Archived SCSD News

Highlights from Convocation 2019

Thursday's ceremonies featured the participation of 22 members of our 2019 graduating class as well as one of our professors, Dr. Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird giving the Convocation Address. Here is the YouTube Link to Dr. Kay-Raining Bird's Convocation Address.  

As well, one of our graduating students, Alison Bartlett, was featured in the Dal News.




Alison Bartlett is graduating from the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders this week. We sat down for a conversation about her experience and what's next.

What is the most exciting thing about graduating?

Being able to apply everything I’ve learned in the program so that I can start making a difference in people’s lives. It feels almost surreal to finally be able to call myself an Audiologist!”

What will you miss most about Dal and your program?

“Definitely the people! Our program is very small and you end up spending a lot of time together over the course of three years, so we became more of a family than classmates. Also, the faculty and staff are exceptional and they truly want you to succeed. I’m really going to miss all of their support and guidance.”

I understand you are now working at your placement. Can you describe your placement experience and how you benefitted from it?

“Yes, I am! I could not have asked for better placement experience. My Clinical Educator provided me with enough independence to learn and grow more confident in my skills, but also endless amounts of support, guidance, and encouragement when I needed it. I think that the course work in school is fundamental is gaining the knowledge that you need to be successful, but the biggest benefit of my placement experience was learning how to apply that knowledge to real-world situations.”

Where are you from originally and what brought you to Dal?

“I’m originally from Nashwaak Bridge, New Brunswick. When I started researching Universities that offered an Audiology program, Dal was at the top of my list. I had heard a lot of great things about the program from previous Dal graduates and loved that they also include a research project as part of the degree.”
What are some of your fondest memories looking back on your time at Dal?

“In October, we were fortunate enough to get to go to Niagara Falls for the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA) conference. It was such a great experience! I think another would have to be our research project presentation day. It was so fun and exciting see everyone present their hard work!”

What’s next for you?

“Very exciting things! I am so fortunate to be working as an Audiologist for Hearing Institute Atlantic! They have provided me with an incredible opportunity that will allow me to fulfill my dream of providing audiological services to more rural communities.”

SCSD Student makes finals for Dalhousie's annual 3MT competition!

First year Speech-Language Pathology Student (Juliana McLaren) is one of ten finalists

On the evening of March 13, Juliana McLaren participated as one of the ten finalists of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

McLaren won her heat on Tuesday, March 12. Although she didn't win one of the four prizes available on March 13, she did however mention:

"...I think I did really well! It was a good way to promote my research to the public and the university. I am happy I did it! Thank you for all of your encouragement."

Juliana's topic was a presentation on the relationship between dementia and hearing loss.

As previously reported, the competition allows graduate students from across Dalhousie University to come together and present the complexities of their research to a bigger audience --- but they only have 180 seconds to do it.

Talia Kowalchuk (2nd year Speech-Language Pathology) competed in different heat, but didn't advance.

The top prizes of this competition are 1st - $2,000; 2nd - $1,000; 3rd - $500; and Peoples' Choice - $500. The winner of the Dalhousie event moves on to compete in the Atlantic Regional competition in April. The Regional winner will then compete for the national title. The national 3MT Competition is sponsored by the Canadian Association of Graduate Schools (CAGS).

Congratulations to our participants in the 3MT competition!

Contributing Sources: Dr. S. Aiken, J. McLaren, Dal News, CAGS

SCSD Students presenting at home and abroad

First year Speech-Language Pathology Student claims prize in Halifax Science Slam

Congratulations to first year Speech-Language Pathology student Juliana McLaren, who came 2nd and received a prize of $250 in the Halifax Science Slam!

The purpose of the event is to present a scientific talk in five minutes to the general public.

Her talk, Have you heard about the link between dementia and hearing loss?, was well received by an enthusiastic group of science enthusiasts of all ages.

First year student kicks off first year with an International Conference

First year student Speech-Language Pathology Juliana McLaren (pictured) participated in the Workshop for Young Female Researchers in Speech Sciences & Technology (YFRS-2018), held on September 1st in Hyderabad, India.

The workshop, which is organized in conjunction with the Interspeech conference, provides female Masters and Undergraduate students a chance to learn more about graduate studies in the speech sciences. At the workshop, Juliana presented a poster entitled Investigating the Association Between Hearing Loss and Memory Using Structural and Functional Neuroimaging.

The poster was an overview of her thesis proposal, which is under the supervision of Dr. Steven Aiken.

Third Year Speech-Language Pathology Students present at ASHA in Boston

Andrea Power and Jaclyn Kirstiuk presented their research this November at the ASHA Convention in Boston, MA.

