Three SECD students among poster winners at Spring Research Fair

Three SECD students among poster winners at Spring Research Fair

17 Apr 2017    By Kelcey Buck

Two undergraduate students and one graduate student from the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders were selected as winners for their research poster presentations at the 2017 UNL Spring Research Fair hosted April 4-5 at the Nebraska Union. 

Sophomore Christina Hamling and senior Madison Warrick, both speech-language pathology majors, had their research posters selected as two of the top four undergraduate posters from the College of Education and Human Sciences. Each undergraduate winner received a $250 award sponsored by the college. 

Anne Thomas, a Ph.D. candidate in special education, was one of 12 students honored as a top graduate poster at the research fair. As an award, she received a $400 travel grant to present her research at a regional or national conference. It marks the second year in a row that Thomas has been among the graduate research poster winners.

Hamling’s research poster was titled, “Improving the Inter-Professional Relationship between Nurses and Speech-Language Pathologists.” Her research focused on working with nursing students from the Bryan College of Health Sciences to better educate them with basic knowledge of the speech-language pathology field, as well as tips for working with patients who have speech, language, communication, hearing and swallowing disorders.

“I personally was interested in this topic because I think inter-professional collaboration is extremely important to help patients achieve their medical goals in healthcare settings,” Hamling said. “You have to have every person on a healthcare team work together to effectively treat a patient and improve health outcomes. Educating nurses to effectively treat and communicate with individuals who have speech, language, communication, hearing and/or swallowing disorders can potentially ensure these patients have better health outcomes.”

Warrick collaborated with Laura Domet, a psychology major, and Zac Egr, a biology/pre-med major, to win an undergraduate prize for their poster, “Setting the Course for Child Development: Parenting Behaviors and the Early Years.” The trio’s research focused on how positive and/or negative parenting behaviors affect children’s social, emotional and behavioral skills in the school and home settings at the end of one and two years of preschool.

“Early childhood education and intervention is key to so many facets of a student’s education,” Warrick said. “I was especially interested in this population of families. Not only was our sample from low-income households, but they also fell below developmental norms.”

For Thomas, who also serves as a lecturer and the coordinator for the Deaf education program in SECD, her dissertation research topic of “Assessing Parent-Examiner Agreement on Judgments of Infant Vocal Behaviors” blended her interests in early childhood deaf education and assessment. The project aimed to contribute evidence regarding the validity of the Vocal Development Landmarks Interview (VDLI), a parent-report interview that assesses the vocal development of infants ages 6 to 21 months. Particularly, Thomas’s study looked at how well parents and an examiner agreed in their judgments of infant vocal behaviors surveyed on the VDLI.

“I was surprised about how much information we gained from just this one study,” Thomas said. “We started this process with only a few questions, but left it with great insights about our measure, as well as a ton of new questions.”

For all three students – Hamling, Warrick and Thomas – winning a prize at the research fair came as a surprise. All three were also quick to credit their fellow researchers and faculty advisers.

“I just feel so honored to have had the opportunity to work on a project with such amazing researchers – Dr. Mary Pat Moeller and Dr. Sophie Ambrose from Boys Town National Research Hospital, and my adviser, Dr. Christine Marvin,” Thomas said. “This wouldn’t have been possible without them.” 

“We were all very excited,” Warrick said. “We worked really well together all year and it was a nice way to end our time together. We have to thank Dr. Susan Sheridan, Dr. Christine Marvin, Courtney Boise, and all of the other individuals who work on The Getting Ready study, and mentored us through this process.”

“It was my first time presenting a research poster, and I just wanted to do my best to help people understand the importance of improving inter-professional relationships between nurses and speech-language pathologists,” Hamling said. “Undergraduate research is such a rewarding thing to participate in, and I am thankful for all the support and advice from my research adviser, Dr. Kristy Weissling, to receive such an honor.”

Overall, there were more than 200 undergraduate research posters and more than 160 graduate research posters and exhibits at the Spring Research Fair. SECD had students representing 10 undergraduate posters and nine graduate posters at the research fair. To see the complete list of research poster winners, click here

Special Education and Communication Disorders