Student Fellow Interview

Jenni Shafer, MS
Doctoral student in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University Advisor: Dr. Katarina Haley
Conference Mentor: Sarah Wallace

What did you enjoy about the ANCDS conference fellow program?
Larger conferences like ASHA are wonderful but can be overwhelming.  ANCDS provided a more intimate venue for learning and networking with people in the field who are currently doing things that spark my interest.  The presenters were engaging and the venue provided the opportunity for more in depth discussion about the various topics presented.

Why would you recommend the ANCDS conference fellow program to future students?
I would recommend the program to future students who are interested in the opportunity to actually meet and discuss current research with their assigned mentors and other presenters, as ANCDS allows for that chance.

Based on this first introduction to ANCDS, what are the benefits?
The conference is a great way to keep abreast of current topics in the field and to network with other people who have the same research interests.

Describe your current or recent research project.
I’m currently working on a proposal to assess informational support needs for caregivers of people with aphasia.  This proposal was inspired by a study I conducted with Paul Shafer (a third year PhD student in Health Policy and Management at UNC) and Dr. Haley to identify access barriers to outpatient rehabilitative care after stroke.  We received interesting feedback in particular regarding caregivers and the role they role during the rehabilitation process.  I was inspired to investigate how we can better support caregivers of people with aphasia using informational supports across the various phases of recovery.