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Published November 30, 2023
Katelyn Kotlarek, an assistant professor in the University of Wyoming’s Division of Communication Disorders, has received a New Investigators Research Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHF) for her proposed study, titled “Perceptual and Acoustic Characteristics of Nasal Coupling in Children.”
Kotlarek was honored at the 2023 American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention in Boston, Mass.
“I’m thrilled to receive this funding, which will enable an important scientific foundation for improved speech screening in children with cleft palate,” Kotlarek says.
Children with cleft palate can have residual speech issues after their palate surgery, one of which is hypernasality, or too much sound coming through their nose while speaking. Kotlarek, along with collaborators Kate Bunton and Brad Story, both professors of speech, language and hearing sciences at the University of Arizona, are pursuing the proposed study to find a more relevant and readily available measure of hypernasality based on acoustic properties of speech.
The New Investigators Research Grant is designed to help further new investigators’ research activities by funding preliminary studies that could lead to larger-scale research studies. Funded projects are intended to be one year in scope and have clinical relevance to the fields of audiology and/or speech-language pathology. Applicants are limited to those with research doctorates earned within the past five years.
“We take tremendous pride in Dr. Kotlarek’s remarkable achievements and her selection for the ASHF New Investigators Research Grant,” says Professor Mark Guiberson, director of UW’s Division of Communication Disorders in the College of Health Sciences. “Her groundbreaking research in the speech of children with repaired cleft palate is propelling the field forward and, ultimately, will enhance the speech of children with cleft palate.”
Kotlarek is the fifth faculty member at UW to receive grant funding from ASHF. In 2020, Breanna Krueger, currently an associate professor in the Division of Communication Disorders, received the Speech Science Research Grant for her proposal “Interpretation of Misarticulated Words by Children With Speech Sound Disorders.” Former faculty members Teresa Ukrainetz, Michael Primus and Amy Finch-Williams also received the New Investigators Research Grant.
ASHF supports innovators and sparks innovation in communication sciences by giving early support to promising students, researchers and clinicians exploring bold ideas to transform the field and improve people’s lives. To learn more about ASHF, visit www.ashfoundation.org/.
About UW’s College of Health Sciences
UW’s College of Health Sciences trains health and wellness professionals and researchers in a wide variety of disciplines, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, speech-language pathology, social work, kinesiology, public health, health administration and disability studies. The college also oversees residency and fellowship programs in Casper and Cheyenne, as well as operating a speech/hearing clinic in Laramie and primary care clinics in Laramie, Casper and Cheyenne.
With more than 1,600 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, the college is dedicated to training the health and wellness workforce of Wyoming and conducting high-quality research and community engagement, with a particular focus on rural and frontier populations.