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Posts from the ‘Graduate Spotlight’ Category


CSD ‘Brings Home The Gold’ at the 2019 SHAV Conference

At SHAV, first-year graduate students present their research projects and compete against other graduate students from CSD programs throughout the state of Virginia. Longwood students, Shannon Graham, Courtney Kaczmarek, Lizzie Llewellyn, and Payton Yates were awarded first place during the research poster presentations. Their award winning research was titled, “Effects of Instruction Method on Competency and Perception of Proloquo2Go.”

In addition to winning first place in research, another Longwood CGPS student received an award. Lucy Wallace, a senior in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program, was recognized with the SHAV Outstanding Student Leader Award. “As a Longwood student of the CSD program, I had an array of opportunities and experiences available to me…highlights include serving as an executive officer in the Longwood National Student Speech Language Hearing Associates (NSSLHA) chapter for four years, collaborating with the Farmville Lions Club and Longwood Student Government Association to establish a Longwood Lions chapter, and working with the Infant and Toddler Connection of the Heartland’s annual Christmas Giving Tree program,” Wallace stated. Wallace attributes a large part of her success to the faculty and staff in the Longwood CSD program, stating, “They are committed, passionate, and genuinely interested in preparing students to succeed.”

Dr. Mani Aguilar, Clinical Audiologist at Longwood’s Speech, Hearing, and Learning Services, received the State Clinical Achievement Award at the 2019 SHAV Conference. She was recognized for her partnership with the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, offering a Technology Assistant Program at Longwood. Longwood now serves as a demonstration site for assistive listening devices for persons with hearing loss. This partnership has generated over 200 patient visits, with the dispensing of such devices as personal amplifiers, visual alert systems, and captioned telephones. “Mani created a support group for persons with hearing loss that has a regular participation of 25 members in each monthly meeting,” stated Dr. Lissa Power-deFur. “The persons with hearing loss in Southside Virginia are so fortunate that she is here.” In response to her recent achievement, Aguilar recognized the amazing support she has received from her department at Longwood. “The award I recently received from SHAV was possible because of our wonderful leader, Dr. Lissa Power-deFur, as well as the efforts of our entire team of faculty, staff, and students!”


School Librarianship faculty, students, and alumni “gear up” at state conference

School Librarianship graduate students, faculty, and alumni recently attended the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia from November 29-December 1, 2018.  The theme was “Gearing Up for the Future.”

All of the Longwood University School Librarianship faculty — Dr. Karla Collins, Dr. Jen Spisak, Professor Carl Harvey, and Dr. Audrey Church — attended the conference and presented sessions. During the conference, Dr. Collins was installed as VAASL James Region Director-Elect at Friday’s general session and coordinated the Saturday morning author breakfast. As Chair of the VAASL Scholarships and Awards Committee, Dr. Spisak announced scholarship and award winners at the Friday evening banquet.

Below are the current Longwood students and alumni who received awards:

  • Dickinson Scholarship: Shereen Bagherzedah (current student)
  • Rutherford Memorial Award: Michelle Sears (current student)
  • VAASL School Librarian of the Year: Lara Ivey (alumna)
  • VAASL Library Educator of the Year: Krista Hartenbach (alumna)

Along with Longwood faculty, numerous alumni presented concurrent sessions.

Congratulations to all who received awards and presented at VAASL!


2018 Graduate Research Symposium

As a part of the Spring Symposium for Research and Creative Inquiry, 63 Longwood graduate students, spanning six programs, participated in the 3rd annual Graduate Research Symposium. The symposium consisted of two poster sessions and oral presentations.

Poster Session I

1st Place: “The Effect of Head Position and Postural Support on Simulated Pill Swallows” by Katie Johnson, Colleen Johnson, Laura Mixon & Courtney Spates of the CSD program

2nd Place: “Comparison of Coaching and Family-Based Treatment Model in Early Intervention” by Morgan Arthur, Danielle Brooks & Rachael Marz of the CSD program

2nd Place: “Achievement Tests of Student with Intellectual Disability” by Arissa Alley, Alex Maddox & Angela Nigrelli of the SPED program

3rd Place: “Street Outreach Worker Program” by Paul McFarland of the HPE program


Poster Session II

1st Place: “Effects of Sensory Enhancement on Ratings of Food Acceptability” by Tia Javier, Kristen Knowsley & Augusta Reisling of the CSD program

