Alum Spotlight: Dr. Belinda Daughrity

Dr. Belinda DaughrityWe are delighted to congratulate Dr. Belinda Daughrity on her new position as a tenure track assistant professor in the department of Speech-Language Pathology at California State University, Long Beach.

Dr. Daughrity completed her B.A. in English and Spanish at Spelman College, her M.A. in speech-language pathology and audiology in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at NYU Steinhardt, and her Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Human Development and Psychology at UCLA. Her research interests include social skills and parent involvement in children with autism spectrum disorders, as well as barriers to early access to diagnosis and treatment of autism in communities of color.

We spoke with Dr. Daughrity about her background, her time at NYU, and her advice for students looking to break into the field.

Where are you originally from, and what brought you to NYU? 

I’m originally from Los Angeles, CA.  I chose NYU Steinhardt’s CSD department for my master’s study because I was impressed by the program’s rigor and the diversity of opportunities available for research and practicum opportunities.

How has your experience at NYU Steinhardt prepared you for your current role as Assistant Professor?

My experience at NYU Steinhardt was critical in helping me to prepare for my current role as an Assistant Professor. I learned firsthand how to balance teaching responsibilities and student mentoring with ongoing research work. At NYU, I saw prime examples of the type of role I wanted to play as a professor. I wanted to conduct scholarly research while being an excellent professor to help mentor the next generation of speech-language pathologists.

What was the focus of your research here at NYU? Which faculty members did you work with? 

I worked with Dr. Reuterskiold and Dr. Sidtis on a research study on how typically developing children learn idioms via incidental learning. It was my first introduction to research. They saw my potential and gave me more responsibility on the project and later included me as an author on the finished poster session at the annual ASHA convention.

What advice would you give to current students that are preparing to enter this profession? 

I would advise students to take time to build relationships with professors outside of class. Get involved in their research, get to know them, and take advantage of unique opportunities.

Becoming Cultural Learners: CSD Bilingual Extension Students Lead Community-Based Service-Learning Project

Photo of CSD Bilingual Extension StudentsMost pre-service speech-language pathologists report feeling ill-prepared to make ‘surface-level’ decisions regarding the language to select for instruction/intervention, and, more specifically, selecting the types of linguistic targets on which their instruction should focus when their speech and language therapy involves children and families who speak languages different from English, and who embrace cultural beliefs and values other than the American mainstream. But, when speech-language pathologists become ‘cultural learners,’ they can come to know their students and the families of their students and provide culturally responsive and meaningful lessons that tap those students’ prior (home/cultural) knowledge.

The expansion of a Speech-language pathologist’s cultural knowledge tends to be best accomplished when submerged in the ‘messiness’ of real world contexts. Therefore, providing Speech-Language Pathology students with the opportunity to interact with Latino and Chinese-speaking families through service-learning might be deemed as crucial step in the exploration of deep linguistic and cultural barriers to the implementation of literacy instruction, barriers that would not be readily identified if the students were only exposed to traditional classroom-based pedagogical approaches to learning. After all, the cultural knowledge-base is the scaffold onto which every other aspect of service-delivery is built upon for the speech-language pathologist who will serve emerging bilingual individuals (Brea, 2014).

Under the guidance of Maria Rosa Brea, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, and the clinical supervision of Alisha Ghandi, students in the Bilingual Extension Program led and participated in a service-learning project, providing parent workshops in two locations in our community: University Settlement and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.

For this project, students in NYU Steinhardt’s MS in Communicative Sciences and Disorders Bilingual Extension Program were responsible for developing lesson plans using evidence-based strategies to use before, during, or after reading, implementing instruction in the families’ two languages, and providing supplemental materials that would allow a connection to the families’ cultural funds of knowledge.

Students collected parent resources and compiled their own descriptive and reflective field notes in preparation for and post the implementation of the intervention. In addition to the students in the Bilingual Extension Program, these parent book-sharing workshops provided an opportunity for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral bilingual-biliterate students to volunteer their time as interpreters and as collaborators in the instructional process. A total of 24 families attended the instructional workshops.

Collage of CSD Bilingual Extension Students

Students in the Bilingual Extension Program providing parent instruction on shared book-reading strategies Mandarin Chinese and in Spanish.


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CSD Faculty and Students win 2017 ASHA Convention Awards

Photo of CSD Faculty and Students

Dr. Molfenter, Dr. Grigos, and Julie Case with their Awards

We are proud to announce that Dr. Sonja Molfenter, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, received the Early Career Contributions in Research Award at the 2017 ASHA convention held this year in Los Angeles.

About the Award
The Award for Early Career Contributions in Research is designed to acknowledge significant scientific accomplishments by individuals beyond the dissertation and within five years of receiving their doctoral degree or other terminal degree. This award may be given to an individual or individuals under contract with an institution of higher education or other institution where research in communication sciences and disorders and sciences is being conducted.

About Dr. Molfenter
Sonja Molfenter has 18 peer-reviewed publications (five as the first author) when she received her Ph.D., and today has 30. In her first year at NYU, Dr. Molfenter received ASHA’s Advancing Academic Research Career funding to collect pilot data on pharyngeal sarcopenia and dysphagia in healthy aging. She received an NYU training grant to study the relationship between oropharyngeal edema and swallowing function. The grant, and participation in ASHA’s Lessons for Success program led to an NIH new-investigator grant to further study pharyngeal atrophy. She also received funding from the Clinical and Translation Science Institute to improve laryngeal function in Parkinson’s disease.

