Steinhardt CSD Department Students and Faculty Win NYS Speech-Language-Hearing Association Awards (NYSSLHA) Awards

We are pleased to announce that a faculty member, doctoral student, and an undergraduate student in the department recently won 2017 NYS Speech-Language-Hearing Association Awards (NYSSLHA) Awards.

The students won based on criteria that include research involvement, academic performance, clinical performance, pre-professional leadership, community involvement, and an essay explaining why they chose a career in speech-language pathology.

The Association’s honors are awarded to members who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the professions of Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, or the discipline of communication sciences and disorders. Congratulations to Dr. Harriet Klein, Mehak Noorani, and Heather Campbell!


Dr. Harriet Klein, Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders: Winner of the NYSSLHA Honors of the Association Award






Mehak Noorani:
Winner of the Undergraduate Student Award for the best poster at the NYSSLHA convention






Heather Campbell: Winner of the NYSSLHA Doctoral Research Award.


Sonja Molfenter and Maria Grigos Win Steinhardt Faculty Challenge Grants

We are proud to announce that two of our faculty members, Dr. Sonja Molfenter and Dr. Maria Grigos, were awarded Steinhardt Faculty Challenge Grants for their respective research projects.

Assistant Professor Sonja Molfenter received the Steinhardt Cross-Department Collaborative Award grant along with Kenneth Aigen, Associate Professor of Music Therapy. Dr. Molfenter’s current research specializes in understanding the physiological features of both normal swallowing and disordered swallowing (known as dysphagia). Dr. Aigen’s research uses musicological analyses to reveal connections between the elements of music and common cognitive, emotional, and physical goals in music therapy.

Dr. Molfenter and Dr. Aigen will collaborate on their project “High intensity group vocal exercise to improve laryngeal function in patients with Parkinson’s disease” during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Associate Professor and director of the M.S. program Maria Grigos along with speech therapist Etoile Leblanc of NYU Langone Medical Center were awarded the 2017-2018 Research Development Award for their project “Speech motor learning following facial reconstruction”. Dr. Grigos’ current research focuses on speech motor control in children and adults, with a specific emphasis on motor and language interactions.



CSD Department Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic Featured in New York Times

Sam Jaffe explains voice pitch in New York Times video

Voice is an important part of who we are. It’s the instrument through which we communicate and express ourselves — including how we convey our personalities and gender identities. For many transgender people, having a voice that they feel does not correspond with their gender expression and identity can be a source of stress, anxiety, or depression.

Last week, the CSD Department hosted a reporter from the New York Times for a Facebook Live video chronicling a session with student voice therapist Sam Jaffe and his client Sophie, a transgender woman, in our on-campus Speech-Language-Hearing clinic. During her sessions with Sam, Sophie works to get her vocal cords into better shape so she can raise her pitch and volume to where she wants it without becoming breathless.

The New York Times also featured an article chronicling Sam’s client Sophie’s journey with voice pitch as a transgender woman.

NYU Steinhardt’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic is a leader in addressing the needs of the transgender community. Along with a variety of other speech and language therapy services, the clinic offers voice and communication modification services for transgender individuals. Steinhardt graduate students in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders work with faculty to deliver voice and communication therapy sessions tailored to each client’s unique goals.

Read more about how the CSD department works with the transgender community.


Spring 2017 Clinical Practicum III Showcase

At the end of each year, Clinical Practicum III students gather with Clinical Practicum I and II students, along with undergrad students in the CSD department, to showcase their work in the class.

Clinical Practicum III students share their courses of treatment, as well as their work at off-campus initiatives, such as the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Early Childhood Center and Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center. Students also showcased additional collaborations within Steinhardt, with both the Drama Therapy and Music Therapy departments. Prac III students were on hand to answer any questions from the Prac I, II, and undergrad students about their work and what to expect during that portion of the program for them. The evening was rounded out with snacks and sips, as well as time to chat with faculty members and each other as another semester draws to a close.




