Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Contact: Megan Archer, Alumni and Outreach Coordinator, College of Health Professions (304) 696-7153

Communication Disorders graduate students take home second place in ASHA Knowledge Bowl

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A team of six graduate students from the Marshall University College of Health Professions received second place in the Knowledge Bowl held at the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association’s (ASHA) annual convention Nov. 14-16 in Chicago, Ill.

Emily Barney, Katie Ward, Emma Searls, Amanda Moon, Natasha Scott and Kristen O'Neill are second-year graduate students from the college’s Department of Communication Disorders. These students were selected to represent Region 3 in the competition, which included West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Craig Coleman, assistant professor within the department, said the Knowledge Bowl is a “Jeopardy”-style game, which allows students to answer questions based on knowledge in various areas of the field.

“We had to apply to be selected and there are many big schools within the region,” Coleman said. “The achievement in the Knowledge Bowl demonstrates the strength of our program. In addition, all of the presentations with student involvement show the commitment of our faculty and students working hard to bridge research and clinical practice.”

Coleman said Marshall University was one of the most represented in terms of student involvement at this year’s convention.

“I received an e-mail after the convention from our region coordinator saying how impressed she was with our students and hoped we would participate again in the future,” Coleman said. “I also received an e-mail from the National Stuttering Association stating many of our students came by their exhibit booth and talked with them about stuttering. They were so impressed with our students and will be putting a picture and story in their national publication.”

Coleman said the students will be featured in the National Stuttering Association’s next publication.

Searls, who is 23 and is from DeWitt, Mich., said their team competed against nine other regions. Searls said she believes it is important to participate in events such as these in order to stay current in the field of communication disorders.

“Our field is evolving with new strategies to make us competent students and clinicians,” Searls said.  “Attending these conferences allows us to practice what we’ve learned in the classroom and implement this knowledge in the real world. It is important we stay updated in order to give our patients the best quality of care.”

The 2014 ASHA Convention will be held Nov. 20–22 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. To learn more about this organization, visit online. To learn more about the Department of Communication Disorders and its involvement with ASHA, please contact the department’s chair, Dr. Karen McNealy, at


Photo: Graduate students Emma McCullough, Frances Elvins and Emma Searls stand with Professor Craig Coleman during the 2013 ASHA Convention. This group served as a research team studying tele-therapy and the effects on a 19-year-old who stutters. There were a total of 37 students from Marshall University who presented research at the convention this year.

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197