Other awards received by CSD faculty at the ASHA 2017 Conference include:
Associate Professor & Director of the MS Program, Maria Grigos and Doctoral Student, Julie Case: 2016 Editor’s Award for the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research-Speech Section for the article titled “Articulatory Control in Childhood Apraxia of Speech in a Novel Word-Learning Task” (Case & Grigos, 2016)
Many Congratulations go out to Sonja Molfenter, Maria Grigos, and Julie Case on their achievements!
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CSD Undergraduate Students Take Capitol Hill!

Photo of CSD Undergraduate Students on Capitol HillIn October seniors in Steinhardt’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders Samantha Louis, Nicole Candiotti, and Gretchen Go participated in ASHA’s Student Day on the Hill in Washington D.C.  There, they advocated for the speech and hearing sciences in regards to many different issues including the Medicare therapy cap, financial aid for graduate students, and much more.

All students in attendance personally visited the offices of their local district congress representatives, state senators, and representatives to voice their thoughts and concerns. ASHA’s Student Day on the Hill was a wonderful reminder that students, clinicians, and educators should continuously advocate for legislation that will ultimately benefit the field of CSD and the many populations served.

Photo of CSD Undergraduate Students on Capitol Hill

PhD in Communicative Sciences and Disorders Open House on 12/7

Please join us on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 from 6:00-7:30 pm for our annual open house to learn more information about the doctoral program. The event will be held in the conference room within the CSD department at 665 Broadway, 9th Floor.

The agenda includes an overview of the program, faculty introductions, and time to discuss your plans and research interests with professors and current students. If you are considering a PhD and are interested in learning more about our program, we strongly encourage you to attend this event.

Please RSVP by sending email to Dr. Adam Buchwald if you plan to attend.


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Clinic Director Iris Fishman Successfully Completes Dissertation Defense

Photo of Iris FishmanThe department congratulates Iris Fishman, MA, CCC-SLP on successfully defending her dissertation. She will earn a Ph.D. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences from the Graduate Center, City University of NY in 2018.

Iris directs the clinic at the NYU Steinhardt Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. She is a speech-language pathologist who has directed a number of speech-language pathology and assistive technology programs in the NY metropolitan area. Iris is also the author of a book and several articles on AAC, has presented at major national conferences, and guest lectured at a number of universities.

Iris’ thesis is titled Lexical Access in Individuals with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and Severe Speech and Physical Impairment (SSPI). The study examined 16 adolescents and adults with CP/SSPI to determine whether lexical access is independent of severe speech impairment. Through eye tracking, spoken word recognition was examined in phonological competitor and semantic relative conditions. Results indicated that lexical access and organization develop independent of production.
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CSD Department Co-Hosts 5th Annual Meeting on Phonology

The Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders is pleased to announce they have partnered with the Department of Linguistics to bring the 5th Annual Meeting on Phonology to NYU’s campus September 15-17, 2017.

Assistant Professor Tara McAllister is one of the organizers of the event, and Associate Professor and Director of the PhD program Adam Buchwald will serve as one of the keynote speakers. Doctoral student in the department Heather Campbell will also present.

The conference will feature presentations on all areas of theoretical, experimental and computational phonology, and will also feature an integrated, special session Bridging the gap between phonological theory and speech disorders supported by NSF.

Registration for the conference is open through September 7th and is FREE for all students and $120 for non-students.

Please visit the Annual Meeting on Phonology website for more detailed information on the conference location and program. We look forward to seeing everyone there!


Tara McAllister Develops App for Speech Therapy

Photo of Tara McAllister AppMispronouncing the “r” sound is among the most common speech errors, and is the most challenging to correct in speech therapy. For other sounds – such as “t” or “p” – speech pathologists can give clear verbal, visual, or tactile cues to help children understand how the sound is created, but “r” is difficult to show or explain. In addition, some children may have trouble hearing the difference between correct and incorrect “r” sounds, making it even more difficult for them to improve.

A growing body of evidence suggests that speech therapy incorporating visual cues — or visual biofeedback — can help. Visual biofeedback shows a someone what their speech looks like in real time. For instance, speech might be represented by dynamic waves on a screen.

Research led by Tara McAllister, assistant professor of communicative sciences and disorders at NYU Steinhardt, and published in May in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, suggests that visual biofeedback can be effective in helping some people to correct the “r” sound.

Read more about Dr. McAllister’s work in developing the app in Steinhardt’s At a Glance blog.

Dysphagia Research in the News

Cooking for DysphagiaThis spring, Erin Embry, clinical assistant professor and Sonja Molfenter, assistant professor, were both quoted in articles sharing how to cook for a loved one of any age who has dysphagia, a common swallowing disorder. Ms. Embry teaches a class during the January term with Lisa Sasson of Steinhardt’s Nutrition and Food Studies Department bringing together students from both CSD and nutrition to study dysphagia and compete in an “Iron Chef” type competition. Dr. Molfenter, whose research focuses on disordered swallowing, served as a judge at the competition.

Recipes for People with Dysphagia: Don’t Forget Flavor (

How to Cook for a Loved One with Dysphagia (

A New Type of Cookbook Focuses on Celebrating Good Food for All (DIVERSEability Magazine)

How to Cook for A Child with Dysphagia (