May 5, 2016
16-151

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Wins Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association Praxis Bowl Competition

Pictured, from top to bottom, are Hollee Eastwood, Ashley Fowler, Sierra Havrilla, Christina Matta, and Taylor Struble.

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University won first place at the 2016 Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention’s inaugural Praxis Bowl.

Five graduate students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders — Hollee Eastwood, Ashley Fowler, Sierra Havrilla, Christina Matta, and Taylor Struble — were selected to represent Blazer Nation in the Praxis Bowl. Using clickers to answer multiple-choice questions, the VSU team competed against teams from the University of Georgia, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Georgia State University, and the University of West Georgia, as well as practicing professionals from the speech-language pathology field.

“The questions were similar to those that are found on the Praxis examination, which is the exam that a future speech-language pathologist must take and pass before being allowed to practice as a professional,” said Dr. Matthew Carter, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist. “Teams scored points for answering questions correctly, and VSU answered more questions correctly than anyone else. Every member of the VSU team had their praxis registration fee waived, which is $120 per person, so that was a nice addition to the recognition they received.”

During the three-day Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention, Eastwood, Fowler, Havrilla, Matta, and Struble were able to expand their knowledge base by listening to nationally, state, and locally recognized experts from the speech-language pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, and assistive technology fields. They were also able to network with educators and professionals in their chosen career field and learn about the latest research being conducted by students at colleges and universities around the state.

The Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association is a professional association of individuals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of communication, swallowing, and hearing disorders. It advocates for the professional interests of its members and the individuals they serve and provides a forum for the exchange of professional information and ideas.

Eastwood, 22, is a member of the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association and works as a graduate assistant for the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education. She volunteers with the Family Autism Support Team, which is sponsored by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and enjoys serving the community as a member of CrossPointe Church of Valdosta. A Georgia HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholar, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in communication disorders, from VSU in May 2015 and expects to complete a Master of Education in communication sciences and disorders in July 2017. As an undergraduate student, she was a member of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association and active in Baptist Collegiate Ministries; served as vice president of Engage, her church’s on-campus ministry, and as a youth leader at her church; and volunteered with Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She is the daughter of Eddie and Stacy Eastwood of Richmond Hill, Georgia.  

Fowler, 25, is a member of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, the American Sign Language Club, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, where she served as president for two consecutive years. She has been named Graduate Student of the Year and Graduate Research Student of the Year by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and was nominated for Graduate Assistant of the Year by the Department of Adult and Career Education. She presented at VSU’s 2016 Graduate Research Symposium and spent a semester volunteering in a local nursing home. She maintains a 4.0 grade point average and expects to graduate with a Master of Education in communication sciences and disorders in December. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in communication disorders and a minor in deaf education, from VSU in May 2015. She is the daughter of Dawn and Edwin Fowler of Macon, Georgia.

Havrilla, 23, is a Georgia HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholar and a member of the National Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She graduated magna cum laude from VSU in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in communication disorders, and expects to graduate with a Master of Education in communication sciences and disorders in May 2017. She is the daughter of Dr. George and Kim Havrilla of Thomson, Georgia.

Matta, 24, is graduate president of Four Directions, VSU’s Native American Student Association; a member of the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association and National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association; a Georgia HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholar; and a volunteer with the Family Autism Support Team, which is sponsored by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. As an undergraduate student she served as vice president and president of Four Directions and as president of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Club. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in communication disorders, from VSU in May 2015 and expects to graduate with a Master of Education in communication sciences and disorders in May 2017. She is the daughter of Lydia and Jose Matta of Warner Robins, Georgia.

Struble, 22, earned the Jack Bess Memorial Scholarship from the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association; presented research titled “Predicting Oral Reading Comprehension Abilities” at the 2016 Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention and VSU’s 2016 Graduate Research Symposium; created a community reading program that promotes language and literacy growth in children through interactive story time; and volunteered with the Family Autism Support Team, which is sponsored by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She works as a graduate assistant in the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, where she advises sophomores and juniors pursuing degrees in business administration. She graduated summa cum laude from VSU in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in communication disorders, and expects to graduate with a Master of Education in communication sciences and disorders in May 2017. She is the daughter of Linda Padgett and Wallace Padgett Sr. of Cochran, Georgia.

On the Web:

https://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/education/communication-sciences-and-disorders/welcome.php

https://gsa.memberclicks.net


Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.

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