Student Fellow Interview

Kristen Ackley, B.A., B.S.
Master’s Student at Pennsylvania State University

University Advisor: Dr. Chaleece Sandberg
Conference Mentor: Jose Centeno

Why were you interested in the ANCDS conference fellow program?
I became interested in this program for a variety of reasons.  First, the topic of this year's conference (TBI) was directly in line with the research I was conducting in my master's program.  Secondly, ANCDS is an organization that promotes evidence-based practice and research for individuals who experience neurologic communication disorders, something that I firmly believe in.  In addition, the ANCDS conference provides students with excellent networking opportunities.

What did you enjoy about the ANCDS conference fellow program?
I enjoyed meeting other students, networking with various researchers, and learning more about TBI in both clinical and research settings across disciplines (e.g., speech-language pathology, occupational therapy).

Why would you recommend the ANCDS conference fellow program to future students?
I would recommend this program to future students because it's a great way to change or expand your perspective on your own research, it's a great chance to network, it promotes intraprofessional collaboration, and it facilitates opportunities for students to ask direct questions about the research.  It's also very inspiring to be in a room surrounded by individuals who are passionate about neurologic communication disorders and reinforces the purpose of research and clinical work with populations who experienced neurologic communication disorders.

Based on this first introduction to ANCDS, what are the benefits?
Students, clinicians, and researchers involved with ANCDS have opportunities to expand their own knowledge and skills as they apply to better serving populations who experience neurologic communication disorders.  ANCDS' mission to promote evidence-based practice supports professionals working with this population by providing resources to facilitate appropriate and effective assessment and intervention approaches.  In addition, ANCDS is an organization composed of students, clinicians, and researchers who understand the practical limitations (e.g., busy schedules) placed on one another and are eager to share information that is relevant and meaningful to individuals who face these same constraints.

Describe your current or recent research project.
I recently completed my master's research project, which I am hoping to submit for publication.  It's a systematic review answering the question: Are the areas of cognition relied on for codeswitching in bilingual populations impaired after mild traumatic brain injury?  Because there is little research in this area currently, my review examined the areas of codeswitching and mTBI individually and then discussed their overlap.

Why were you interested in the above project?
Before I enrolled in my master's program, I had several personal and professional experiences which exposed me to bilingual populations.  Upon learning about TBI in an academic setting, I began to ask questions about bilingualism as it applied to individuals who had experienced TBI.  The completion of my systematic literature review allowed me to answer some of my own questions as well as identify areas of need for future work.