Marshall graduate student chosen as PROGENY finalist for research on interdisciplinary education

RyanKernsA Marshall student has been chosen as a finalist to participate in the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) PROGENY research program at the association’s annual conference Nov. 20-22 in Orlando, Florida.

Ryan Kerns, of Romney, West Virginia, is a first-year graduate assistant in the  department of communication disorders. Kerns conducted his research on faculty attitudes and perceptions of interprofessional (IPE) education. He will share this research in a poster presentation during the annual ASHA conference in November.

According to the ASHA website, “PROGENY pairs faculty researchers with undergraduate students who are first authors on poster presentations at the annual ASHA Convention. PROGENY highlights and supports the work of these undergraduates by providing them with an opportunity to talk with experienced scientists about their research, and about pursuing an academic-research career.”

Pam Holland, director of clinical education for the department of communication disorders, said the department’s Community of Research Practice group is one way these students learn about research and the opportunities offered through the PROGENY program.

“PROGENY stands for PROmoting the future GENeration of researchers,” Holland said. “That is exactly what we do at Marshall – we motivate our students and encourage them to conduct research projects which allow them to explore an academic-research career.”

Kerns said he feels extremely blessed to attend an institution like Marshall University, which gives students the opportunity to strengthen and develop research skills, which can help throughout his professional career.

“Since becoming a member of the Community of Research Practice group in fall 2013, I’ve felt empowered and capable of doing research at this level,” Kern said. “I would like to personally thank our department for helping me get to this point by supporting me and providing essential feedback, especially Dr. Susan Thomas-Frank and Mrs. Pamela Holland for being the best professional mentors I could ask for.”

Holland, who also serves as an assistant professor of communication disorders, said developing research skills enhances students’ clinical capabilities and prepares them to be evidence-based practitioners. Since the Community of Research Practice group began in 2008, Marshall has had eight students, including Kerns, represented in the PROGENY program in the past six years.

“These students do this because they love it, not because they have to.” she said.

The Community of Research Practice sessions are held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. every other Friday in Smith Hall 113.  Students can learn more about these sessions by visiting online. For more information on Kerns’ research,  contact him via e-mail at