Admitted Students Luncheon: Video Presentation

Thank you to all who attended the 2017 NYU CSD Admitted Student Welcome Luncheon on Friday, March 24, 2017 at the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium in the Kimmel Center for University Life. It was a busy day filled with delicious food, program information, student and alumni perspectives, tours, and a happy hour. Please feel free to view the presentation and Q&A portion from Friday’s event. We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders Public Meeting Announcement

Please join the Department for a public meeting concerning the re-accrediting of the Master of Science program. The meeting will be attended by site visitors from our accrediting body, American Speech-Language Hearing Association Council on Academic Accreditation, and will provide feedback to them about the CSD Master of Science program and clinic.
We welcome anyone who has had contact with the program from students to parents to members of the NYU community.
Light refreshments will be served.
The meeting will be held on March 2, 2016 from 4:30-5:30pm in the first floor lounge of Kimball Hall, 246 Greene St. For more location info please visit event listing the NYU Calendar.

CSD and Nutrition Students Team Up for Iron Chef Competition

The kitchen in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies was buzzing during the quiet January intersession thanks to a unique class taught in collaboration with the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders.

The class, Interdisciplinary Care-Based Management in Dysphagia, brings together students from both speech pathology and nutrition master’s programs. Dysphagia, a swallowing disorder, can affect patients of all ages and across many conditions. The course is taught by Erin Embry, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders and Director of Speech@NYU, and Lisa Sasson, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nutrition. It aims to teach students how to bring pleasure, taste, and satisfaction back to eating for those experiencing dysphagia. “The course was founded in the belief that although individuals may have limitations in their diets, they should not be deprived of the joy and satisfaction of healthy, delicious food,” said Sasson. ”People who eat better have better overall health outcomes.”

The Iron Chef competition, which is the culminating experience of the course, gives student groups a hypothetical patient profile in which to model their plan of action after. Once they have analyzed the needs of their patient (including their medical diagnosis, recommended diet, and cultural and psychosocial considerations), they develop recipes to meet their needs. The recipes were judged by an esteemed panel from NYU Steinhardt, Rusk Rehabilitation, and the food and nutrition communities. Judges included:

Pamela Morris: Vice Dean at NYU Steinhardt and Professor of Applied Psychology.

Dan Amatuzzi: A sommelier, adjunct professor at both NYU Steinhardt and NYU Stern School of Business, and Wine Director for Eataly.

Sonja Molfenter: Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, whose research specializes in disruptions in swallowing function.

Michael Ferraro: Chef and owner of Delicatessen and Mac Bar, who helped to launch Cooking. Comfort. Care., a program that provides nutritional tips and recipes to caregivers and patients with pancreatic cancer.

Preeti Raghavan, MD: Clinician and researcher at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation focusing on patients recovering from traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and those with neurological conditions.

Rocco DiSpirito: Cookbook author, television personality, James Beard award winner, and a council member for Feeding America and ambassador for Health Corps.

Special thanks also goes to the “Quickfire Challenge” judges Dr. Christina Reuterskiold, PhD, Chair of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Allison Schulman, MS, RD, Pegah Jalali, MS, RD, and Kelila Jaffe, Food Program Coordinator, who tested “mocktails” made by each group to their patient’s specifications. The winner of this round did not have to include the surprise ingredient (tofu) in their dish.

The winners of the competition (Team 1) made a delicious meal consisting of spicy risotto, black beans, and a coconut milk-infused shake for a woman with anxiety related to swallowing. The audience favorite winners (Team 5) produced a macaroni and cheese and vanilla milkshake combo for a young non-verbal child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Other dishes included spicy lentil daal, salmon, roasted carrots, and a mango lassi drink.

Speech@NYU, NYU Steinhardt’s online master’s program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, put together Dining with Dysphagia, A Cookbook. The book is full of delicious and easy recipes, and just like the Iron Chef competition, it is aimed to make eating an enjoyable experience for patients with all levels of dysphagia.

