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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders NEWs  page 12

Health and Human Development News



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| Winter 2013-14

you& your health

College of Health and Human Development Dean

Ann C. Crouter

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Outreach Dennis Shea

Interim Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Kathryn Drager

Greetings from the College of Health and Human Development At its heart, our college is focused on improving the quality of human health and the quality of life for people of all ages and backgrounds, as well as training the next generation of leaders in this important area. You can find our faculty members in their laboratories where they might be studying exercise physiology or developmental neuroscience, out in the community where they might be examining quality of life for cancer survivors or conducting an intervention to prevent diabetes, or in the classroom where they share their knowledge every day with future speech pathologists, physicians, experts on children and youth, physical therapists, community health leaders, outdoor educators, hoteliers, dietitians, and hospital administrators. The stories in this magazine will give you a flavor for the wide variety of research going on in the college. We’ve created eight versions with sections specifically tailored to each of our academic units to give readers an opportunity to learn more about what is going on in the part of the college that they remember best. All of the versions of the magazine are available on the web, so if you are curious about what the graduates of other majors are reading, please go to: A magazine is no substitute for what you can learn by returning to campus. Please schedule a visit to Penn State—and to our college—for 2014. You would be welcome to tour our facilities, sit in on a class or two, and soak up the energetic, rejuvenating spirit that Penn State’s incredible students bring with them to everything they do. I look forward to welcoming you back!

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education



Douglas Ford

Director of Development Kathleen Rider

Assistant Dean for Alumni Relations and Special Projects Abigail Diehl

Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Kristi Stoehr

Director of Communications and Creative Services Scott Sheaffer

Senior Designer


Dennis Maney

Science Writer/Editor Sara LaJeunesse

Communications Specialist Jennifer Hicks

Alumni Mentoring Program Coordinator and Staff Assistant for Alumni and College Relations


V. Diane Collins

Warmly, Articles may be reprinted with permission; for more information please contact the Office of Alumni and College Relations at 814-865-3831 or

Ann C. Crouter Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean College of Health and Human Development

For general correspondence, please write to the Office of Alumni and College Relations, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802-6501; e-mail; or visit This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. (HHD14032) U.Ed. HHD 14-032


Special Section: News From Your Department  page 12

you & your fitness nutrition health care relationships


YOU & YOUR Fitness

Exercise for Life

Sayers John Miller, III, assistant professor of kinesiology and former athletic trainer for the San Francisco 49ers, gives tips on how to prevent exercise-related injuries and maintain fitness throughout life. Got knee pain? Plantar fasciitis? IT-band syndrome? Achilles tendinitis? Chances are, if you’re suffering from one of these overuse injuries, you have weak hips, glutes, or abdominals—or all three. According to Miller (featured in the images), weaknesses in these major muscle groups can lead to knees that collapse inward during exercise, a habit that can wreak havoc on the body. “Once you’ve damaged cartilage or torn ligaments, they’re never quite the same,” says Miller. “One of the things we commonly

see is knee, ankle, and lower back pain, and one of the common causes of these types of pain is the inability to control the lower extremities.” To avoid injuries that can squash our hopes of maintaining fitness into old age, Miller says we should regularly dedicate time to strengthening the muscles—hips, gluteals, and abdominals—that control our lower extremities.

Double-Leg Squats

Squats Variations

Keep the knee over the foot and the beltline parallel to the ground (image A) while squatting. A band (image A) can help prevent the knees from collapsing inward (image B).

As you develop strength, begin to do single-leg squats (image C). Another variation is to place an exercise ball against a wall and hold a static squat position (image D).


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Clamshell Leg Lifts

Clamshell Leg Lifts With Band

Lie on your side with knees at right angles. Lift the top knee up, then lower it. This exercise strengthens the glutes and the external rotators of the hip.

When you become stronger, a band can provide additional resistance.

Leg Presses

Leg Presses With Band

Extend one leg at a time while lifting the gluteals and lowering them. This exercise strengthens the gluteal, hamstring, and abdominal muscles.

Doing a leg press with a band around the knees forces you to pull the knees out at the same time you are moving up and down, which emphasizes external rotation of the lower extremity, rather than internal rotation.

Plank Rotations To strengthen the abdominals, position your body parallel to the floor with upper body resting on elbow and forearms and lower body resting on toes. Hold.

To do a side plank, rest on one hand while raising the opposite hand in the air. Balance on sides of feet.

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YOU & YOUR Fitness and Nutrition

I’m Pregnant.

Is it Safe to Exercise? Research consistently shows that exercising while pregnant delivers tremendous health benefits, yet many women avoid exercising because they worry about falling. In a recent study, Danielle Symons Downs, associate professor of kinesiology and obstetrics and gynecology, and Jinger Gottschall, assistant professor of kinesiology, examined whether and how pregnant women’s gaits change as they transition between level and hill surfaces, such as when walking or running outside.

“Most people alter their gait to avoid tripping when walking on uneven ground, but we found that pregnant women adopt an exaggerated gait strategy compared to non-pregnant adults,” says Gottschall. The team concludes that although pregnant women do exaggerate their gaits, walking or jogging outside are generally safe activities. However, if pregnant women do not feel comfortable walking outside, a treadmill or a track are good alternatives.

Visit a Park for Your Health Want to become more physically fit? Head to your local park, says Andrew Mowen, associate professor of recreation, park, and tourism management. “Studies show that people exercise more when they have access to parks,” he says. “They also are less stressed and have fewer anxiety disorders when they visit parks.”

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“Work Out” Your Hot Flashes Menopausal women who exercise may experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following physical activity, according to Steriani Elavsky, associate professor of kinesiology, and colleagues. “Some people think that performing physical activity could increase hot flashes because it increases body temperature,” says Elavsky. “But our research shows that this is not true. On average, the women in our study experienced fewer hot flash symptoms after exercising.”

Binge-Eating Disorders Roughly four million Americans regularly binge eat to the point of feeling sick. Repeated bingeing on fatty food may change patterns of neural signaling in the brain in a manner similar to that which occurs during drug use, according to research on rats conducted by Professor of Nutritional Neuroscience Rebecca Corwin. “These changes in the brain could perpetuate the bingeing behavior and may explain why binge-eating disorder is so difficult to treat,” she says. “What’s particularly interesting is that only rats with restricted access to a fatty treat a few times a week will binge on the treat. Rats that get to eat a little of the treat every day don’t binge and don’t show the same changes.”

