with the highest distinction and earned and demonstrated a national/international reputation in their area(s) of expertise. Dr. Yeager has done both. One of the external reviewers who reviewed her dossier put it best when she said, “Dr. Yeager has remained on the cutting-edge of doctoral education in audiology, serving as a life-long learner and contributor” to her institution and the profession while “successfully educating the leaders of tomorrow.” This is a tremendous accomplishment. Congratulations Dr. Yeager!

Congratulations to Dr. Patrick Plyler, Dr. Mary Easterday (also an ASP Ph.D. student), and Thomas Behrens (from Oticon) on their recently accepted manuscript entitled, "The Effects of Extended Input Dynamic Range on Laboratory and Field-Trial Evaluations in Adult Hearing Aid Users." These data resulted from a grant Dr. Plyler received from Oticon and will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.

Several ASP faculty and staff were featured presenters at the 2018 Building Best Practice Early Intervention Conference in Murfreesboro. Leanne Widmer presented "What CAN the Early Interventionist (EI) do to Help with Feeding?" and Vickie Barnes and Lydia Barry presented "Talking Should Be Easy, Right?". Impressive representation of our department!

Congratulations to Dr. Sue Hume and Allison Wegman on their article published in ASHA LEADER Live about the importance of protecting the voices of our teachers, highlighting strategies for doing so, and celebrating World Voice Day. See the full article here. 

Dr. Kenn Apel, professor and chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina, was ASP’s featured speaker for the annual Sol Adler Conference, which was attended by more than 100 people from around the region. Dr. Apel provided important information about literacy and spelling in his presentation entitled, “It’s All About Word Study: A Multi-Linguistic Approach to Literacy Instruction.” We appreciate Dr. Apel for enthusiastically sharing his expertise on the subject!

Congratulations to Tiffani Kittilstved, Drs.. Reilly, Casenhiser, Harkrider, Bowers, and Saltuklaroglu, Tricia Hedinger, and David Thornton and David Jenson on their manuscript entitled “The effects of fluency enhancing conditions on sensorimotor control of speech in typically fluent speakers: An EEG mu rhythm study,” which was recently accepted for publication in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. These data resulted from Ms. Kittilstved’s master’s thesis.

Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis who recently had the following manuscript accepted for publication:  The area discontinuity between probe and ear canal as a source of power-reflectance measurement-location variability in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Dr. Erin Plyler and Jestina Bunch provided an in-service on auditory processing (AP) disorders to the Episcopal School of Knoxville, who specifically requested the training for their educators.  The presentation focused on the red flags of AP disorders, knowing when to seek an evaluation, and strategies for the classroom.

Thank you to Vince Vawter, who was the guest of honor at ASP’s “An Evening with Vince Vawter”. Vawter, a Louisville, Tennessee resident and author of Newbery award-winning novel “Paperboy”, spoke about his book, his experiences with stuttering, and his future creative plans to a room-full of community members, students, and faculty.

Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis who was awarded a CORNET Clinical Award from the UTHSC Office of Research for his collaborative grant proposal entitled, “Defining and predicting outcomes of congenital Cytomegalovirus infection.”   Dr. Steve Goodman, Vice Chancellor for Research at UTHSC wrote in the award letter, “Your team’s submission was chosen from a large and very competitive field of impressive applications from your fellow UTHSC colleagues. As the Vice Chancellor for Research, I wanted to let you know that Dr. Sam Dagogo-Jack, UTHSC, and myself are proud of your accomplishment and are very excited about this collaboration. We wish you every success in your research program.”

Angie Orr just completed an educational series on safe swallowing in senior adults to the Karns and Halls Senior Centers. After each presentation, Ms. Orr offered free swallowing screens to those interested. The series was so successful that Ms. Orr has been invited to return for additional educational presentations this summer.

Many thanks to David Levine, PT, PhD, DPT, Diplomate ABPTS (Orthopedics), CCRP, Cert. DN, Professor and Walter M. Cline Chair of Excellence in Physical Therapy at UT Chattanooga and Henry G. Spratt, Jr., Ph.D., Professor in Biology, Geology, & Environmental Science at UT Chattanooga for an excellent presentation titled, “Healthcare-associated Infections and Prevention Strategies in Clinical Settings”.  The lecture was attended by a host of UTHSC faculty, staff, and graduate students as well as community-based providers.


Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis who recently had a paper accepted by the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology called “Synchronized Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions Provide a Signal-to-Noise Ratio Advantage in Medial-Olivocochlear Reflex Assays.”

Congratulations to Drs.. Patrick Plyler, Brittney Tardy (recent ASP AuD grad), and Dr. Mark Hedrick on their manuscript "The Effects of Non-Linear Frequency Compression and Digital Noise Reduction on Word Recognition and Satisfaction Ratings in Noise in Adult Hearing Aid Users" recently accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.

Congratulations to Dr. Jill McCarthy and her co-authors Dr. Mark Hedrick and Cary Springer for the recent acceptance of their manuscript entitled, “Relations between Speech Production, Speech Perception, and Spelling in Children with Complex Communication Needs: A Preliminary Examination.” in the December edition of Speech, Language and Hearing.

Dr. Mark Gaylord, a long-standing member of ASP’s Community Development Board selected as one of UTHSC College of Medicine’s 2017 Outstanding Alumni
Congratulations to Ph.D. student, Ms. Jessica Defenderfer, on her manuscript, “Investigating the Role of Temporal Lobe Activation in Speech Perception Accuracy with Normal Hearing Adults: An Event-Related fNIRS Study”, recently accepted for publication in Neuropsychologia.  Her faculty mentors on this research project and co-authors on the publication are Dr. Mark Hedrick, and Dr. Aaron Buss and Anastasia Kerr-Germain (both from Psychology).  This is another great example of successful interprofessional collaboration!  
Welcome to Ms. Angie Orr, MA., CCC-SLP, who was recently hired as clinical Assistant Professor.   Ms. Orr is an expert in the area of swallowing/FEES (among other areas) and brings a wealth of clinical and educational experience to our SLP program. 
Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Reilly whose latest manuscript, "Vowel generalization and its relation to adaptation during perturbations of auditory feedback,” was recently accepted for publication by the Journal of Neurophysiology.  His co-author is a former thesis student of his from Northeastern.



Dec 20, 2023