The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation awarded Misericordia University speech-language pathology graduate student Cara Imbalzano, of Roaring Brook Twp., one of 25 prestigious national scholarships at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s annual Founders Breakfast in Orlando, Florida.
The 2019 ASHFoundation Graduate Student Scholarship program received 325 application from masters- and –doctoral-level students. Other award recipients included collegians from the Universities of North Carolina and Oregon, and Auburn, George Washington, Vanderbilt and Brigham Young universities. The scholarship recognizes students in communication sciences and disorders who demonstrate academic achievement and promise.
As part of the ASHFoundation competition, students had to complete an application, write an essay and obtain reference letters. At Misericordia University, Imbalzano is an exceptional student who performs in the top 1 percent of her class in academics and clinical coursework, according to faculty mentors who wrote letters of reference for the scholarship award.
“Cara is doing a wonderful job of developing her research skills and has the potential to become a future leader in the field,’’ Glen Tellis, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Misericordia University, wrote in the reference letter for his research assistant. “We need more leaders like Cara who give their time selflessly to improve our profession.’’
The daughter of Anthony and Allison Murray-Imbalzano has been heavily involved in student-faculty research at Misericordia University. In 2017, she was part of a team that presented scientific research studies at the Society for Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy’s Biennial Meeting in Paris, France. Imbalzano also worked in partnership with faculty mentors and other professionals to produce and present the scholarly work, “Which Types of Dysfluencies Invoke Emotional Responses in People Who do not Stutter?,” at the 11th Oxford Dysfluency Conference at St. Catherine’s College in the United Kingdom.
Imbalzano traveled to Rome, Italy in 2018 to present groundbreaking research at the International Conference on Stuttering. As a member of a three-student research team, they made two poster presentations and one oral presentation at the leading international event for researchers and professionals in the field of assessment and treatment of stuttering.
Overall, Imbalzano has presented research papers at international, national, state and local conferences. “In many of the papers, she was the first or second author and constantly came out with new ideas to conduct studies,’’ said Dr. Tellis. “She is one of a handful of researchers in the world who is at the forefront of fNIRS (Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy) research to determine hemoglobin concentration changes in the brains of those with fluency disorders
The ASHFoundation Graduate Student Scholarship is the highest honor a student can receive from the national organization. The Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Misericordia University also has had three other graduate students receive the award in recent years, Erik Raj, Nick Barone and Midori Rodriguez.
For more information about the speech-language pathology program at Misericordia University, please call 570-674-6400 or visit www.misericordia.edu/slp.