Graduate student receives international emerging researcher award

August 02, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State doctoral candidate Jessica Gormley, who is studying communication sciences and disorders, recently received the Emerging Researcher Award from the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).

Gormley received the award during the 18th Biennial Conference of ISAAC held from July 21 to 26 in Gold Coast, Australia.   

The award is in recognition of Gormley’s work establishing a highly significant line of research to improve outcomes for children with complex communication needs in pediatric rehabilitation centers. 

“I am so honored to receive an Emerging Researcher Award and to travel to the ISAAC conference to share my research. I am excited to represent Penn State in this international forum and also have the opportunity to learn from individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems and researchers from across the globe. There is much to learn about how to optimally serve children who have complex communication needs, their families, and health care providers in the hospital and I am looking forward to taking the next steps to better serve these individuals,” Gormley said. 

Gormley completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at SUNY Geneseo in the area of speech-language pathology. Prior to enrolling in the doctoral program at Penn State, she worked as a speech-language pathologist in a variety of medical settings in Pennsylvania and Nebraska, which included four years working in the in-patient rehabilitation setting.

During her clinical work, she developed an interest in the implementation of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) services within the in-patient setting to optimize outcomes of children with complex medical needs.

Gormley’s first research project at Penn State included running a series of online focus groups with speech-language pathologists to better understand the experiences, perceptions, successes and barriers to providing AAC services within in-patient rehabilitation. 

In future projects, Gormley’s goal is to improve patient-provider communication among health care professionals and individuals with complex medical and communication needs through use of specialized partner training techniques and high-tech AAC systems (e.g., mobile applications and alternative access techniques).

Gormley’s dissertation chair is Janice Light, professor of communication sciences and disorders and Hintz Family Endowed Chair in Children's Communicative Competence at Penn State.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 17, 2018