SCSD Students Present at FURC

Two School of Communication Science & Disorders (SCSD) students, Faith Collins and Ellie Helgeson, presented their research at the 2024 Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) in February. FURC is one of the largest multidisciplinary research conferences in the country.

Collins presented “Measuring morphological complexity in teachers’ instructional dialogues,” a project she collaborated on with SCSD graduate student Audrey Hendrix. “This study measured the presence of derivational morphemes in the instructional dialogue of second-grade teachers,” said Collins. “No current research has looked at the presence of morphemes in verbal instruction, so I was excited to be a part of this research.”

As a first-year college student, Collins was drawn to the project because her coursework primarily consisted of general requirements, and she wanted to learn more about the complexities of language.

“Assisting in research allowed me to not only contribute to the community but also contribute to my own personal learning,” said Collins. “Presenting at a conference was not something I expected to do as a freshman,” but being supported by Dr. Sana Tibi and Audrey Hendrix helped her succeed.

Regarding the next steps for Collins, “I hope that with the skills I have acquired, I can create my own research project in the future. I am interested in pursuing Honors in the Major and would like to possibly do research regarding military families and speech therapy services.”

Helgeson presented “A Qualitative Exploration of Early Interventionists’ Beliefs and Practices with Families from Marginalized Backgrounds,” a study she worked on alongside doctoral candidate Diana Abarca. Early interventionists work with children aged 0-3 in a variety of disciplines including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. “I joined this project because as a future provider who is white and female, I would like to be responsive towards those who are not of the background that I am from,” said Helgeson.

Her time with SCSD has allowed her to gain a better understanding of the populations she hopes to work with in the future. Helgeson emphasized the Aural Rehabilitation course in particular, which provided her with practical skills to work with the hearing-impaired.

Currently, Helgeson is working on an advancement of the project, evaluating the impact of a professional program designed to mitigate characteristics of cultural bias found in the initial study. “I am interested to see the results, and whether these are problems that can be improved upon in the field via professional development.”

Both students recommend getting involved in research and organizations.

“The Honors program, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, InternFSU, Greek life, and philanthropic organizations are all involvements that have aided me in pre-professional development,” said Helgeson.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out! Research is a great way to make connections and meet people who will encourage you on your college journey,” Collins added. They each look forward to conducting further research that makes a difference in their fields.