Symptoms of Binge-Eating Disorder Provided by the Mayo Clinic

• Eating unusually large amounts of food • Eating even when you’re full or not hungry • Eating rapidly during binge episodes • Eating until you’re uncomfortably full • Frequently eating alone • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control • Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty, or upset about your eating • Losing and gaining weight repeatedly, also called yo-yo dieting If you or a loved one has any symptoms of binge-eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible.

For Healthy Weight Loss, Ditch the Diet The Atkins Diet, the Paleolithic Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet. Some of us have tried every fad diet out there in an attempt to lose weight and keep it off. Yet, according to Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, people might have better success if they think NOT in terms of dieting, but rather on eating healthful foods over their lifetime. “That means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, skim-milk dairy products, lean meats, and a small amount of liquid vegetable oil,” says Kris-Etherton. “It also means avoiding high-calorie snacks. Certainly they can be incorporated in small amounts in a healthy diet, but if you focus on eating the healthier foods, you might naturally eat fewer sweets and treats.” Kris-Etherton says if you feel you really need the structure of a diet, check out the research-based DASH Diet, which emphasizes eating healthful foods in three meals and two snacks a day. Kris-Etherton recently served on a panel of scientists that ranked the diet at the top of the list in a U.S. News & World Report diet ranking.

Take a dip Can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables? Try offering the veggies with a side of dip. Research by Jennifer Savage Williams, associate director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research, showed that more kids like vegetables when they are paired with a yummy dip compared to vegetables without a dip. “Just because children refuse to taste a vegetable doesn’t mean they don’t like it,” Savage says. “It’s foreign—the key is to try to get them to taste it in a positive light.”

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YOU & YOUR Nutrition

Nutrition Concerns in your

20s, 40s, & 60s As we age, our calorie needs and nutrient requirements change. Lynn Parker Klees, instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, shares tips on how to eat healthfully in your 20s, 40s, and 60s.

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You may be working long hours, making new friends and dating, and possibly getting married and having children. Life is unpredictable, yet grabbing meals on the go often means taking in more calories and fewer nutrients. • When eating in restaurants, take half of the portion home. • Aim to have fruits and vegetables constitute half of your plate at lunch and dinner. • Substitute fruit for dessert most of the time. • When you need a quick meal, pick up healthy convenience foods like rotisserie chicken, instant brown rice, and frozen vegetables. • Reduce sugar-sweetened beverages and substitute water or no-calorie beverages. • Moderate alcohol consumption—one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men.


Life is hectic and you may not notice your metabolism starting to slow down. Watch out for increased belly fat as a result of dropping estrogen levels for women and long hours sitting for both men and women. • Find ways to add movement during the day. Get up early to go to the gym, take off during your lunch break to walk or bicycle, or jog or walk around the soccer field during your kids’ games. • Add strength training to slow the inevitable loss of muscle mass with aging. • Calorie needs drop as we get older. Cut 100 calories a day from your pre-40 diet. For every decade after 40, we need about 1 percent fewer calories, or the equivalent of a cookie. • Limit extra fats and sugars to about 100-150 calories per day.


You may be looking forward to increasing your physical activity in retirement or you may be slowing down due to injuries or chronic health problems. Despite your fitness level, your calorie needs have decreased while your nutrient needs have stayed the same or increased. • If you live alone, try to halve recipes or freeze in small portions for later use to avoid eating spoiled leftovers. • As we age, our thirst mechanism decreases but our fluid needs are maintained. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. • People in their 60s need more protein to maintain their muscles. Choose lean meats, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu, and eat them throughout the day. • Beware of losing too much weight. People who are underweight and undernourished don’t fare as well when faced with illness and injury.


Percentage of Americans who are overweight.


Percentage of Americans who are projected to be obese, not just overweight, by 2030.

Source: Gordon Jensen, professor and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences

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YOU & YOUR Health care

The Affordable Care Act: A Primer One in seven Americans does not have health insurance. When they do, the average family’s health insurance costs more than $15,000 per year. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which was signed into law in 2010, promises to increase and improve health insurance coverage and reduce the cost of health care. How will this benefit you? According to Pamela Farley Short, professor of health policy and administration, it depends on who you are. Below, Short summarizes the primary provisions of Phase I and II of the Affordable Care Act, as it has evolved with Supreme Court decisions, stateby-state decisions about participation, and the Obama administration’s interpretation and implementation of the law.

Phase I (now in effect ) Insurer Limitations Preventive Care Prescription Drugs Young People Small Businesses Lifetime Limits Pre-Existing Conditions High-Risk Patients

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Insurers are limited in how they spend premium dollars; if too little goes into health care for their customers, they must give some of it back through rebates. No additional costs for preventive care, like screenings and vaccinations, for anyone with health insurance. People on Medicare who use a lot of prescription drugs pay less for them. Young people can stay on their parents’ policies up to age 26. Some small businesses get tax breaks to help them buy insurance for their employees. No more lifetime limits on health insurance. Insurance companies can’t turn kids down because of pre-existing conditions, like asthma and diabetes. High-risk pools supported by the government were set up to cover the sickest of the uninsured, even before the big expansions in health insurance scheduled for 2014.

Phase II (effective as of January 1, 2014) Medicaid

States have the option of expanding Medicaid to cover all low-income people, with the federal government picking up the entire cost for three years and then slowly shifting 10 percent to the states by 2020. Because of the Supreme Court ruling, states also have the option of leaving Medicaid unchanged and poor people uninsured.

Low-income Families

Tax credits are available to offset health insurance costs of anyone without Medicaid or access to affordable employment-based health insurance if their family income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line (between $23,000 and $94,000 for a family of four). Lower-income families in this range get more help than higher-income families.

Marketplace Exchange

People with no option to get health insurance through work can buy it through an online marketplace, organized by their state or by the federal government on behalf of their state.

No Rejections

Insurers cannot turn people down or charge them more if they are sick.

Insurance Requirement Large Businesses

Everyone is required to have insurance. Those who don’t must pay a special tax that is relatively small in 2014 but increases in subsequent years. Starting in 2015, larger businesses will pay special taxes if they don’t insure their full-time workers.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation was an important source of information in compiling these lists.

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YOU & YOUR Relationships

How to connect with kids at any age Greg Fosco, assistant professor of human development and family studies and the Karl R. and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professor for the Study of Families, explains two of the most important ways parents can connect with their kids. Focus on positive behavior—Rather than focus on corrective feedback and nagging, parents can praise their kids’ good behavior, notice their successes, and make a point of helping them understand when they are meeting expectations or behaving appropriately. Strive for a ratio of three praises for every one corrective statement. Be a good listener—Children’s disclosures provide a range of opportunities for parents, such as problem-solving difficult peer interactions or learning about challenges their children are having with classwork. Parents are wise to take advantage of any opportunity to learn with whom their children are spending time and what happens while they are unsupervised. The most skillful parents are non-reactive listeners who ask questions like, “What happened next?” or “How did you respond?” or “Was that scary?” which can help kids open up.