2nd Place: “Does Speaking Fundamental Frequency Influence Ratings of Speaker Comptenence and Social Attractiveness?” by Laurin Bowman, Katie Lester, Molly Santaniello & Chelsey Tanner of the CSD program

2nd Place: “The Force of ADHD on Kylo Ren’s Academic Achievement” by Jovia Moody, Michelle Painter & Jennifer Trate of the SPED program

3rd Place: by “The Effects of Academic Advising on First Generation College Students on Academic Probation” by Ian Walker & Quincy Goodine of the Counselor Program


Distance Education Poster Session

Winner: “Teaching Digital Reading Skills in the Middle School Library” by Kristina Chilian of the School Librarianship program


Oral Presentations

1st Place: “Impact of Pediatric Neurocognition on Literacy Acquisition” by Laurie Shapiro of the RLL program

2nd Place: “The Fine Line Between Helpful and Hurtful: English Language Learners and Unnecessary Special Education Placement” by Jenny Bayer of the RLL program

3rd Place: “The Important Role of Parental Involvement in Early Literacy Development” by Meredith Seay of the RLL program


Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you to everyone who participated to make this the biggest Research Symposium to date!



Spotlight: Graduate Student Gets Published!

This week we are celebrating the accomplishment of graduate student Brittany Bishop of the Counselor Education program. Brittany is recently published in the Counseling and Values Journal with her article “Advocating for Atheist Clients in the Counseling Profession.”


This article started as an assignment for her introduction to counseling class. The students were tasked with picking a group that could benefit from advocacy and education for counselors and the public. Brittany described her journey to delving into this topic:

“I personally have gone through a journey of trying to define my beliefs and since beginning to identify as an atheist, I have experienced discrimination and prejudice from a variety of sources. I have also noticed that there are a lot of counselors who are willing to identify as Christian but there does not seem to be a lot of counselors clarifying that nonbelievers are welcome in their offices. As I’ve looked deeper into literature and heard stories from others who identify as atheist, I continued to find that there was a lot of advocacy for bringing spirituality and religion into counseling but not a good amount of research on responding therapeutically to the systemic and personal difficulties many nonbelievers face.”


The most interesting part of this process for Brittany was gaining both anecdotal and researched knowledge. While her anecdotal knowledge was not written into her paper, she was able to reach out to others, connect to a community and collect a personal understanding of experiences. She was also fortunate to meet researchers in this field who have published research working towards promoting atheist visibility at a conference she presented at.


She learned a lot about getting published and going through the process

  • First, that a graduate student can make it into a publication. She suffered from “imposter syndrome,” which many student researchers feel as well, but this helped her believe that she might be less of an imposter in the field than she thinks.
  • Second, not everyone is going to like your style or your topic. She found that when responding to reviewers you can either change your work according to their suggestions or defend your reason for leaving it as is.

“I made updates to improve the writing, but I refused to lessen the controversy of the topic simply because one reviewer was uncomfortable hearing the truth about how atheist clients have been overlooked and underserved. I made my case well enough that the editors listened to it over the suggestions of one reviewer and I was happy I stuck to my convictions for the final edition”

She describes how it feels to be published in a journal!

“It feels exciting but also a lot of the time it does not feel real. Mostly I think it makes me happy to have gotten the word out about such an important topic and I really hope it helps inform the techniques counselors will use. I also feel motivated to begin working on new topics and advocating for more issues to have light shed on them.”


Congratulations to graduate student Brittany Bishop of the Counselor Education program!


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CSD Goes to SHAV

First year students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program attended the Speech-Language Hearing Association Conference from March 22 – March 24th in Williamsburg, VA. The students attended conference sessions over the three days and presented research at the Graduate Student Poster Presentations! The group of 21 students, divided into 6 research groups, presented their research projects from the last 7 months. The Longwood students competed with other graduate students from each CSD program in the state of Virginia.

Longwood took home 1st place! Students Leah Horton, Jalyn Taylor, and Seraphina Chabinec won with their research project titled “Results of Voice Disorder Prevention Training for Physical Education Majors.” This group developed a vocal hygiene training module, which was distributed among Longwood’s 5 Health & Physical Education graduate students in their student teaching semester.

Congratulations to the three 1st place winners!

Each research group in the CSD program will also be participating in Longwood’s Graduate Research Symposium on April 24th.

