2018 Student Fellow Interview

Megan Schliep, MA, CCC-SLP, MPH
Rehabilitation Sciences, 3rd Year Doctoral Student at MGH Institute of Health Professions

Area of Research and Clinical Interest: Aphasia, Neuroplasticity, Predictive Factors of Recovery

University Advisor: Dr. Sofia Vallila-Rohter
Conference Mentor: Dr. JoAnn Silkes

What did you enjoy about attending the ANCDS Annual Meeting as a Student Fellow?
At the 2018 ANCDS conference, I was paired with mentor JoAnn Silkes, who has been a member of the organization for many years.  The opportunity to be paired with a mentor with similar research interests was extremely helpful and allowed me to learn more about the organization, as well as take part in a highly engaging research day.  From the welcome breakfast and luncheon, to the business meeting, to informal conversations throughout the day, I was able to learn about logistical aspects of the organization, as well as fellow members’ research and future work.

Based on your first introduction to ANCDS, what do you feel are the most valuable benefits to students, clinicians, and/or researchers?
As a student, a clinician, and a developing researcher, I feel that ANCDS offers opportunities to connect with others in the field on multiple levels.  From an educational standpoint, the webinars offered throughout the year and the annual conference have provided me with an opportunity to continue my learning on both a practical and theoretical level.  From a professional standpoint, the organization provides a community of researchers with whom to engage.  I look forward to continuing to be a part of ANCDS and to take part in the multiple development opportunities throughout the year.

Describe your current or recent research project.
I am interested in the systematic assessment of language and cognition in aphasia to better predict patient outcomes.  Specifically, I am interested in how an individual’s responsiveness to cueing at multiple time points during acute and post-acute phases following a stroke may offer predictive information about the trajectory of recovery.  It is my goal that this information can inform clinical practice and improve quality of life in individuals with aphasia.

Why were you interested in the above project?
As a speech-language pathologist with a background in neurogenic communication disorders and current PhD student pursuing clinically-based research in language assessment and intervention in aphasia, I am particularly interested in neuroplasticity and language recovery.  My clinical background has informed these research interests, as I spent over eight years of my clinical experience in an acute care hospital working in the Neurosciences ICU, evaluating patients following acute stroke.  I simultaneously completed my Masters in Public Health with a particular interest in healthcare access.  While providing clinical care on daily basis, I became interested in many of the broader issues involving intervention and recovery, including access to services.  This led me to my current work as a PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences, where my research focuses on aphasia assessment and which metrics clinicians obtain in the acute care phase contribute to the next levels of care for individuals with aphasia.