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Communication sciences and disorders student wins second national award from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Pamela Dominguez has had the unique opportunity of attaining an array of clinical experiences as a high school and community college student. Growing up in a suburb north of Baltimore, Maryland, Dominguez first gained exposure to the nursing field – working as a nursing assistant in hospitals, public schools and home health. 

“I love the healthcare field and knew I belonged there,” she says. “After gaining so much experience, I found out that there are more diverse occupations in the field than just doctors and nurses. Speech-language pathology stole my heart almost instantly once I learned more about it.”

After graduating from Harford Community College, Dominguez enrolled in a bachelor’s in hearing and speech sciences program at the University of Maryland. It was there that she met professor Nan Bernstein Ratner, who helped the first-generation college student navigate her transfer and integration into the university setting and the field of communication sciences and disorders (COMD). Under Ratner’s mentorship, Dominguez won a PROmoting the next GENeration of Researchers (PROGENY) Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Speech-language pathology stole my heart almost instantly once I learned more about it.

-Pamela Dominguez, Master of Science-Residential in Speech-Language Pathology student

Ratner also introduced Dominguez to Arnold School COMD professor Julius Fridriksson, whose research focuses on understanding and treating aphasia, a communication disorder following stroke or other brain injury that may impact the individual’s ability to read, write, speak or understand language. This introduction, coupled with an on-campus visit to the COMD department and its Montgomery Speech, Hearing, and Language Clinic, helped Dominguez make her final decision when choosing a graduate program to further her studies.

“I heavily focused my decision based on research, and when I came to tour Dr. Fridriksson’s Aphasia Lab, I saw the myriad of possibilities that I could explore if I came here,” she says.  

Dominguez began her program in August and immediately jumped into the Lab’s research projects as a graduate assistant. With support from both of her mentors, she recently secured her second PROGENY Award, which involves a formal mentorship program and a scientific presentation at the 2019 ASHA Convention. The poster that she submitted in consideration for the award received the second highest review rating of any undergraduate first-authored paper in the nation.  Read the full article here.

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