2011 Scholarships and Awards Brunch

The Department of Allied Health Sciences hosted its fifth annual Student Scholarships and Awards Brunch on November 12, 2011, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill.

2011 Scholarships and Awards Brunch click to enlarge SHS students and faculty members at the Annual Scholarships and Awards Brunch.

Each DAHS division had the opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of its scholarship recipients and the generosity of its scholarship supporters.

Eleven students from the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences were recognized at the brunch. Christina Bravo, recipient of the Rebecca Rule Womble Speech and Hearing Sciences Annual Scholarship, was selected to serve as student speaker for the event.

Adult Communications Disorders Annual Scholarship

The Adult Communications Disorders Annual Scholarship was established through the generosity of Amy Chaney Heffern (’86) and John Heffern (’83) for a student interested in any aspect of adult communication disorders. Amy received her BA in 1984 and MS in speech and hearing sciences in 1986, and John received a BA in economics in 1983 and an MBA from the Kenan-Flager Business School in 1988. Amy has a private practice serving adult clients in the Princeton, NJ, area, primarily contracting with University Medical Center at Princeton. She is also in the process of founding the Central New Jersey Laryngectomee Support Group in conjunction with the local American Cancer Society to provide support, education, and community outreach to individuals with laryngectomies and their families. John is a managing partner and senior portfolio manager at Chartwell Investment Partners in Philadelphia.


Sarah Salisbury Persia
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Personal Statement: My interest in speech-language pathology began in my previous career, where I was working with chronic tracheostomy and ventilator patients. I decided to apply to graduate school in hopes of helping this population to be able to communicate. Just before I began the master’s program, my grandmother had a stroke that left her with a severe aphasia. Going through that experience with her led me to my research interest in aphasia and neurogenic communication disorders. This has become my passion in this field, and my hope is that I will continue to be able to help individuals like her throughout my career. I am honored to receive this award, which will allow me to continue to learn and research.

Audiology Alumni Annual Scholarship

More than 30 Division of Speech and Hearing Science alumni and faculty members responded to the call to create the Division’s first AuD Annual Scholarship. Their gifts have been matched dollar-for-dollar through other contributions to the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences Advancement Fund. The new audiology scholarship will be offered for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years and will help ensure that our AuD program (which has risen to #6 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report ranking) has the resources it needs to maintain its record of excellence, attract the best applicants, and provide students with the best educational opportunities.


Cecil Grey Yeatts III
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Richmond, Virginia
Personal Statement: I stumbled into the field of audiology when I was a film student in an undergraduate galaxy far, far away… It was here I discovered a controversial documentary, titled “Sound and Fury,” featuring Cochlear Implants, Deaf Culture, and Sign Language. I was spellbound and have been ever since. My background is in youth development and outdoor education, so I’ve naturally gravitated towards pediatric audiology. One of my ultimate objectives is to help pass a national school-age hearing screening policy. I believe it is our obligation as ear health ambassadors to improve and protect the quality of life in our community. We can achieve this through proactive education of deleterious behaviors and early identification of potential hearing impairments; moreover school-age hearing screenings are the best way to accomplish early detection and remediation. I am grateful to have been awarded this scholarship, not only because it is truly an honor to have been selected by the faculty in my department, but also because it alleviates some of the financial burden of attending graduate school. Now I can afford more time to my studies and my overall educational experience.

Janice Rebecca Pettie Bowles Speech and Hearing Sciences Annual Scholarship

The Janice Rebecca Pettie Bowles Speech and Hearing Sciences Annual Scholarship was established through the generosity of Lauren Peyton Graves (’05) in memory of her aunt, Janice Rebecca Pettie Bowles. Born in 1956, Janice Rebecca Pettie Bowles graduated from Martinsville High School in Martinsville, Virgninia, and attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond before transferring to Averett College (now Averett University) in Danville, Virginia. There, she received her BS in Education with endorsements in several core areas, such as mathematics and reading, and her MS in Curriculum and Instruction. She also earned an endorsement in administration and supervision from the University of Virginia. She worked in many capacities for the Martinsville City School System for 26 years, teaching special education and mathematics, serving as an educational diagnostician, and coordinating community outreach. She further demonstrated her love for teaching the youth in her community by frequently delivering the children’s sermon at her church. Janice’s journey in educating children ended with her passing in 2005. The creation of the Janice Rebecca Pettie Bowles Speech and Hearing Sciences Scholarship in Janice’s honor and memory will continue her legacy of dedication and love for teaching children.