Iron Chef 2017

Student Spotlight: Q&A with CSD Senior Mehak Noorani

Undergraduate students in the NYU Steinhardt Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders come from a wide range of backgrounds and have varied interests. We talked with Mehak Noorani, a current senior in the CSD program who came to NYU to study something else, but was drawn to the many opportunities a degree in CSD could offer her. Combined with an array of minors, Mehak is just one example of how to make CSD undergraduate studies at NYU Steinhardt a truly unique experience.

What is your background, and what brought you to NYU Steinhardt to study in the CSD undergraduate program?

I am originally from Dallas, Texas, but my parents are immigrants to the U.S. from Pakistan, so I grew up in a bilingual household learning both Urdu and English, while also learning Spanish at school since kindergarten. I have always been interested in languages and the psychology behind how we use them in different contexts. I originally came to NYU to study linguistics, but I realized in my first year that I had always also been interested in health professions, due to both of my paternal grandparents passing away from stroke when I was a young child. When I first came upon the CSD program, I realized that it was the perfect intersection of these two broad fields I wanted to study.

What are your favorite aspects of the CSD program at NYU Steinhardt?

My favorite aspect of the program is the dedicated and inspiring faculty. I am currently pursuing the CSD Honors Program, and one of the requirements is to propose an independent research project and write a senior thesis under the mentorship of a faculty member in our department. This process is something that I never could have imagined myself doing when I first came to NYU. However, thanks to the support I’ve received from my faculty mentor, Dr. Sonja Molfenter, and the director of the undergraduate program, Dr. Susannah Levi, I have been successful thus far in collecting data and working towards writing my final paper.

Both of these professors have taught me to critically ask questions about what we learn in the classroom as well as come up with ways to creatively tackle them. Although my thesis is not due until the end of the semester, I already know that I will walk away from my education at NYU with a sharper mind and a higher sense of self-confidence than I came in with due to the unwavering encouragement I’ve received from the faculty.

Do you have any minors or other areas of study you are interested in? How do you think these relate to your study of CSD?

I carefully chose three minors to complement my CSD education: Global Public Health, Multi-Faith and Spiritual Leadership, and Nutrition and Dietetics. Each of these minors have integrated seamlessly into my training as a future speech-language pathologist.

For example, as speech-language pathologists, we are healthcare providers that fit into larger systems of health policy and it is to our advantage to be aware of the other issues that affect our clients, which is why I chose to study Global Public Health. In addition, each of the clients we see is more than simply a speech/language diagnosis. I chose the minor Multi-Faith and Spiritual Leadership in the Silver School of Social Work so as to better prepare myself to serve people of various faiths, ethnicities, genders, and other backgrounds. Lastly, many SLPs evaluate and provide therapy to patients who suffer from swallowing disorders, which is the area of research I have focused on for my thesis. The Nutrition and Dietetics minor has taught me the importance of safe swallowing outside the realm of speech-language pathology. Eating and drinking are very important to who we are as individual people as well as to our society, and any disruption in this skill can greatly harm a person’s physical and mental health.

I am incredibly grateful to have been able to pursue each of these minors as they have taught me to think critically about our field and the people we serve.

How do you hope to use your degree in CSD to further your career goals?

When I first became interested in the field of communicative sciences and disorders, I thought I only wanted to be a clinician. However, through being involved in research labs, creating my own research project, and what I’ve learned in the classroom, I have realized that I can make a greater impact on the people we serve through clinically relevant research and I hope to one day be a researcher in our field.

I have also learned, however, that the best research comes from clinicians who are aware of the most pressing needs of the populations we serve. As such, I am currently applying to graduate schools around the country to obtain my Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I hope to work as a speech-language pathologist for many years in order to become finely attuned to the realities in our field. My hope is that this experience will make me a stronger researcher when I return to university to pursue a Ph.D.

