December 20, 2011

Association honors student group, president

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A registered student organization at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and its president both earned national recognition recently.

The University’s chapter of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) earned Gold Status, the highest honor possible for a chapter, from the national organization while Jessica Loverude earned individual recognition as well.  Nominated by local chapter members, Loverude also received Member Honors from the national organization at its recent convention in San Diego. 

NSSLHA is a pre-professional association for students interested in the field of communication sciences and disorders.  The University chapter has about 50 members including undergraduate and graduate students. 

“As faculty adviser, I am very proud of our chapter’s dedication to community service, professional advocacy and scholastic achievement that led to this recognition,” said Valerie Boyer, assistant professor in communication disorders and sciences in the Rehabilitation Institute, part of the College of Education and Human Services. 

From about 300 NSSLHA chapters, just six earned the gold designation for the past year.   This marks the first time the SIU Carbondale chapter has achieved this recognition. 

To earn the award a chapter must meet a number of requirements pertaining to professional development and advocacy, community service and more.  Members of the RSO raised $500 for the Stuttering Foundation (to prevent and treat stuttering), visited a local high school to tell students about the field of speech language pathology, volunteered at various events and on behalf of local children’s’ organizations, served as advocates in the community and for the profession and much more.

Loverude is a Carbondale senior majoring in communication disorders and sciences.  Elected as president of NSSLHA in December 2010, she worked with members of the University chapter throughout the spring 2011 semester to fulfill the requirements to earn Gold Status. 

She also collaborated with the campus Center for English as a Second Language to increase cultural competence via game nights. CESL students and NSSLHA members played American board games together, helping the CESL students practice English skills and learn about this country’s culture while giving NSSLA students a positive learning experience with international students.

“Jessica has wonderful leadership skills demonstrating creative fundraising ideas, organizing members in community service activities and generating a strong sense of unity within the chapter.  Jessica is an outstanding student.  She was also awarded the College of Education’s Poshard Scholarship,” Boyer said.