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“Should I allow my teenager to drink alcohol at home?”


“Many parents believe if they provide alcohol early it takes the mystery away and their kids are less likely to drink outside the home, but research shows that when the first drink is provided within the home, kids are more likely to drink more heavily and frequently,” says Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health.

39.8 million

Caring For Older Family Members 39.8 million. That’s the number of Americans over age 15 who provided unpaid care to someone over age 65 during a three-month period in 2012, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies Steven Zarit gives some tips on how to manage the stress of caring for aging family members: • Get the information you need. Information about your relative’s condition and the options you have for providing care will help a lot. • Connect with other caregivers in a support group or on-line chat, share ideas about what works, and give support to one another. • Ask for help when you need it. • Get regular breaks from caregiving. My research has shown that adult day service programs have therapeutic benefits for their clients, while also reducing stress and improving well-being of caregivers. • If you feel upset and don’t know what to do, a social worker or psychologist with training in caregiving can be very helpful.

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What’s That, You Say? The Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic at Penn State helps people with their communication challenges.

Trip. Fall. Crash. Smash. When Terri Foster’s face slammed into the dresser at the nursing home where she worked, her life changed forever. The blow injured the frontal lobe of her brain, leaving her forgetful, depressed, and barely able to communicate. A year later, Foster still could not function. She lost her job as a nurse’s aide; she was unable to do simple chores at home; and her stuttering prevented her from having meaningful conversations. Her family suffered too. Her husband mourned the loss of the woman he had married, and her 10-year-old son couldn’t understand why his mom never wanted to get out of bed. Foster knew she needed help, but she wasn’t getting it from doctors. It wasn’t until she began therapy at the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders that she truly began to heal.

Constance Kossan (left) and Terri Foster (right) reflect on their work together to restore Foster’s communication skills.

According to Gordon Blood, professor and head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the clinic provides assessments and interventions for people with delays or disorders in hearing, language, fluency, voice, articulation, and phonology, including those with severe speech impairments requiring augmentative and alternative communication. Such communication impairments, he says, may result from developmental delays; congenital disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, hearing impairment, autism, or cerebral palsy; or acquired disabilities such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The clinic also provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to get hands-on experience as well as a laboratory for faculty members to conduct research.

Individual Attention for Patients A child who can’t pronounce the letter “L,” a teenager who stutters, a stroke victim who can’t find the right word, an older person who is hard of hearing. People come to the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic for a variety of reasons, but no matter why they come, they are given individual attention and the highest quality, research-based care.

“I was tired of people telling me they couldn’t help,” says Foster. “But when I finally went to the Penn State clinic, Connie [Constance Kossan, instructor in communication sciences and disorders] said she could help.” According to Kossan, the clinicians assess each individual who comes in, looking, in particular, for communication weaknesses as well as strengths. “Often we are able to restore function, but when this is not possible we must help them compensate for the skills they’ve lost by capitalizing on their strengths,” says Kossan. “For example, if a person has difficulty expressing himself through speech because of a stroke or head injury, while that person is working on improving his speech we may help him increase his use of gestures or writing.” Kossan and some of the other clinicians worked with Foster twice a week for three years. “I would start sentences and not complete them, and I would stutter through all of it,” says Foster. “Connie and the other clinicians helped me to slow down and finish each word and finish a thought. I got rid of the stuttering in just a few months. What was harder to deal with was the memory loss, but Connie helped me learn to take notes and make lists.” While she was in therapy at the clinic, Foster completed training to become a certified phlebotomist. She now works as a certified phlebotomist at Mount Nittany Medical Center, and she says if it weren’t for the help she received at the clinic, she may still be lying in bed or even living in a nursing home.

Paul Hazi (2)

After suffering for a year, Terri Foster finally began to feel hopeful about her situation when she started attending therapy sessions at the clinic. Terri Foster credits the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic with helping her obtain a new career as a phlebotomist.

“We like to look at each person holistically. It’s not just you and your disorder, it’s you trying to cope and live your life.” - Constance Kossan Dan Silverman is another patient of the clinic who feels he has received the individual attention he has needed to cope with his communication challenge—hearing loss. In May of 1987, Silverman, then a 52-year-old professor of history at Penn State, was in his office with a student. All of a sudden he began to shake. His body temperature quickly rose to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. He raced to the emergency room, where he immediately slipped into a coma. A week later, Silverman woke up, but the severe bout of meningitis he had suffered stripped him of much of his hearing. “I didn’t realize right away how my hearing had been affected,” he says. “A friend of mine who knew how much I liked classical music brought me some cassette tapes and headphones. I put the headphones on and turned on the switch and all I could hear was this terrible jumble of noise. I couldn’t tell whether it was Beethoven or the Beatles. It was just racket.”

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Paul Hazi (2)

Judith Creuz is the director of the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic.

Since 1987, Silverman has been fitted for three pairs of hearing aids by clinicians in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic. “The level of expertise is very high and I am confident they are fitting me with correct hearing aids,” he says. According to Judith Creuz, director of the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic, only 25 percent of people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids actually get them. Many people try them, but abandon them for various reasons, many of which could be fixed if they get the proper attention from an audiologist in fitting and adjusting them.

“As I learn more about hearing loss, I have realized that it affects me socially,” she says. “I talk too much about myself, which I’ve learned is a common characteristic of hearing impaired people. It’s because when you talk about yourself you’re controlling the conversation, so it’s easier for you. I get annoyed with myself and think, why didn’t I listen more? But now I know it’s a trait of hearing-impaired people.”

Real-World Experiences for Students Like Creuz, whose hearing impairment has influenced the way she interacts with others in social situations, Kyra Englert was beginning to alter her behavior as a result of her communication challenges. When Kyra started kindergarten at Sugar Valley Rural Charter School in Loganton, Pa., she had difficulty pronouncing many of the letters in the alphabet—so much so that no one, other than her parents, could understand what she was saying.

“Hearing aids are nothing like normal hearing, but they have come a long way in recent years,” says Creuz. “They now work with a device called a streamer that can interface via Bluetooth with a cell phone, mp3 player, or television. This streamer, for example, can help people with hearing loss to watch television with the rest of the family without having to increase the volume beyond the comfort level of others.”