Alisha Rose Harron
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Hometown: Cape May, New Jersey
Personal Statement: Throughout my education, I have always aspired to work as a school-based speech-language pathologist within the public-school system. I enjoy working with school-aged children and appreciate the value in providing the best resources and skills for accessing the curriculum. Without adequate communication, children risk falling behind their peers and not achieving to the best of their ability. I hope to provide children with the functional skills and confidence needed to obtain the finest public education possible. Additionally, I aspire to work in a school setting that has a high population of mainstreamed children with various developmental disabilities due to my interest in a team-based approach. I value working collaboratively in therapy goals with professionals from other disciplines such as occupational and physical therapy in order to provide the best functional treatment. The receipt of this scholarship reduced the impact of school on my financial future. Thus, it will enable me begin devoting more of my earnings sooner towards purchasing additional therapy materials and attending continuing education conferences, and overall allow me to improve the quality of my education and treatment.

Dr. Sylvia Campbell Speech and Hearing Sciences Annual Scholarship

The Dr. Sylvia Campbell Speech and Hearing Sciences Annual Scholarship was established through the generosity of Gary Campbell in honor of his wife, Sylvia, as a surprise for her birthday. Dr. Sylvia Campbell earned an MS in speech and hearing sciences and an MS in Audiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974 and 1977, respectively, and a PhD in speech and hearing sciences in 1993 from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an active member of ASHA and was awarded the Certificate of Clinical Competence in 1974. Dr. Campbell helped organize and staff the Southeastern Speech and Hearing Center in Fayetteville, NC, and then served as the resident speech-language pathologist at the North Carolina Developmental Evaluation Clinics in Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, and Raleigh. From 2000 to 2006, she was an adjunct faculty member of the Graduate School of Human Development at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. In 2006, she joined the faculty of Kuwait University as an assistant professor in the newly established Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the College for Women in Kuwait. There, she taught essential prerequisite and upper-level courses. She extended her commitment to the University of Kuwait for an additional academic year in order to teach several courses essential for graduation. She celebrates and challenges the first class of young Kuwaiti women who graduated in June 2008 as the first locally trained speech-language specialists.


Ann Marie Bartholomew
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Personal Statement: My interest in languages, previous volunteer experiences, and exposure to family members receiving speech therapy all initially drew me to the field of speech-language pathology. I have an interest in bilingual speech-language pathology and previously participated in a community-based learning trip to Guatemala. I plan on returning to Guatemala this spring with the knowledge gained from my previous trip to interact with the local community and participate in bilingual speech therapy. After graduating, I hope to reach underserved populations struggling with communication disorders. I also have an interest in medical speech-language pathology and want to assist the ever growing number of older adults dealing with acquired language, dysphagia, voice, or cognitive disorders resulting from neurological injury or pathology. Aiding someone’s ability to communicate or to safely eat a regular diet continually inspires me and fuels my passion for this profession. Receiving this scholarship while pursuing my master’s degree eases some of the burden of supporting myself and allows me to further focus on my clinical and academic work. I am deeply honored and appreciative to receive this award.

Diversity Scholarship in Speech-Language Pathology

The UNC-Chapel Hill Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences Diversity Scholarship in Speech-Language Pathology seeks to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups pursuing a master’s degree in SLP. The goal is to enhance the racial, ethnic, linguistic, and gender diversity of our program and of the profession. The purpose of this fund is two-fold: 1) to increase the racial, ethnic, linguistic, and gender diversity of the SLP program by providing scholarships to students from under-represented groups; and 2) to support recruitment activities aimed at attracting individuals from under-represented groups to academic programs offered within the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences.


Camille LaVette Walton
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia
Personal Statement: I was a fifth grader in a noisy elementary school cafeteria when I learned I had a lisp. This sudden, unanticipated revelation thrust me into a whirlwind of self-consciousness. Never before had I realized my speech set me apart from the masses of budding students around me. Though good fortune spared me a great deal of ridicule, I remained acutely aware that I was, indeed, different, and no amount of good fortune would allow me to escape the embarrassment. As a headstrong adolescent, I made it my personal goal to rid myself of my speech disorder without the luxury of speech therapy. Although I worked to successfully remediate my disorder, the emotional effects remain indelibly etched in my childhood memories. Personal knowledge of the consequences of speech disorders in children shaped my desire to pursue a career in speech-language pathology and specialize in the areas of early intervention and school-based treatment. I hope to positively impact the lives of young children by giving them renewed confidence in their communication abilities. This generous financial contribution will help to propel me toward that goal, and I am extremely grateful and honored to accept this scholarship.

