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NYU Steinhardt Awards Inaugural Dean’s Innovation Grants


Tara McAllister, associate professor and director of the doctoral program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, and Anat Lubetzky, associate professor of physical therapy and director of the doctoral program in Rehabilitation Sciences, have been awarded the inaugural NYU Steinhardt Dean’s Innovation Grants to support their work.

The NYU Steinhardt Dean's Innovation Grant is aimed at leveraging the research, talents, and spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration within the Steinhardt community to showcase the School's mission to advance knowledge, creativity, and innovation at the crossroads of culture, education, and human development.

“The genesis of the Dean’s Innovation Grant is to support innovative research and practice-oriented projects that engage the community within Steinhardt and in New York City,” says Noel Anderson, executive director of leadership and innovation and clinical professor of educational leadership and policy studies. “Dean Jack H. Knott wanted a way to recognize the many voices of, and collaborative nature within Steinhardt and to amplify that creativity to the broader community.”

“Steinhardt is a place for innovation, collaboration, and ideas that impact not only our own community, but also the greater community here in New York City and across the world,” says Dean Knott. “While innovation in STEM fields is often applauded, a foundational piece of the Dean’s Innovation Grants is to show innovation in the arts, humanities, and social sciences and how they affect the world around us in positive ways.”

Eligible projects were required to be interdisciplinary in nature and incorporate work from Steinhardt and other departments within NYU. In addition, they needed to demonstrate broader engagement with other NYU stakeholders and in the larger community through local businesses, nonprofits, or other entities.

Tara McAllister: Advancing Technology for Gender-Affirming Voice Training

Tara McAllister headshot

McAllister’s work seeks to improve the tools available to transgender and gender-diverse people who choose to pursue gender-affirming voice training (GAVT). GAVT guided by a speech-language pathologist can help trans people achieve a comfortable vocal presentation, but such services are expensive and often inaccessible. With this funding, McAllister and her interdisciplinary team will develop and test interactive voice-training software with trans people seeking GAVT in New York City with the goal of distributing it as a free web application to increase access.

“The Dean’s Innovation Grant is especially exciting because it encourages us to tap into the incredible breadth of skills represented within Steinhardt,” says McAllister. “Contributors on our team include a doctoral student, a staff member, and faculty from different departments with expertise in speech pathology, survey design, and acoustic visualization. We also met with the Gender-Affirming Voice and Communication group at the NYU Steinhardt Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic to refine our direction for the project, and we hope to continue to partner with them throughout its duration.”

Anat Lubetzky: An Interdisciplinary Performing Arts Community Program for the Health of Children

Anat V. Lubetzky

Lubetzky’s project will facilitate a collaboration between Steinhardt and Dancing Dreams, a nonprofit organization aiming to provide dance classes and performance opportunities for children with physical and medical challenges. Dancing Dreams relies on local high school students to support the children during dance lessons taught by founder Joann Ferrara. Steinhardt students from Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) will join the lessons and the annual show. 

“With this grant, Steinhardt is supporting a community program that has impacted the lives of hundreds of children with disabling conditions,” says Lubetzky. “The children will benefit from extra support from skilled students, more interaction, and skilled lessons, and the program will benefit from increased visibility. Meanwhile, NYU Steinhardt students will develop creativity and leadership skills as future clinicians and leaders in their fields. This pilot project is the beginning of a long-standing collaboration that supports the growth of Dancing Dreams in the community and provides high school students with an awareness of the three programs (PT, OT, CSD) at Steinhardt.”

Others who will be helping with this project include faculty members Jenna Battipaglia (clinical associate professor of CSD), Elaine Becker (clinical professor of PT), Patricia Gentille (clinical assistant professor of OT), and Kevin Weaver (clinical associate professor of PT), as well as students Khalia Frazier (OT), Samantha Levine (PT), and Elina Nechyporuk (Speech@NYU).

McAllister and Lubetzky both received $30,000, as well as two working sessions with the Office of Leadership and Innovation during their planning and execution stages to support the development of ideas, partnerships, and logistics. 

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