“She didn’t talk much at school because she was afraid people wouldn’t understand her; I felt so bad for her,” says Misty Snook, Kyra’s mother.

Creuz, herself, has worn a hearing aid in one ear since she was a child and lost part of her hearing after contracting mumps.

Following a speech-language assessment and consultation with Kyra’s mother and teacher, Kyra began receiving speech-language

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Foreground: Graduate student Miranda Padilla works with Kyra Snook on the elementary-school student’s pronunciation. Background: Graduate student Kelsey Danylko works with London Walizer.

therapy at school. Speech-language services at Sugar Valley—organized and supervised by Barbara Roberts, instructor in communication sciences and disorders—have been provided on a contract basis to the school since 2000 as a result of a law mandating that public schools provide support for children with disabilities. According to Roberts, the clinic at Sugar Valley not only helps children, but it also helps graduate students in communication sciences and disorders. “All graduate students are required to accrue clinical hours as mandated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association,” says Roberts. “Most of our graduate students get some school experience at Sugar Valley before they go off campus. It fulfills their obligation of getting practical experience and, overwhelmingly, I hear that they have enjoyed the experience.” Miranda Padilla, a second-year master’s student, spent the spring 2013 semester working with children at Sugar Valley. “I had only ever had the opportunity to work in an urban school setting and after working in a rural setting, I saw that many of the same issues in education and communication exist across so many different settings of diverse populations,” Padilla says. “The experience

has taught me that communication, speech, and language services know no boundaries. Each student and his or her needs are so different; it is about connecting with that individual student and it is in working with his or her strengths that you achieve success.” Padilla worked closely with Kyra during her time at Sugar Valley. “Kyra had such a unique and individual personality,” she says. “When we first met, she was shy and extremely quiet, but by the end of the semester I had the opportunity to experience her sweet sense of humor and incredible work ethic. She was constantly driven to succeed, and each week she improved. I saw how proud she was with how far she had come. By the end of the semester, her speaking was clearer and she was much more conversational.” “Barb and the students worked so hard with Kyra,” Snook says. “Now you can pretty much understand everything she says. I’ve noticed she’s way more comfortable. She’ll talk all the time, even around people she doesn’t know. And she doesn’t have behavior issues anymore, whereas before she would get mad and upset when we couldn’t understand her.” At Sugar Valley, Barb and the students screen all incoming kindergartners for speech issues. “By age 3.5, kids should be reasonably

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Kelsey Danylko uses an augmentative and alternative communication device to help Tiffany Spearing with her communication difficulties.

well understood by people outside the family,” says Roberts. “If they aren’t, they could benefit from therapy.” Currently, Roberts and the graduate students work with some 60 children at the school.

opmental disorder not otherwise specified)—which is given to individuals with difficulty communicating and interacting with others, but who do not meet the full criteria for a diagnosis of autism.

Back on campus, undergraduate students also gain experience from the clinic.

“Sam’s communication was limited, and he became frustrated when his attempts to communicate were not understood,” says Kathryn Drager, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and interim associate dean for research and graduate education in HHD. “He could use about ten words and a few signs, but the majority of his communication was through non-symbolic means, such as sitting in his dinner chair to indicate hunger or playing with the button on the remote to watch TV. He did not usually interact with his peers, and preferred to sit and watch them play.”

“To prepare for graduate study in CSD, they must accrue 25 hours of clinical observation,” says Kossan. “This can be done in a variety of settings—for example in acute-care settings, in the schools, or in private practice—but the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic is one excellent choice for them. Undergraduates are required in the introductory class CSD 146 to come into our clinic and observe a therapy session and write a reaction paper.” While the clinic helps patients get the care they need and helps students get the experience they need, it also serves as a living laboratory for faculty members to conduct research.

Sam’s parents brought him into the clinic for an AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) assessment, which is the term for the various tools and approaches used to enhance communication. Examples of AAC include word approximations, gestures, signs, communication boards with pictures, and speech-generating computers.

Sam (name changed to protect privacy) was five years old when his parents brought him to the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic. He had been diagnosed with PDD–NOS (pervasive devel-

“He was then referred to my research project, and his parents signed a consent form for his participation,” says Drager. As part of the research project, we were able to trial a speech-generating

A Living Laboratory for Researchers

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Paul Hazi (2)

Sugar Valley Rural Charter School is located in Loganton, Pa.

device and then make a recommendation to his parents about what type of AAC device would be appropriate. If an AAC device is required, then some source of funding is needed. That can be from the families’ personal funds, through their private health insurance, the school system, or an agency such as Medicare.”

also see that the next steps were taking place and know that things didn’t end with the report. And we were able to add a participant to our research study to help us answer what we felt was an important question. Most importantly, the child and his family received individual attention and specialized services.”

Drager trialed a dynamic-display speech-generating device that allowed Sam to interact with others using a variety of displays that he could access through a touch screen. These displays were primarily digital photos of the activities that he was involved in. For example, Drager took a photograph of him playing with a toy garage, and programmed the device to say words and phrases when he touched certain parts of the image.

According to Blood, the clinic serves as a wonderful opportunity to see a problem with a real human being and ask, “What can I do to help improve that person’s life?”

“Sam’s expressive language significantly increased with the use of a high-tech voice output communication system, and he demonstrated the ability to learn new symbols to be incorporated into his daily communication repertoire,” says Drager. “The increased number of symbols gave Sam an opportunity to better express himself, and this was beneficial to him by reducing frustration associated with communication breakdowns.”

“That’s where the research ideas flow from,” he said. “We start backwards with the long-term outcome and say, ‘I would love to see this person able to function in the classroom, to be gainfully employed, and to have a social network around her for the rest of her life.’ That’s where the research starts from, this long-term objective to enhance and improve the quality of people’s lives.” To learn more about how you can benefit from services at the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic, go to

“We feel that the experience was beneficial for all parties,” she adds. “The clinicians were able to complete an assessment, but