None of these realizations would have been possible without my professors, my volunteer and internship experiences, as well as the lifelong friendships I’ve built with my classmates. My undergraduate career at NYU Steinhardt has certainly built a very strong foundation for my future career aspirations, and I will always look back to these years as one of the most transformative periods of my life.




Graduate Student Katrin Gabriel Accepted into ASHA Leadership Program

The CSD department is proud to congratulate graduate student Katrin Gabriel, who was recently selected to be a participant in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Minority Student Leadership Program at the ASHA Convention in Philadelphia, PA. Katrin will have the opportunity to take part in a set of leadership-focused educational programs and activities at the convention, and interact with leaders in the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language, and hearing sciences.

We chatted with Katrin about how she came to study in the department here at NYU Steinhardt, and her plans for the future.

What drew you to pursue a degree in NYU Steinhardt’s CSD MS program?

I pursued the master’s program at NYU Steinhardt because I wanted to be in a program and live in a city that was culturally and linguistically diverse. I am grateful to be able to gain hands-on clinical experience with individuals across the lifespan utilizing a variety of research and evidence-based practice.

What are your favorite aspects of the program?

Studying abroad in Sweden was one of the best experiences I have had at NYU Steinhardt. This was a unique and fun experience, where I learned state of the art approaches regarding speech science and speech disorders from leading researchers in our field through a multicultural lens. Being immersed in a different culture has enhanced my cultural competence and raised my awareness of working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Other favorite aspects of the program are the variety of course electives and interdisciplinary events that NYU offers. These elective courses and events have enhanced my overall clinical knowledge and competency as a clinician.

My most distinctive clinical experiences in the program have been working with individuals with Huntington’s Disease, assisting with voice modification for members of the transgender community and performing instrumental assessments, such as Modified Barium Swallows, on individuals with swallowing disorders.

What are some of the challenges you face in the field? What are some of the most rewarding moments?

Bridging professional divides in the work place is one of the main challenges I have faced in the field. All healthcare and educational systems share a common and primary commitment to providing the best care and education for each patient/student. However, inter-professional collaboration can also create challenges such as misunderstandings across disciplines. I believe interdisciplinary collaboration is essential and beneficial for providing the best care, but in order for this to be successful, the professional team must learn, understand, respect, and support all disciplines and others’ work.  Another challenge I have faced has been that of juggling a high caseload of clients while having minimal materials.

Challenges aside, this field is filled with so many rewarding moments. Every relationship with each client has been meaningful to me. Creating person-centered sessions where the clients feel empowered and excited about their speech, language, and communication is always rewarding. Creating lyrics and performing a song with a client with aphasia was one of the most rewarding experiences, and was my first official experience with a client at NYU. This client had difficulty with word retrieval, writing and organizing his thoughts in order to deliver his communicative intent. I worked with this client for 2 semesters, which taught me me so much about the importance of creativity, and to take more risks in treatment sessions. Being with the client when they performed the song in front of the group was absolutely amazing.

What are your professional goals post-graduation?

I love working with both pediatrics and adults. I love empowering individuals to discover and (re)gain confidence in their speech, language, and communication. I hope to work with children, particularly with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in the educational or clinical setting; their perspective of the world is so interesting and I enjoy working on social skills and pragmatic concepts with these individuals.

With regards to adults, my interests include aphasia, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing difficulties. I also hope to work in the hospital setting (outpatient or inpatient) to provide the best plan of care for each adult client, including aspects like effective eating/swallowing strategies, exercises and goals for functional communication.

What do you think the importance of and place groups like ASHA have in advancing the field?

American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) promotes a better quality of life for children and adults with communication disorders. ASHA offers resources to guide evidence-based decision-making for clinical and professional issues, for current advancement in the field and provides a community of professionals where I can collaborate, learn, ask for advice and share insights on a variety of speech, language and communication topics.