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Arnold School of Public Health

  • SENTAC students

Six speech-language pathology students awarded funding to attend international conference

January 22, 2024 | Erin Bluvas,

Several master’s students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) attended the annual conference for the Society of Ear Nose and Throat Advancement in Children (SENTAC) as they wrapped up their fall semester. All six of the students are enrolled in the department’s M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology program. They are also members of racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the field of speech-language pathology. [Pictured left to right above: Martine Moore, Elysse Trevino, Jasmine Bolar, Nadia Sabeh Ayon, Katlyn Nguyen, Brandon Jackson]

By attending this conference, I was able to network and establish valuable connections with other related health care professionals specializing in pediatrics.

Katlyn Nyugen

“One of our goals as a department is to support students who belong to underrepresented groups,” says Jean Neils-Strunjas. “The speech-language pathology profession is not racially, ethnically and culturally diverse, and we want to change that. We acknowledge that diversity strengthens clinical practice and our ability to serve children and adults who need the services of speech-language pathologists.”

COMD faculty and staff have outlined steps in their strategic plan to achieve this goal. These activities include recruiting individuals from diverse social and economic backgrounds and establishing both an academic scholarship and a mentorship program for underrepresented students.

SENTAC attendees
Students from the M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology program attended the SENTAC annual meeting in Charleston. 

They also keep an eye out for opportunities from other agencies and organizations to support students in their professional development. An announcement was shared with the department chair, who asked Practicum Assistant Amy Nguyen to share the scholarship funding announcement to attend SENTAC’s annual international meeting with students.

Hosted in Charleston, South Carolina in 2023, the SENTAC conference convenes health care professionals from across numerous disciplines who are involved in the care of children with ear, nose and throat, hearing, speech and swallowing disorders. The organization fosters collaboration, diversity and the development of new treatment ideas by bringing together pediatricians, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and other clinicians.

SENTAC’s scholarship program provided up to $1,000 to individuals from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds to offset travel expenses to attend the conference. The three-day meeting included workshops, presentations, Q&A sessions and live demonstrations with hands-on opportunities.

“By attending this conference, I was able to network and establish valuable connections with other related health care professionals specializing in pediatrics,” says Katlyn Nyugen, an alumna of the Arnold School’s B.S. in Public Health program and a second-year student in M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology who helped recruit other students to participate. “With the incorporation of collaboration, I learned new skills through hands-on experiences and specialized workshops. This conference has provided a collaborative experience to prepare me as a future clinician to deliver optimal care for patients.”  


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