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Paul Hazi

18 | Health and Human Development

Professors’ Philanthropy Does Double-Duty to Help Those in Need Janice Light’s research focuses on helping people with autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other special needs who have limited or no speech. By making generous donations to the Augmentative Communication Fund in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Hintz Family Chair and Distinguished Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders also has helped others who make it their goal to assist individuals with communication difficulties. One of Light’s research projects—funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and conducted in collaboration with her husband David McNaughton, professor of education at Penn State—involves the development, implementation, and evaluation of an intervention program to teach individuals with complex communication needs literacy skills. “The curriculum is intended to meet the needs of those that are hardest to serve—individuals with autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other special needs who have limited or no speech,” said Light. “Most of the available literacy curricula require learners to produce spoken responses, so they are not appropriate for learners with limited or no speech. Yet the development of literacy skills is essential for this population to increase educational achievement, expand vocational options, enhance communication, and expand social networks.” According to Light, results of the literacy intervention that she and McNaughton developed have been positive. “Participants with a wide range of special needs and a wide range of ages who were previously non-literate have learned to read and type as a result of the intervention,” she said. “We wanted to be able to share the literacy intervention program worldwide so that many children and adults with special needs could benefit. We developed a website [] to help translate the research to practice; the website receives more than 40,000 visitors per year worldwide. We also wanted to make the curricular materials readily available to those who were interested, and we worked with DynaVox Technologies/Mayer Johnson, the largest assistive technology manufacturer, to do so. We decided to donate the royalties from these materials to the Augmentative Communication Fund in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.” The money donated to the Augmentative Communication Fund supports a wide array of teaching, research, and outreach activities with the ultimate goal of enhancing communication and improving outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs who have limited or no speech and require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) (e.g., signs, communication boards, speech-generating technologies). These activities include, for example: (a) small grants to support student research in AAC; (b) monies to support student travel to national conferences to present research in AAC; (c) funds to buy state-of-the-art assistive technologies to support service delivery for individuals who require AAC; and (d) funds to support invited presentations from nationally recognized leaders in AAC. “There have been so many people who supported us along the way in our research to enhance communication and improve outcomes for individuals who require AAC, including donors, grants, colleagues, and most of all the individuals who required AAC who participated in our research and their families,” said Light. “We greatly appreciate this support and we wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and, in turn, support others who are trying to effect positive changes in the lives of those with the most complex communication needs.” ■

Light recognized with President’s Award for academic integration Janice Light has been awarded the 2013 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration from Penn State. The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment, and service. Light initiated the AAC assessment and intervention program at the Penn State Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic. This program serves individuals with significant communication disabilities and their families to improve functional communication, enhance participation in society, and maximize overall quality of life. She also provides support to a wide range of local and state agencies and school districts concerning the delivery of evidence-based AAC services. Light is editor of the journal Augmentative and Alternative Communication. She has made more than 200 scholarly presentations at universities, seminars, and conferences around the world. She earned a Ph.D. degree at the University of Toronto in 1990 and joined the faculty at Penn State the same year.

< David McNaughton, Professor of Education, and Janice Light, Hintz Family Chair and Distinguished Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Winter 2013-14 | 19

It was with great pride that Will Martin ‘13 CSD, the 2013 overall chairperson for THON, announced last February that Penn State students had raised $12.37 million, an amount that shattered the previous year’s record of $10.36 million. A yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer, THON culminates in a 48-hour dance marathon—known as THON weekend—held at the Bryce Jordan Center. “THON weekend was an incredible experience,” said Martin. “It was so inspiring to see thousands of students come together for one cause. The weekend reflected hours upon hours of work put in by the THON community. I was so proud to announce the year’s total because it was a reflection of those efforts. THON continues to amaze the world as we take strides to conquer pediatric cancer.” Prior to THON weekend, if you asked Martin what he was up to, chances are he was sorting out last-minute details for THON weekend. For example, he may have been investigating who would provide security at the dance marathon, how frequently the bathrooms would be cleaned, or which donors planned to visit. Then again, he might have been meeting with President Erickson to give the latest updates on preparations for THON weekend, attending a meeting of the advisory board of the Four Diamonds Fund, or talking with reporters about his hopes for the fundraising effort. As overall chairperson for the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, Martin had these types of tasks and more to deal with. Yet through all of the meetings, some of which extended into the wee hours of the morning, and all of the myriad fundraising tasks, he managed to excel outside of THON—in his courses, in his research, and in his preparations for a future career as a speech-language pathologist. In particular, he conducted research on language and socialcognitive development in preschoolers. Specifically, with his

20 | Health and Human Development

adviser Carol Miller, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, he investigated children’s abilities to manage information and action so as to produce the right response at the right time. The team also examined “theory of mind,” or the understanding that people have mental states (thoughts, beliefs, desires, etc.), that these mental states motivate their behavior, and that different people can have different mental states about the same thing (e.g., Even though I don’t like carrots I can understand that you do and would eat a carrot if given the choice). In addition, they investigated different ways of measuring language ability in children. “We tested preschoolers in two age groups, roughly 3 1/2 years old to 4 years old and 4 1/2 years old to 5 years old, to see how the younger and older groups differ in terms of their language and social-cognitive abilities,” said Martin, who helped with all phases of the research project, including training the other lab assistants; coordinating schedules; and collecting, scoring, and recording data. While Martin’s coursework and research set him on the path to attend graduate school with an ultimate goal of becoming a speech-language pathologist, it was his experience running THON that convinced him this was the right path. “Serving as overall chairperson for THON reinforced that I want to work with people,” said Martin, who added that he is particularly interested in helping adults who have lost their ability to communicate to relearn communication skills. “I’ve learned that having strong relationships with your coworkers, colleagues, clients, supporters, and members is a huge part of the success of any operation. THON has taught me how to work with different people from different backgrounds and different experiences. When you respect people and have a strong relationship with them you’re going to succeed.” Martin was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh’s Speech-Language Pathology graduate program. He began coursework there this fall. ◆

Penn State News

Excelling on—and off—the THON dance floor

Krista Wilkinson named editor of American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology Krista Wilkinson, professor of communication sciences and disorders, has been named editor of the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. The mission of the journal, which has been online-only since 2010, is to report peer-reviewed, primary research findings concerning an array of clinically oriented topics transcending all aspects of clinical practice in speechlanguage pathology. Wilkinson’s research focuses on language development and augmentative and alternative communication intervention in individuals with severe intellectual/developmental disabilities. In much of her early work, she examined how vocabulary instruction can be improved through an understanding of processes of early word learning in children with and without disabilities. Krista Wilkinson

Her current research examines how to improve the design of augmentative and alternative communication displays. Through applications of the tools of neuroscience and cognitive sciences, Wilkinson seeks to understand how individuals with severe disabilities perceive and understand the visual information presented on visual augmentative and alternative communication displays. The resulting information can help improve clinical services by permitting clinicians to tailor the design of the communication system to the visualcognitive processing skills of individuals who use them. Wilkinson has published over 45 peer-reviewed publications and multiple book chapters and other invited papers. She served as associate editor for the American Journal of Speech Language Pathology from 2004 to 2010 and for Augmentative and Alternative Communication from 2007 to 2009. Two of her publications have received the editor’s award for most significant contribution to Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Wilkinson has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health. In addition to serving as a faculty member at Penn State, she is an adjunct associate scientist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center. She received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and cognitive sciences from Brown University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from Georgia State University. n

Winter 2013-14 | 21

Faculty Profile: Jimin Lee Jimin Lee joined the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in January 2013 as an assistant professor. She was a visiting research professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in speech-language pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has clinical experiences as a speech-language pathologist at the Pediatric Voice Clinic and Craniofacial Anomalies/Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison.

