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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Student uses fellowship to improve speech therapy

senior Amy Anderson will spend next year giving back to an institution that has provided her with some critical help for nearly a decade.

Anderson is the winner of this year's Martin Dale '53 Fellowship, a $25,000 award that enables an outstanding senior to devote the year following graduation to an independent project. She plans to work with the staff at the Hollins Communications Research Institute of Roanoke, Va., helping them refine and expand a computer package called Fluency Net that aids in therapy for stuttering.

Anderson, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, has been connected with the institute since she was a student there in her early teens. Clinicians taught her to correctly and consistently say her own name "in less than 10 seconds," she says, and have helped her to the point today where she shows no trace of a stutter.

"I was a stutterer -- I suppose I still am," Anderson says. "You deal with it by continual practice. Hollins helps people gain a certain control of their speech mechanisms. The initial program lasts two and a half weeks, and I continue to go back every July for kind of a weekend practice seminar."

Anderson says one of the challenges faced by those in speech therapy is taking what they learn in clinical settings and making it work in everyday situations.

"Conversation ... is a world of half-swallowed tomato soup and unexpectedly blaring Britney Spears: distractions that make the conversion of practiced speech movements into real-time conversation a difficult proposition," she writes in her project statement.

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Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-3601

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