Norman and Nevada Pierce Annual Scholarship

The Norman and Nevada Pierce Annual Scholarship is made possible through the generosity of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies (CLDS) and the Pierce family. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce were staunch advocates of higher education and produced three first-generation college completers: Sharon Pierce Culpepper, special and regular education teacher; Jeffrey Pierce, MD, traumatic brain injury specialist; and Patsy Pierce, PhD, CCC-SLP. Patsy Pierce was one of the original researchers at the CLDS and is a former faculty member in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The Pierce scholarship honors the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Pierce by supporting a second-year MS-SLP student with demonstrated financial need who wants to work with individuals with developmental disabilities including traumatic brain injury.


Erica Janae Miller
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina
Personal Statement:As someone who has benefited from speech therapy, I know how integral speech-language pathology can be in someone’s life. I can vividly recall how unhappy I was prior to starting speech therapy; speaking was just so difficult for me. This difficulty speaking caused me to be a quiet, shy child; however, afterwards, I was a more confident and outgoing person. I strongly believe that the ability to communicate effectively is an essential human right. Personal experience, as well as a belief in the importance of effective communication, led me to this profession. I’m particularly interested in working with adults in a hospital setting. As a result of your generous contribution, I’ll be able to achieve this goal and become a member of the expanding speech-language pathology field. Additionally, this contribution will enable me to help others communicate more effectively, hopefully serving as an integral figure in the lives of others, just as my speech pathologist was for me.

Robert W. Peters Award

The Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences established the Robert W. Peters Award Fund to annually recognize a student who has demonstrated excellence in research. The award is named in honor of the late Professor Robert W. Peters, who joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina in 1969 and founded the Institute of Speech and Hearing Sciences, which later became a division in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Dr. Peters chaired the academic program in speech and hearing until 1981 and taught coursework in psychoacoustics, fluency disorders, and research design. His research focused on auditory and speech perception, sensation and perception, and stuttering. He later became a professor at the University of Southern Mississippi where he served as Departmental Chair of Speech and Hearing Sciences and as Research Administrator for the University. In 1981 and 1982 he was a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in England.


Alexandra Jeannine Cornejo
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Personal Statement: I was drawn to the field of speech and language pathology because of my desire to help enhance the lives of people with severe disabilities. My experiences as a student clinician have honed my interest in pediatric feeding disorders, as well as therapy approaches for children with significant developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and Fragile X syndrome. My current research is focused on the nature, safety, and methods of feeding infants with cleft palate. In the future, I hope to specialize as a pediatric therapist for feeding disorders, and also specialize in providing assistive and augmentative communication technologies for severely disabled and non-verbal children. I believe research is essential to the field of speech-language pathology and there is so much yet to be discovered to promote excellence in therapy approaches. I am tremendously honored to be the 2011 recipient of the Robert W. Peters award. Through this award, I have been encouraged to press on in the work of research. I plan to continue to pursue my passion for research throughout my career.

Rebecca Rule Womble Speech and Hearing
Sciences Annual Scholarship

The Rebecca Rule Womble Speech and Hearing Sciences Annual Scholarship will be awarded to a deserving student for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years. The scholarship was established through the generosity of George Womble (’68) in honor of his wife Rebecca Rule Womble who graduated with MS Speech-Language Pathology in 1972 from the UNC-Chapel Hill Division of Speech Hearing Sciences. “I was so very glad George established the scholarship in my name, and I am glad to share this honor with my cousin Sally Rule Taylor in whose name we previously funded a scholarship,” said Rebecca. “It is wonderful to be able to ‘pay it forward’ since I myself was the recipient of a scholarship when I had the privilege of enrolling in the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program at UNC, and subsequently graduated with the inaugural class. I have also greatly enjoyed serving on the Advisory Board to the Division and celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2010. Getting to know Dr. Peters and now Dr. Roush has been an honor and no doubt explains in part why this program has become one of the best in the country/world! My experience in the field was limited as other opportunities opened up for me including motherhood, women’s ministry, and mission work. But I know the incredible impact that the field of speech and hearing sciences can have and we delight in helping some deserving students pursue their calling.”


