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Dr. Vicki Samelson named Larson Research Fellow

RELEASED: Dec. 17, 2010

Dr. Vicki Samelson
Dr. Vicki Samelson

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Vicki Samelson, an assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, is the recipient of the 2010-11 Vicki Lord Larson Research Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Samelson's project will link several student collaborations she currently is mentoring in an examination of the research process. She and her students will present their work in December 2011.

This fellowship, the first of its kind at UW-Eau Claire, recognizes the outstanding leadership and long-term contributions of Dr. Vicki Lord Larson to the department of communication sciences and disorders and to the university, said Dr. Kris Retherford, chair of the communication sciences and disorders department. Larson, who joined the UW-Eau Claire faculty in 1973, was instrumental in guiding the development of the communication sciences and disorders program at UW-Eau Claire, Retherford said.

"Her leadership as a faculty member and former chair of the department helped shape its future and provided the foundation upon which the program is continuing to thrive," Retherford said of Larson. "Dr. Larson also had a lasting impact on the university. In addition to her service to our department, she also served as the university's interim chancellor from 2005-06. She now holds the designation of chancellor emerita."

Samelson said the fellowship is particularly meaningful because of Larson's connection to the honor.

"When I was working in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist, I often referred to Vicki Lord Larson's publications in the area of adolescent language impairment," Samelson said. "So I am honored to be selected as this year's Vicki Lord Larson Research Fellow. Our CSD students benefit from the research experiences that Dr. Larson's fellowship supports."

Each year the Vicki Lord Larson Research Fellowship provides a member of the communication sciences and disorders faculty with reassigned time from teaching responsibilities to pursue research with students.

Samelson currently is mentoring four faculty-student research collaborations. The focus of all four of the projects is on clinical topics, she said. In two of the research projects, undergraduate communication sciences and disorders majors are examining the relationship between oral language skill and elementary school students' ability to solve arithmetic word problems. In another project, three undergraduate students are using a clinical research approach to compare two intervention methods designed to help children with high-functioning autism recognize facial expressions. And in a fourth project, a graduate student is conducting survey research on the Telepractice clinical service delivery model.

"My aim for each of these projects is to help our students appreciate that critical thinking research skills are very similar to the skills needed to be a successful speech-language pathologist," Samelson said. "When my students and I present the results of their projects to our department, our aim will be to provide examples of the close relationship between the research process and clinical practice."

For more information about the fellowship program, contact Dr. Kris Retherford at 715-836-4905 or retherk@uwec.edu. For information about her fellowship project, contact Dr. Vicki Samelson at samelsvm@uwec.edu or 715-836-4919.

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JB/JP

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