CSD Student to Serve as College Marshal

Congratulations to CSD major and Schreyer Scholar Jeanna Stiadle, who will represent all graduating students in the College of Health and Human Development as student marshal at the Spring 2014 commencement ceremonies. Congratulations as well to Ashleigh Marella, also a Schreyer Scholar, who has been selected as the student marshal for Communication Sciences and Disorders. Dr. Carol Miller will serve as the Faculty Marshal.

Wilkinson named editor of American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

Krista Wilkinson

Krista Wilkinson, professor of communication sciences and disorders

Krista Wilkinson, professor of communication sciences and disorders at Penn State, has been named editor of the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (AJSLP). The mission of AJSLP, which has been online-only since 2010, is to report peer-reviewed, primary research findings concerning an array of clinically oriented topics transcending all aspects of clinical practice in speech-language pathology.

Wilkinson’s research focuses on language development, and augmentative and alternative communication intervention in individuals with severe intellectual/developmental disabilities. In much of her early work, she examined how vocabulary instruction can be improved through an understanding of processes of early word learning in children with and without disabilities.

Read more about Wilkinson being named editor of American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

CSD Undergraduate Students Among Penn State 2012–13 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars

Danielle Kocjancic, Women’s Cross Country, and Kathleen Slay, Women’s Volleyball, made the 2012–13 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars list for Penn State. Congratulations to both athletes. See the full story at

Light recognized with President’s Award for academic integration

Janice Light, Hintz Family Endowed Chair in Children’s Communicative Competence in the College of Health and Human Development, has been awarded the 2013 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.

The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment, and service.

Since coming to Penn State in 1990, Light has focused her research on improving communication outcomes and enhancing quality of life for individuals who have significant speech and language impairments and require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), such as signs, communication boards or speech generating assistive technologies. She is involved in a series of multidisciplinary, collaborative research projects designed to enhance language development, improve literacy outcomes and enhance communicative competence for people who require AAC, and to improve the design of AAC technologies for individuals with significant speech and motor impairments.

Read more about Janice Light receiving the President’s Award for academic integration.

For CSD Student Will Martin, It's not about THON—at least, not only

Will Martin

Will Martin, 2013 Overall THON Chairperson

If you ask Will Martin what he's up to right now, chances are he's sorting out last-minute details for THON weekend—now less than two weeks away. For example, he may be investigating who will provide security at the dance marathon, how frequently the bathrooms will be cleaned, or which donors plan to visit. Then again, he could be meeting with President Erickson to give the latest updates on preparations for THON weekend, attending a meeting of the advisory board of the Four Diamonds Fund, or talking with reporters about his hopes for this year's fundraising effort.

As overall chairperson for the world's largest student-run philanthropy, Martin has had these types of tasks and more to deal with this past year. Yet through all of the meetings, some of which extended into the wee hours of the morning, and all of the myriad fundraising tasks, he has managed to excel outside of THON—in his courses, in his research, and in his preparations for the future.

Read more about Will Martin, overall chairperson for THON

CSD Receives Doctoral Level Training Grant in AAC

The United States Department of Education has awarded the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department a five-year $1.25 million grant for doctoral level training in Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Dr. Janice Light and her team, Dr. Kathryn Drager, Dr. Krista Wilkinson, Dr. Erinn Finke, Barbara Roberts, and Jessica Currall, prepared the proposal. The College and University will provide support for an additional student bringing the total to six students per year.

CSD Receives Master’s Level Training Grant

The United States Department of Education has awarded the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department a five-year $1.25 million master’s level training grant for “The Children’s Competence Project.” Dr. Janice Light and her team, Dr. Kathryn Drager, Barbara Roberts, and Jessica Currall, will receive funding for 21 master's level students over the grant period to improve results for high needs children who have severe communication disabilities (e.g. children of all ages with autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, multiple disabilities, etc., who live in poverty or are English language learners).

Graduate Student News

Roxana Botezatu was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award from the National Science Foundation, which is funding her data collection in the Netherlands this summer. Michael Boyle and Rupert Johnson presented a seminar at the National Stuttering Association's Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas in July. Jennifer Thistle and Ji Sook Park presented posters at the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders in Wisconsin-Madison in June; both received National Institutes of Health travel awards to attend the meeting.

CSD Students Awarded Scholarships

Four CSD students were awarded scholarships. Megan Dooris, CSD graduate student, received the Nancy Bortz Machlan Memorial Prize, Laura Dengler, CSD doctoral student, received the Maryann Peins Graduate Scholarship in Speech Pathology, Michael Tramontana, CSD doctoral student, was the recipient of the Maryann Peins Memorial Scholarship in Speech Pathology, and Jocelyn Shuber, CSD senior, received the Communication Disorders Award. Congratulations to all four students for their outstanding achievements.

What causes stuttering?

Researchers in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) reveal what is known about the causes of stuttering and ways they are helping to improve the lives of those who stutter. Read more at

Department Newsletter

Communication Sciences and Disorders Winter 2010 Newsletter