Faithe is a Senior Communication Disorders major from Fayetteville, Arkansas who has successfully defended her thesis project on the connection between spoken accents to recall performances. Faithe will be graduating Saturday- congrats!  Her next steps include continuing her research with the University of Texas in Dallas, where she will earn her Masters in Speech Pathology (and likely find many more southern accents).  Her blog shares useful tips and advice on presenting at and attending a research conference.

In November 2016 I attended the American Speech Language and Hearing Association’s (ASHA) annual convention in Philadelphia, PA to present my research. My research is over the effects of spoken accent difference on participants’ number recall performance. In my study, I had two test administrators with different spoken accents administer number recall tests to 20 college students to see whether the difference in accent between the speaker and the listener has an effect on the listener’s test performance. From the 20 students I’ve tested so far, I’ve discovered no significant effect on number recall performance based on spoken accent.

Student displays her research poster.


My tips for any undergraduate preparing to attend their first research conference:

  1. Look over the schedule of events in advance and plan which break-out sessions you want to attend.
  2. Don’t be nervous about your presentation; people will be very supportive and it’s not as scary as it seems.
  3. Don’t forget your poster presentation at the airport, but if you do, FedEx can do really quick print jobs!

I am so grateful that I was able to participate in this opportunity to present my research at a national convention while furthering my professional development. I attended educational lectures lead by experienced researchers in the fields of speech pathology and audiology, networked with professionals in these fields, went to a graduate school fair, and participated in an undergraduate research program called PROGENY where I discussed my current and future research plans with research mentors in my field. Participating in the PROGENY program helped me to better understand the research process and how to design a good research study. My mentor gave me helpful tips on how to further my research in the future so that my findings can encompass other aspects of the effects of language on memory.

Presenting my research at the ASHA convention gave me great insight into the professional world of speech pathology. I was so nervous going into the convention, but after presenting and answering questions about my research, I feel more confident about my future as a researcher. I received lots of positive feedback and professional tips about future research design from the students and professionals who came to listen to my presentation. I am now excited to continue researching to better the practices in my future profession.

What’s next for me? Well I intend to go to graduate school to further my education in the field of speech pathology and hopefully continue researching the effects of spoken accent on memory performance while I’m studying. I would like to enhance my current research by adding more complex language tasks to the testing protocol, therefore analyzing how spoken accent affects the ability to recall various language passages. I look forward to advancing my research experience and hopefully attending more research conferences like the ASHA convention.