Quinn Kelley of Peckville, a graduate student in the Misericordia University Speech-Language Pathology program, has been awarded the Von Drach Memorial Scholarship by the Pennsylvania Speech-Language Hearing Association (PSHA) during their recent conference. The scholarship is presented annually to an outstanding student from one of the state's 22 speech-language pathology academic programs in honor of Dr. Robert Von Drach. Recipients are students who exhibit strong leadership abilities, outstanding academic performance, exceptional clinical skills, and scholarship within the profession.
Kelley, a full-time graduate student, maintained a 3.90 GPA in her undergraduate studies, a perfect 4.0 GPA in her graduate studies and has been on the university's Dean's List every semester while attending Misericordia. She is an active member of PSHA as well as the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). She will graduate during the university's commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14.
Kelley's interest in the field of speech therapy began during a high school job shadowing program. "I spent the day at a local outpatient clinic with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services. I remember going into that experience thinking that I would enjoy physical therapy the most and eventually end up pursuing that career. I started the day by observing the speech pathologist and I immediately fell in love with the type of work she was doing. I was able to observe a variety of clients with different disorders and realized just how versatile the field really is. I came out of that experience and knew that I wanted to pursue a career in speech-language pathology," said Kelley.
In addition to her coursework at Misericordia, Kelley had the opportunity to serve as a research assistant for Professor Glen Tellis, Ph.D., chairperson of the Speech Language Pathology department. Kelley and her team conducted research in the field of fluency disorders and had the opportunity to present at several local, state, national, and international conferences. "Getting involved in research was something that I knew I wanted to do coming into Misericordia. Research has developed my critical-thinking, analysis, and leadership skills more than I could have ever imagined. These are skills and lessons that have carried over into my work as a student, clinician, and future professional," she said.
In the summer of 2019, Kelley received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) through Misericordia. The fellowship enabled her to expand her knowledge of the research process, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and Mindware Technologies to examine psychophysiological and cortical responses of listeners observing persons who stutter self-disclose. At the end of the summer, she presented her findings to peers and associated SURF mentors.
"This experience helped me gain confidence in my knowledge of fluency disorders and my research abilities. Due to such an amazing experience, I applied and received a SURF grant in the summer of 2021 as well," said Kelley.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted many student research projects, including Kelley's.
"I needed to get creative in the type of research I was conducting due to restrictions on in-person research during the pandemic. Dr. Tellis and I decided to conduct survey research to examine what digital technologies speech-language pathology students use to assess and treat fluency disorders. This was such a rewarding and unique opportunity because there was such little research published on this topic in the field. My love of research has also led me to contribute to several textbooks in the field and allowed me the opportunity to use cutting-edge virtual dissection tables," she said.
As a graduate student clinician, Kelley completed two treatment clinics, one diagnostic clinic, and two semesters of fieldwork. She has worked with patients as young as two, and as old as 97. Kelley completed her on-campus clinic at Misericordia University’s Speech-Language and Hearing Center and her off-campus treatment clinic at Head Start’s Early Intervention program at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Dallas, PA. In addition, she successfully completed fieldwork at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey and is currently completing her final fieldwork rotation at Wallenpaupack Elementary School serving kindergarten through second grade.
Dr. Tellis worked closely with Kelley during her five years at Misericordia. "Quinn is a hard-working student who performed at the top tier of my class in all of her assignments. In terms of clinical skills, Quinn has done well with her on-campus and off-campus clinical work. Her research performance has been excellent. Since 2018, Quinn has presented 10 papers at state, national and international conferences, even considering for the past two years, most in-person conferences were cancelled. Quinn has done a wonderful job of developing her research skills and has the potential to become a future leader in the field," said Dr. Tellis.
"Over the past five years, Misericordia University’s Speech-Language Pathology Department has provided me with the most well-rounded education and clinical experiences possible. I am grateful for all the amazing opportunities and experiences. From being taught by world-renowned professors and board-certified specialists, traveling the world, writing, and creating images for textbooks, to hands-on clinical experience, Misericordia University has blessed me with the skills and experiences necessary to be a successful speech-language pathologist," said Kelley.
For more information on Misericordia University's Speech-Language Pathology program, visit their website, https://www.misericordia.edu/speech-language-pathology.