First Timer

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a national conference in the field of communication disorders. Going to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) conference in Denver Nov. 2015 was a truly inspiring academic event for me. It was my first time ever attending a professional and national conference, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to go. It was so large; 14,000 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists had attended.

Along with the vast amount of professionals at the conference was the vast amount of presentations. I did my first poster presentation along with graduate student Allie Long and senior Chloe Storaci on our research, Expansion of the Communication Function Classification System to Adults and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy. I was amazed with the attendees who came to our poster session, including a Greek researcher who is using our classification system. Along with the research and clinical posters were presentations ranging from technical courses (30 minutes) to two hour sessions. Listening to these presentations really expanded my knowledge on the field of communication disorders. I enjoyed listening to the presenters and people’s questions about clinical applications and future research.

One of the things that really inspired me was an event called Round Table discussions. This was a lunch event where undergraduates and graduate students who were interested in future doctoral work could ask established researchers questions and have discussions. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the advice that some of the researchers gave and it inspired me to possibly pursue a PhD in the future.

Overall, as a first timer, I thought the ASHA convention was a blast. Not only did I learn so much about my future profession, but I had great discussions, met SLPs from all over the world, and I had my first opportunity to present research. I am excited to attend this conference again in the future!

Clarissa Petres

Lab Assistant for Dr. Hidecker

Sophomore in Division of Communication Disorders