Danielle Kocjancic and Kathleen Slay, studentathletes from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, were among 68 Penn State student-athletes to have been selected for the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for earing a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.

Lee’s teaching goal is to provide students with a clear and in-depth understanding of speech mechanism and its development in children as well as clinical application of this knowledge. Her broad research goal is to examine and expand the foundational science and principles of speech production and clinical application of those to speakers with speech disorders. Her research interests include investigating relationships between articulatory acoustics and kinematics; longitudinal developmental patterns of phonatory, velopharyngeal, and articulatory speech subsystems and their control in children with motor speech disorders; identification of comprehensive production variables that predict speech intelligibility in young children with speech disorders; velopharyngeal function in children’s speech; and phonetic interaction in second-language learners. Her current study focuses on the relationship between articulatory acoustic and kinematic vowel space with an emphasis on the range of tongue movement by using the electromagnetic articulography in healthy adults. She has extensively performed longitudinal and cross-sectional studies in children with dysarthria secondary to cerebral palsy to examine their developmental speech characteristics and to test their speech intelligibility predictors with a multi-speech subsystem approach.

Danielle Kocjancic (senior), Women’s Cross Country

College Marshal: Rebecca Miller

Kathleen Slay (senior), Women’s Volleyball

22 | Health and Human Development

Penn State Athletics (2)

Rebecca Miller served as the student marshal at the May 4, 2013, commencement ceremony for the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State. She received a bachelor’s degree in CSD and minors in human development and family studies and in dance. During her undergraduate years at Penn State, she maintained a 4.00 grade-point average. She also received a President’s Freshman Award, a President Sparks Award, an Evan Pugh Junior Award, and an Evan Pugh Senior Award from Penn State. In addition to her achievements in class, Miller was a member and student director of the University Dance Company and a member of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and the Health and Human Development Honor Society. She also conducted research on the use of visual supports in communication and education, was a teaching assistant, and was a volunteer at Dragonfly Forest Summer Camp. Miller entered the Speech-Language Pathology master’s degree program at the University of Pittsburgh last fall.

Paul Hazi

Two CSD Student-Athletes Honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars

Credit: Laura Stocker Waldhier

Affiliate Program Group (APG) Update Alumni shared their knowledge and experiences with current students in the “Alumni in the Classroom” events throughout the spring and fall semesters, and now the CSD APG is organizing an “Alumni in the Classroom” event for spring 2014. Alumni who are interested in speaking to a class should contact Doris Golebiewski at or

The APG continues to build and strengthen relationships with current students, alumni, and faculty and staff members through Facebook, LinkedIn, and email communications. The APG recently established a CSD APG email address, The APG also is in the process of updating the CSD APG website to make it more user-friendly.

Every semester, the CSD APG holds networking events for undergraduate and graduate students. These twohour events provide the opportunity for students to learn about “real-world” experiences as well as get answers to any and all types of questions. It also allows the students to provide feedback about how alumni can help them during their undergraduate and graduate careers.

CSD alumni gathered at the Pennsylvania SpeechLanguage-Hearing Association’s annual convention in Harrisburg, PA, in April. In addition, alumni gathered for the HHD Alumni Tailgate, which took place on October 12 during Homecoming 2013. The Social/ Professional Committee is currently organizing events in your area… so stay tuned!

The CSD APG currently is coordinating an APGdriven mentoring program for both undergraduate and graduate students. To learn about the College of Health and Human Development’s Mentoring Program and/or to become a mentor to a CSD undergraduate student, visit

Please be sure to keep your contact information updated with the Penn State Alumni Association at

The College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society is currently seeking nominations for its alumni awards. For more information on the awards and to nominate deserving CSD alumni, please visit

Connect with the Affiliate Program Group at, on Facebook at “Penn State CSD Alumni”, and on LinkedIn at “Penn State CSD Alumni”. For more information about the CSD APG, contact the president, Doris Golebiewski ’05 CSD, at or






Winter 2013-14 | 23

Older adults learn to Skype with help from Penn State students The moment she laid eyes on her beautiful great-granddaughter Sallee Wilkins knew she was in love…with Skype. “My great-granddaughter lives in Italy, and I only get to see her maybe once a year,” said Wilkins, “but with Skype I can watch her grow up.” Wilkins is one of 26 residents of The Village at Penn State, a State College retirement community, to receive a Skype lesson from volunteers Amanda Gresh, undergraduate student in health policy and administration, and Courtney Polenick, graduate student in human development and family studies, since January 2013. The student volunteers decided to teach older adults at The

24 | Health and Human Development

Village to use Skype after learning of their interest in such help from Amy Lorek, research and outreach associate with the Center for Healthy Aging. The center conducts and supports research, outreach, and educational activities focused on promoting health and well-being from early adulthood into later-life. “It’s important to stay connected, whether it is with family or by participating in the community,” said Lorek. “Students and older adults have much to teach each other. Student volunteer opportunities help facilitate conversations between generations and strengthen our connection and sense of community. We can be a happier, healthier community with that exchange. This project helps to connect students to community members while also connecting community members with their families.”

< Penn State students Amanda Gresh (left) and Courtney Polenick (right) help Annetta Pierce (middle), a resident at The Village at Penn State, learn to Skype. Lorek introduced Gresh and Polenick to Kellie Vogt, a resident of The Village and self-described “techy,” who helped the students to train other interested residents. “I’ve always had a knack for solving tech-related problems,” said Vogt. “When dining with fellow residents, I often hear comments like, ‘I can’t get my email,’ or ‘My daughter replaced my old printer with a new one, but I don’t know how it works.’ I leave the meal thinking, ‘I could fix that.’” Vogt’s own children and grandchildren live out of state, so she has experienced firsthand the joy of visiting with them via Skype. “Since my oldest son, his wife, and his three children moved to Wyoming last year, I’ve toured their new home and visited with them on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, all via Skype,” she said. “The face-to-face conversation that Skype enables  is superior to a phone call, text message, or email.”

Nancy Gamble, a resident at The Village at Penn State, talks about how her lessons in Skype enabled her to talk with family members while they were on vacation in Mexico.