Christina Eugenia Bravo
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Cary, North Carolina
Personal Statement: I aspire to be a compassionate, effective, and culturally sensitive speech-language pathologist. I would like to serve those with communication needs in the acute care hospital setting, specifically the growing Spanish-speaking population of North Carolina and abroad. My experience as a Cuban-American, along with my educational background in Spanish, allows me to effectively relate to Spanish-speaking communities. I have witnessed firsthand how the Hispanic community in North Carolina battles not only a language barrier, but also a cultural one. Developing countries such as Guatemala also struggle to provide speech and language services due to economic and educational barriers. I am committed to overcoming these barriers by improving the level of education and services offered in developing countries and providing quality care to Hispanics in North Carolina. This is a lofty, but attainable goal that I am confident I can personally contribute to. This scholarship will provide me not only with financial resources, but also the courage and confidence to transform my dreams and aspirations into realistic career goals.

June C. Allcott Fellowships

In her life (1916-1996) June C. Allcott was a gardener of friendships. She explored the world as a traveler, weaver of baskets, culinary adventurer, designer of jewelry and clothes, guidance counselor at the University of North Carolina, computer explorer, music and art lover, and friend. June Allcott helped students expand their potential at UNC and make career choices. She had a particular place in her heart for those interested in the health fields. Fellowships are awarded for students who demonstrate exemplary, ongoing, and new community service.


Sarah Lynette Ladd
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Wilson, North Carolina
Personal Statement: I was drawn to the field of Speech-Language Pathology because I know that this profession will better prepare me to continue pursuing my passions for serving marginalized populations, advocating for disabled children, and using language and education as a means of empowerment. With my degree, I hope to become a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist working with children in under-served areas, either in the U.S. or abroad. I also hope to play an active role in advocacy and support for children with disabilities. The June C. Allcott Fellowship is helping me realize these dreams by giving me more freedom to remain involved in Latino and child advocacy alongside of my education. It will also leave me with less of a financial burden as I graduate, so that I can more freely pursue work abroad or in lower-income sectors. I am incredibly grateful and excited to receive this award, and I want to thank all those who have made it possible. Thank you for helping me and, in turn, helping those who I will be serving!

UNC Hospitals Volunteer Association’s Allied Health Sciences Fellowships

The Allied Health Student Fellowships are supported through a generous gift from the UNC Hospitals Volunteer Association. The fellowships are awarded to deserving allied health students who, in addition to having financial need and scholastic ability, exhibit characteristics of emerging professional excellence.


Carly Elizabeth Dragan
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Cheshire, Connecticut
Personal Statement: Ever since I began thinking about my future, I have been drawn to the field of speech-language pathology. This is because speech-pathologists give individuals the tools necessary to unlock the ability to communicate. Particularly, I have felt very committed to working with children with autism, as communication deficits can be severe and impact entire families. I decided to pursue my career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill due to the wealth of autism-related resources, and have had various clinical experiences thus far that have expanded my knowledge and compassion for this population. Professionally, I would like to enhance my abilities and use evidence-based practices to determine what would be most effective and appropriate for clients. Ultimately, I would like to work on an interdisciplinary team so the child is supported in all aspects of life. My ideal setting would be to provide services in the home to collaborate with the whole family. I am very fortunate to have received this fellowship, and am thankful to all those supporting my career and my future.


Kaitlyn Theresa Mortimer
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Millis, Massachusetts
Personal Statement: During the past year at UNC I have reaffirmed my passion for working with adults who have disorders that affect their ability to speak, comprehend language, and swallow. The medical aspects of speech pathology are of interest to me because they require a lifetime of learning and new experiences with patients and disorders that appear constantly. The clinical aspects of speech and language that I love so much would not exist without evidence-based practice derived from research. I continue to be a part of the Aphasia Research Group within the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences. My participation in this group has inspired me to pursue a master’s thesis project of my own under the supervision of Dr. Katarina Haley. I feel fortunate to receive the UNC Hospitals Volunteer Association’s Allied Health Sciences Fellowship again because it continues to allow me to achieve my own educational and clinical goals and also shows me that there are others who continue to support my personal aspirations and endeavors. I am humbled by and appreciate all of the support I receive and look forward to another rewarding year.