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Speech Lab staff wins major awards in national research competition

  • (left to right) Jane Ulrey, Ashley Rapp, Skye Gregory-Hatch, Carl Brown, Samantha Radecki, Jeannine Lane

Posted on May 03, 2018

Student consultants and faculty and staff members associated with Grand Valley’s Speech Lab recently won top honors in the three competitive paper competitions at the National Association of Communication Centers (NACC) annual conference in April.

The NACC conference is an event that celebrates and shares progressive research and approaches to operating oral communication centers. Students, faculty and staff members from more than 25 universities around the country presented research for the competition.

“I am thrilled about these accomplishments,” said Carl Brown, Speech Lab director. “When I was hired at Grand Valley, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Fred Antczak said he wanted the Speech Lab to be a site for high-impact research. I’m happy to say we are just that and the nation has taken notice.”

Jeannine Lane, a senior communications studies major, and Jane Ulrey, ’18, won the Bob & Ann Weiss Undergraduate Paper Award for their research that examined the development of relationships between and among staff members at communication centers.

“Research shows that communication centers such as the Speech Lab create better consultant-to-client work when the consultants have strong relationships with one another,” said Lane. “Having an understanding of how our staff relationships work can help guarantee that each Grand Valley student who utilizes our services has a positive, collaborative experience from consultants who truly enjoy the work they do.”

Skye Gregory-Hatch, a graduate student majoring in speech language pathology, won the Huddy-Gunn Graduate Paper Award for her research, which examined best practices for reducing speech anxiety. Specifically, she explored both the fear of being anxious and the fear of public speaking. Her research found that different symptoms require varying approaches, so there is no one sole solution to speech anxiety.

“I wanted to accomplish two goals with my research: to determine how best to treat those who experience public speaking apprehension and to bring to light the actual prevalence of public speaking apprehension,” said Gregory-Hatch. “It’s extremely empowering to not only learn a vast amount of information about a topic you’re passionate about, but to also add to that area of research.”

Carl Brown, Speech Lab director, and Ashley Rapp, Speech Lab student director and consultant, won the Joyce Ferguson Faculty Paper Award for their research examining the impact of consultants in the classroom. Brown and Rapp co-authored their paper along with Patrick Johnson, Melanie Rabine-Johnson, Jennifer Torreano and Adrienne Wallace.