Room Service Since January, the team has been meeting with residents of The Village in their homes to give them one-on-one tutorials in Skype. In March, Gresh and Polenick met with Annetta Pierce and Mary Gundel ’46 PH ED, ’53 M.Ed., the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth residents to receive the training. The students were greeted at the door of the apartment by the women’s toy poodle and were quickly welcomed inside. Pierce, a former Harrisburg School District guidance counselor, was particularly interested in using Skype to talk with her nephew and his family in Camden, Maine. “We visit him in Maine from time to time, but it would be so nice to see him more frequently,” she said. The Penn State students quickly got to work showing Pierce how to operate Skype. They then helped her practice dialing out and receiving calls. When they were finished with the lesson, they left the women with a handout containing step-by-step instructions and an invitation to contact them if they had questions.

and we couldn’t go, so we Skyped with them. They could pick up their laptops and show us around the apartment where they were staying and around the pool and beach. One daughter I talk to almost every week by Skype.” “I thought I couldn’t learn how to do it,” said Wilkins, “but slowly I am learning, and if I can learn anybody can.” But of all those involved, the students have, perhaps, benefitted the most. “Skype opens up the opportunity for people to have more face-to-face communication with their families,” said Polenick, who is studying adult development and aging with a focus on family relationships. “By participating in this volunteer work I hope to understand the potential for Skype to assist in maintaining and enhancing family relationships.” Gresh, too, is interested in working with older adults in her future career. Her goal is to become a nursing home administrator. “I’ve always felt at home working with older adults,” she said. “I really appreciate the wisdom they have to share.”

The residents who have participated with Gresh, Polenick, and Vogt in the Skype program each have their own story to tell about how they have benefitted.

Both students, as well as Vogt, plan to continue to help other residents of The Village learn to use Skype.

“I have used it to reconnect with a couple of my high school friends,” said Nancy Gamble ’52 H EC, ’55g CD FR. “Also, at Christmas time, our kids were going to Mexico

“The program is such a wonderful way for older adults to stay connected with their families,” said Gresh. “It feels really good to be able to help them do this.” n

Winter 2013-14 | 25

Biobehavioral Health Building Dedication Food, music, and cheerful chatter filled the halls and meeting spaces of the Biobehavioral Health Building on September 12, when faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends gathered to dedicate the new building. The event began with remarks from Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development; Rodney A. Erickson, president; and Paul H. Silvis â&#x20AC;&#x2122;06g BUS, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. Following the presentations, guests were given a chance to tour the building, peruse posters describing faculty and student research, and listen to live music by the band Pure Cane Sugar. Photos taken by Paul Hazi Photography

Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center Dedication Philanthropist Edna Bennett Pierce ’53 H EC has supported prevention research at Penn State for nearly two decades. The college recently honored her transformational support by naming the Prevention Research Center in her honor. A dinner was held on September 13, 2013, to commemorate the dedication of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Bennett Pierce’s longstanding support of the center began in 1994 when she and her late husband, C. Eugene Bennett ’52 SCI, endowed the Edna Peterson Bennett Faculty Chair in Prevention Research, held by Mark T. Greenberg, founding director of the center. Edna continued her support by establishing the Bennett Endowment for Children and Adolescents and the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Prevention Research. The Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center serves as a catalyst for the development and implementation of collaborative projects among Penn State faculty and Pennsylvania community members. The Prevention Research Center’s purpose is to promote healthy social and emotional development and to prevent problems Ann C. Crouter, dean, Ednafailure Bennett and Mark Greenberg, founding of social and academic in Pierce, children and youth.

director of the Prevention Research Center.

A. Duer “Bud” Pierce and Edna Bennett Pierce

Celebration of Scholarship Recipients On September 15, the College of Health and Human Development celebrated its student scholarship recipients and the generous donors who are responsible for making these scholarships available. Around 125 students participated in the event, which included a breakfast and a presentation by Suzanne Martin ’74 CRS. “My mom struggled financially to enable me to finish school,” said Martin, who created the Joanne Durrwachter Finke Memorial Trustee Scholarship. “When I graduated, I promised myself I would pay her back. I never got the chance because soon after I graduated, she died of a rare auto-immune disease. Shortly after her death, I started giving to Penn State as a way to honor her memory.” Students at the celebration had the opportunity to talk with donors and share their gratitude for the financial assistance that has made it possible for them to pursue their dreams. “Meeting Ricardo Ortiz, who is a current recipient of my scholarship, was exciting,” said Martin. “With his Penn State education, Ricardo will be wellequipped to make a difference in the lives of others.”

SHM students, donors, and faculty members

Adam Fenton, Janet Atwood, and Mary Grace Hill

Dean Crouter addresses the group

Suzanne Martin

Development Council Update

Mary E. Good (left) and Elizabeth J. Susman (right)

Scholarship recipient Jasmyn Franklin

Dear Friends, The people supporting For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students are inspired to give for a variety of reasons—a professor whose mentoring steered them toward a successful career; the financial aid that enabled them to receive a Penn State education; the opportunity to help the college attract the best and brightest junior faculty; or the chance to support research to improve the lives of children, youth, and families. While individual motivation for giving may vary, the overarching reason our alumni and friends support this campaign is simple—they believe in Penn State.

Stan Mayers talks with scholarship recipient Nicholas Santone

The top priority of the campaign has been to increase scholarship support, making a Penn State education a possibility for all students, regardless of economic background. As the campaign comes to a close this spring, we hope that if you have not had the opportunity to participate, you will join us. A commitment to the For the Future campaign is a commitment to ensuring generations to come will have the opportunity to experience the Penn State we all know and love. For the Glory, Mary E. Good ’85 I F S Elizabeth J. Susman ’71 I F S, ’73g, ’76g HD FS Campaign Committee Co-Chairs

For more information on how you can lend your support to the campaign, contact Kathleen Rider at or 814-865-1064.

Christina Ellis, Alyssa Hischak, Nicole Phillips, and Valerie Katulka Photos taken by Jennifer N. Sloss, Blink of an Eye Photography

Health and Human Development New Faculty Sy-Miin Chow

Carter Hunt

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Assistant Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management

Sy-Miin Chow’s research focuses on study methodology, with particular emphasis on investigating the development and adaptation of modeling and analysis tools that are suited to evaluating linear and nonlinear dynamical systems models, including longitudinal structural equation models and state-space modeling techniques. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, she was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2007 to 2012. She earned a Ph.D. degree in quantitative psychology at the University of Virginia.

In his research, Carter Hunt investigates tourism-supported biodiversity conservation, sustainable community development, impacts of tourism on both destination communities and on travelers, and environmental anthropology. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Texas A&M University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University.

