June 4, 2021 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sigfus Kristinsson, a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) program, has been selected for two new fellowships. The first is with the Icelandic Disability Alliance and includes a $4,000 award that Kristinsson will use to support his research project, Benchmarks for Personalized Aphasia Therapy. Established in 1961, this non-profit, umbrella organization links 43 national-level associations that serve/represent people with disabilities, individual with chronic illness, and their relatives/caregivers in Iceland.
The second fellowship, accompanied by a $6,000 award to support Kristinsson’s doctoral studies, is from the American-Scandinavian Foundation. This organization supports intellectual exchange and creative influence between the United States and Nordic countries.
These fellowships are Kristinsson’s third and fourth funding awards in two years. He has also received a $10,000 New Century Scholars Doctoral Scholarship from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation and a $25,000 grant from the Leifur Eriksson Foundation.
Some of the funding is used to support Kristinsson and his family (spouse and three kids), who moved to the U.S. with only their suitcases so he could study aphasia with internationally renowned expert, fellow Icelander and COMD professor Julius Fridriksson. The rest of the funding supports Kristinsson’s dissertation project, which focuses on therapeutic effects of certain biographical and neurobiological factors among individuals with aphasia. This communication disorder results from stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and impacts the individual's ability to speak, listen, read and/or write.
Kristinsson had been working as a speech-language pathologist to support patients with neurogenic conditions (e.g., stroke, TBI, Parkinson’s disease) when he decided to pursue a Ph.D. For the past four years, Kristinsson has conducted research in Fridriksson‘s Aphasia Lab. Some of these projects include research on the connection between brain damage and sentence comprehension in individuals with aphasia, how a certain genotype impacts aphasia, and the predictability of prognosis for those with the condition.
Kristinsson attended the University of Iceland, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and literature and a master’s degree in speech-language pathology before working with patients in a clinical setting. He is the recipient of the Norman J. Arnold Doctoral Fellowship, the Webber Doctoral Student Scholarship, and the UofSC Outstanding International Graduate Student Award.
After graduating with a Ph.D. from the Arnold School later this year, Kristinsson will continue his research at the Aphasia Lab as a postdoctoral fellow. His long-term goal is to join an academic institution and lead research projects in his own aphasia laboratory.