I will be graduating with my Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree this coming May 15th, though it feels like only a short time ago that I started down this path. On May 14th, I am being inducted into the Alpha Eta Society (a national honors society for the allied health professions) for graduating at the top of my class.
What else have I been up to? Well, I was an invited speaker to the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Conference in 2014 to present my doctoral research: “Contralateral Wideband Acoustic Reflex Thresholds: Normative Study and Test-Retest Reliability” which I completed while working as a graduate research assistant for my mentor and boss, Dr. Xiao-Ming Sun. While at the conference I was awarded the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association Scholarship for Doctoral Research. I also competed for, and was fortunate enough to be awarded, a National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Training Grant to study and complete a research project at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis for the summer of 2014. Currently, I am completing my audiology residency with the Eastern Kansas VA Healthcare system, which requires me to travel back and forth between the VA hospitals in Topeka and Leavenworth.
However, perhaps what I am most excited to inform you of is that I have recently accepted a (tuition-waived and stipend included) offer to study and pursue a PhD at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York beginning this August. I guess I just can’t stay away from the science J! The position will require me to teach in addition to working on my dissertation. Dr. Bo-hua Hu has agreed to be my primary mentor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, but the department faculty have agreed to let me have a primary co-mentor in the University at Buffalo’s Program in Behavioral Neuroscience. This way, I will be able to best pursue my foremost research interest: where the human sense of hearing and our ability to communicate meet the intricate biological processes in the human brain. Eventually, I hope to work at a large teaching and research hospital, but only time will tell.
I do, of course, take my well-established background and interest in Anthropology with me wherever I go, feeling as though I sometimes stubble upon insights that others in my field often miss. You see, the thing is, that when a person decides to study all people in all times and all places it isn’t something that ever gets turned off.