Christopher Engeland Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

Christopher Engeland’s research focuses on how factors such as stress, age, gender, and hormones affect immunity, inflammation, and health. He also examines the feasibility of biomarkers for predicting health outcomes. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Engeland was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2008. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Carleton University in Ontario and a Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario.

Naleef Fareed Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration

Naleef Fareed’s research focuses on health care topics related to organizational theory, information technology, and patient safety. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management at Hartwick College, a master of business administration degree in health care management at Union Graduate College, and a Ph.D. degree in health services organization and research at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Helen Kamens Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health

In her research, Helen Kamens seeks to identify genetic mechanisms that contribute to complex behaviors with a special emphasis on alcohol and tobacco use. She was an assistant research professor at the University of Colorado from 2012 to 2013. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health at Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.

Ji Min Lee Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Ji Min Lee’s research goal is to examine and expand the foundational research on speech production and clinical application of that research to speakers with speech disorders. In particular, she examines the relationship between articulatory acoustics and kinematics, the development of various speech subsystems and their control in children with and without motor speech disorders, and identification of comprehensive production variables that predict speech intelligibility in young children with speech disorders. She received a Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010.

Alison Gernand

Seoki Lee

Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences

Associate Professor of Hospitality Management

Alison Gernand’s research focuses on micronutrient deficiencies, pregnancy, fetal and placental growth, and child growth. She received a master of public health degree at the University of Texas at Houston’s School of Public Health in 2003 and a Ph.D. degree at the John’s Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011.

30 | Health and Human Development

Seoki Lee’s research focuses on corporate social responsibility, internationalization, and financial distress and equity valuation. Before coming to Penn State, he served on the faculty at Temple University. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degree at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. degree at Penn State.

Larry Martinez

Gregory Shearer

Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management

Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences

Larry Martinez’s research examines employee diversity and employee retention and turnover. Specifically, he investigates stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination across the spectrum of employment experiences, particularly from the target’s perspective. He also researches the role of non-stigmatized allies in reducing discrimination. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees at Rice University.

Kristina Neely

In his research, Gregory Shearer seeks to understand disease-related functional changes in lipid mediators—bioactive metabolites of dietary fatty acids that act on tissues to alter many disease-related functions, including the stiffness of blood vessels and the body’s response to stress. He uses lipid mediators to identify markers of disease and better ways to prevent or manage disease. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in human physiology and nephrology, respectively, at the University of California, Davis.

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Kristina Neely’s research focuses on understanding how the central nervous system organizes the preparation, execution, and inhibition of skilled, purposeful actions. She is especially interested in how the brain mediates precision grasping by the hand. Neely earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree at Indiana University, and a Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Florida.

Peter Newman Professor and Head of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management

Peter Newman’s research focuses on the human dimensions of natural resource management and social carrying capacity decision making in the context of protected areas management. In particular, he studies visitor management in protected areas, soundscape/acoustic management in parks, transportation management and planning, and efficacy and communication of “leave no trace” principles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Rochester, a master’s degree in forest resource management at the State University of New York, and a Ph.D. degree in natural resources at the University of Vermont.

Jennie Noll Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Jennie Noll’s research examines the bio-psychosocial consequences of childhood sexual abuse, pathways to teen pregnancy and high-risk sexual behaviors for abused and neglected youth, the long-term adverse health outcomes for victims of sexual abuse, and the propensity for abused and neglected teens to engage in high-risk internet and social media behaviors. She received a Ph.D. degree in developmental psychology and statistical methodology from the University of Southern California. She then spent eight years at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., before going to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she spent ten years as a professor of pediatrics.

Chad Shenk Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Chad Shenk focuses on longitudinal pathways from child maltreatment to the onset of psychological disorders in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. He also conducts experimental and observational research to identify the mechanisms of various psychological disorders in the child maltreatment population across multiple levels of analysis. From 2010 to 2013, Shenk was an assistant professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Matam Vijay-Kumar Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences

In his research, Matam Vijay-Kumar examines host metabolic adaptations to inflammation, innate immunity-gut microbiotal interactions in metabolic diseases, and iron homeostasis in inflammation. Before joining the faculty at Penn State, he was an assistant professor of biology at Georgia State University. He earned a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, in 2002.

Photos by Paul Hazi (12) and Chuck Fong, Studio2 Photography (2)

Winter 2013-14 | 31

Benedick Brothers Pay it Forward

Jeff (left) and Jim (right) Benedick created the Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development and the College of Engineering with the goal of helping students to realize their academic dreams, just as others helped them. The Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development and the Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Engineering will provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding undergraduate students in those colleges. “I wanted to give other young people an opportunity to move forward with their lives,” said Jeff ’72 CRS. “But I also wanted to honor my family and everyone who raised me and gave me the encouragement and guidance to move on with my life and have it be wonderful.” Jeff credits his education at Penn State with preparing him to establish a successful and rewarding career in interior design. For 25 years, he ran Saddleback Homes, an interior design company specializing in model homes for builders. Today, he enjoys creating interior designs for high-end private residences internationally. “Being from York, Pa., back in the late 1960s, I thought that was all there was,” said Jeff. “I was somewhat isolated. At Penn State, being exposed on the university campus to different cultures and different ways of living was eye opening for me. Now I’ve been all over the world, which is way beyond what I ever expected in my life and career.” “My brother and I did not come from an affluent family, but we managed a most important achievement:

32 | Health and Human Development

to get a degree from Penn State,” added Jim ’66 ENG. “I have been very fortunate in my education, career, and life, and now it is our desire to assist others to achieve their aspirations and dreams.” Jim, the chief operating officer for ProFun Management Group—which specializes in the management and operation of theme parks, entertainment centers, visitor centers, World Expos, and other leisure-time projects—added, “The opportunity to attend Penn State exposed me to individuals and cultures that empowered me to think way beyond my presumed limits. During my time there I grew tremendously and my excellent education helped propel me into a world that I had never imagined.” Jim’s first job out of college was with the Apollo Moon Program. “I like to say ‘I helped to put a man on the moon!’” he said. His second job was as an industrial engineer at Disneyland. “Since those wonderful experiences, I have had the opportunity to travel the world, consulting with and operating numerous entertainment facilities. I could never have done all of these things without my first major step—getting a great education from Penn State.” Learn more about planned gifts and other ways to support Penn State at do?orgId=5701.

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Health and Human Development magazine - Communication Sciences and Disorders Edition  

2013-14 winter issue of the College of Health and Human Development's magazine (Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Edition)

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