Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) and Audiologists (AuD) in Illinois are fortunate to have a wonderful state professional association known as Illinois Speech-Language Hearing Association (ISHA). Each February, ISHA holds a convention in the Chicago area, with national speakers covering a variety of topics related to Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). This years’ convention in February was a virtual online conference due to the pandemic. One of the highlights of each convention is the College Bowl, where eight CSD programs in Illinois compete against each other by answering practice questions from the national licensure (Praxis) exam. This year’s ISU team was comprised of first-year speech-language pathology graduate students Carly Cheatham, Erin Logsdon, Daj’za Mitchell, and Shannon Wrage (see picture). While the winning team was Northern Illinois University this year, the ISU team came in third place and brought a lot of positive energy to the competition while sporting their ISU gear.

Members of the CSD Department at Illinois State University had a substantial presence at the conference. Dr. Jennine Harvey was the Acquired Neurogenic Disorders Track Chair, lining up the various conference speakers in this area. She is also the chair of the Telepractice Committee, which held meetings to discuss goals for the 2021-22 year. Dr. Ciera Lorio presented on coaching in childcare settings. She also had a presentation with Cara Boester, our director of Clinical Education for SLP, and Maribeth Lartz from the Special Education Department at ISU, on a grant-funded program focusing on early invention for children with hearing and vision loss. The convention would not have been such a success without faculty member Dr. Heidi Harbers who was the convention co-chair; a huge job taking countless hours.

Many of our students were involved by presenting research posters. Senior Grace Watson was the primary presenter for a poster titled Impact of Tongue Tie on Infant Feeding Experiences. Co-presenters included seniors Kayla Gettemy, Julia Pianko, Brianna Szambelan and Nicol Musielak. Second-year graduate student Marie Lange presented a poster titled Using Online Modules to Teach Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised (SUGAR) to Students. They were mentored by Dr. Jamie Smith and Dr. Heidi Harbers, respectively.

Last but not least, our own Clinical Educator Trisha Larkin was awarded the Illinois Speech-Language Hearing Association 2021 Clinical Achievement Award for her work with transgender clients at the Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic at ISU. What a huge accomplishment and we were proud to support her for this important recognition.

ISHA pulled off another successful convention this year thanks to the help of many volunteers, including a number of former and current Illinois State University faculty, staff and students. Go Redbirds!