Below are a few pictures of the CSD researchers with their posters:


Health & Physical Education

This week’s spotlight blog is focusing on the Health and Physical Education graduate program

The Health and Physical Education masters program can be completed in one year or two years for more flexibility. The two tracks offered cater to already licensed Health & P.E. teachers or professionals licensed in another discipline.

All students complete a 5-credit community health internship within a school or community setting. The students also work to submit a grant proposal to fund a school or community initiative.

Career paths for students in the HPE program include:

  • Teaching in K-12 schools
  • Coaching and/or teaching at the college level
  • Working with community health organizations, non-profit agencies and health coalitions
  • Managing city/county Parks and Recreation departments
  • Serving as a health advocate
  • Teaching adaptive physical education

SPEAK Out! Day

On Tuesday February 13th seven members of the Health and Physical Education master’s program, 6 graduate students and Professor Kari Hampton, headed to Washington DC to prepare for the SHAPE America SPEAK Out! Day. The society of Health and Physical Education sponsors an annual Speak Out Day for health and physical education advocates to meet with members of Congress.

The group spent the 13th preparing and learning about ESSA (The Every Student Succeeds Act) and about how the act needs to be funded in order to properly serve students across the country.

On February 14th, the group headed to Capitol Hill to meet with various Virginia Representatives. They spent time meeting with members from Congressman Dave Bratt’s office as well as staff members from seven other Virginia Congressman and Senators offices.

Below is a quote from Dr. Kari Hampton:

“The students and I learned so much and enjoyed getting to share what we know with those who can make a difference. The learning experience for our students was one that I cannot replicate in the classroom, this experience taught our students to think on their feet, to express themselves regarding topics they are passionate and to find ways to defend funding for a bill that will ultimately help them and the students they will serve in the future.”

Below are quotes from two members of the program who attended the Speak Out Day:

“As a soon to be professional teaching in the school system, I believe this experience was liberating to be able to advocate for something we’re passionate about.” – Ashley Brown ‘17

“From a professional stand point this experience taught me that no matter how big or small my opinion matters there’s so much we can all be doing to make the educational system better.” –Erica Mawyer ‘17



From Left to Right: David Van; Ashley Brown, Dr. Kari Hampton, Erica Mawyer, Congressman Dave Bratt, Jeff Wagnon; Eric Grutza, Paul McFarland, Andy Lucas.


GSA Paint Night

On Friday, February 16th, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) hosted a paint party at Red Door 104 on Main Street. All graduate students were invited to attend. This paint night, which is a bi-annual event, departed from the usual Longwood inspired paintings and instead painted beautiful Willow Trees!

A big thank you to Audrey Sullivan, owner of Red Door 104 for planning a wonderful night of fun and relaxation during our busy semesters.


Professional Development day!

Longwood University Graduate students kicked off the semester with a Professional Development day!

Professional Development, which took place on February 4th 2018, attendees had the opportunity to learn about networking, take head shots, attend two educational sessions, plus enjoy an etiquette lunch.

An alumni panel started off the event titled “What I wish I knew.” Alumni shared advice learned from experience graduating college and entering the professional world. Students were also able to ask their own questions.

The alumni then joined the students for a networking. Current and past students met together to share tips and tricks about this portion of the professional world. During the networking event, students had the opportunity to take headshots, which can be used for LinkedIn profiles or other professional sites.

The first informational session titled “Conquering Conferences” was a panel of professors and professionals who have attended numerous conferences for their own discipline of studies. They shared advice about how to navigate the overwhelming world of conferences, what to look out for, and how to really get the most from the experience.

As a break between sessions, the attendees took part in an etiquette lunch. Catered by Aramark, attendees learned the correct etiquette for formal dinner situations, and etiquette for other types of professional meals.

Professional Development day ended with another informational session titled “Interviewing tips and tricks.” The office of Career Services presented on how to prepare for interviews and how to make the day less nerve-wracking.


Longwood graduate students take on CrossFit!

CrossFit with the Dean took place on January 26th 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Members of the Graduate Student Association got to see how they hold up to our very own Dean Perry during a rigorous hour of exercise. Though CrossFit has a reputation for not going easy on you, the students had a great time! Many of them got to learn what CrossFit is all about. Dean Perry, of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, provided prizes including a free CrossFit sessions to one lucky student!