January 20, 2011

Statewide association honors Norris for thesis

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The first recipient of the Illinois Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ISHA) Student Research Presentation Award is recent Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate Melissa A. Norris.

Norris, of Oakford, earned the award for her master’s thesis entitled, “Age appropriateness of subject pronouns used in preschool television shows.” The study analyzed the use of pronouns in two popular children’s shows for accuracy and type of pronouns. Norris found that while there was a high degree of accurate use on both programs, there were significant differences in the types of pronouns each show used.

Norris will make a poster presentation highlighting her project during the ISHA 51st Annual Convention Feb. 10-13 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. That’s where she’ll also get her award on Feb. 12 during the business meeting and luncheon. The ISHA is presenting the award to Norris after selecting her as the winning student-initiated research and clinical application proposal. The award recognizes exemplary work on the research question, relevance, results, interpretation and project clarity.

“I am pretty surprised about winning the award but I am really happy that it brings some attention to my graduate program and the teaching that goes on within it,” Norris said.

Norris earned her master’s in communication disorders and sciences from SIUC in May 2010. She currently works for the Sangamon Area Special Education District as a school speech language pathologist traveling to three different schools in the Springfield area. She is also a speech language pathologist at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Having a recent graduate from the program within the Rehabilitation Institute in the College of Education and Human Services win the inaugural Student Research Presentation Award for work done while at the University speaks highly both of Norris and the program, according to Valerie E. Boyer, assistant professor in the Rehabilitation Institute.

“Melissa is an exceptional example of the graduate work we do here at SIUC. We are very proud of the work she did and think it’s reflective of the program here at the University,” Boyer said.

To learn more about the SIUC Rehabilitation Institute, visit the website at http://rehab.siuc.edu/.