Their unique longitudinal case report follows the communication abilities of a woman with Wernicke’s aphasia post herpes simplex viral encephalitis (HSVE). She was followed for seven years, beginning at 13 months post-onset, in conjunction with six periods of intensive communication therapy. Consistent and marked gains in impairment-based and functionally-based measures were observed, as well as in day-to-day functioning. We contribute to the limited research on aphasia post-HSVE, showing the capacity for dramatic improvements up to eight years post-onset.”

Sarah Anthony, Madeleine Leger, and Melissa Spence presented their research on An Intervention for Speech Intelligibility in Adults with Down Syndrome

Poor intelligibility can adversely affect adults with Down syndrome and speech therapy programs are often unavailable. Thus, there is a need to study intelligibility interventions for this population. This study investigated a six-week, twice weekly intelligibility intervention for three adults with DS. Intervention focused on the implementation of a compensatory strategy (“slow and clear”) to increase intelligibility. Progress was monitored using pre-, post- and follow-up testing and weekly probes. Results demonstrate that six weeks of intervention can lead to improvements in articulation accuracy, overall intelligibility, and use of a targeted strategy in adults with DS. Interventions consisting of awareness training combined with focused articulation therapy can be effective in raising overall metalinguistic awareness and the ability to identify and repair communication breakdowns. The results underline the practical importance of providing therapy to this underserved population.






Dalhousie audiology students (Class of 2019) bring home the 2018 CAA University Challenge Cup, again

Congratulations goes out the to Dalhousie audiology students (Class of 2019) who were awarded the University Challenge Cup at the 2018 conference of the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA). The class received the award for developing a promotional video called "A not so quiet place: Living with tinnitus". For more information and a link to the video, go to

The Dalhousie Audiology Class with the CAA University Challenge Cup. To view the cup close up, visit the SCSD Reception Desk later this fall.


Dr. Kay-Raining Bird participates in conversation about a $15 minium wage on CBC Radio One (Halifax)

From August 7 to 10, Dr. Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird participated in a four part conversation with CBC Radio One's Information Morning about a $15 minimum wage. Here are the links to the four parts of the conversation. Thank you to Nina Corfou, with CBC Nova Scotia for providing the links:

Dal hearing aid program gets financial boost

Here is a link to an article also featuring donation from the Lion's Club to the Dalhousie Hearing Aid Assistance Program.




Dalhousie audiology students (Class of 2018) bring home the 2017 CAA University Challenge Cup

Congratulations to Dalhousie audiology students (Class of 2018) who were awarded the University Challenge Cup at the 2017 conference of the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA). The class received the award for developing a promotional video about vestibular audiology. For more information and a link to the video, go to

The Dalhousie Audiology Class with the CAA University Challenge Cup. To view the cup close up, visit the SHCD Reception Desk.

Book to launch October 2017!

Dr. Ellen Hickey has completed the second edition of a book on dementia management, Dementia: Person centered assessment and intervention, with co-editor Michelle Bourgeois. While there is an emphasis on communication and the role of the speech-language pathologist, the book offers a broad review of interventions from a variety of disciplines. Evidence-based assessment and intervention approaches that promote meaningful life engagement for persons with dementia are described. The book is being published by Taylor & Francis, a division of Routledge, and is expected to be in print in late October 2017. 

Recruiting students for research

Dr. Jian Wang is recruiting students (both master thesis and PhD) to join his research team. The selected student(s) will obtain a stipend from one of his research grants. The amount of the stipend will be based upon the student’s experience and academic performance as well as availability of funding. It is expected that a PhD student will be supported for 50-80% of their total costs from the grant. The selected students will have higher chance of funding success from the Tri-council and other sources.

Dr. Jian Wang’s research is funded by grants from NSERC and CIHR and covers 3 major areas: (1) cochlear gene therapy against cell death induced by noise, ototoxic drugs and aging, (2) physiology and noise induced damage of ribbon synapses between sensory cells of hearing and primary auditory neurons, and (3) the impact of hearing loss on cognitive function.

Infant hearing awareness

The Hearing Foundation of Canada, in conjunction with SHCD professor Dr. Steven Aiken, has launched an infant hearing campaign for the month of May. Hearing loss in babies is invisible, and many babies live for months or even years without a diagnosis. This can cause preventable and unnecessary cognitive and developmental setbacks. May is “Speech and Hearing Month,” the ideal time to approach the Canadian Government with our voices united on behalf of babies. Every baby in Canada deserves a chance to hear and to communicate. For more information and to sign the petition, please visit

A 'win-win' for all

Second-year audiology students from the School of Human Communication Disorders provided audiological assessment services to Special Olympics athletes on Saturday, March 25.  

Antigonish audiologist (and School alumnus) Nadia Tymczyszyn, who received training in Philadelphia for the Special Olympics “Healthy Hearing” program this past year, provided overall supervision. The event was coordinated by Sport Nova Scotia’s Tom Fahie and Duncan Floyd from the School’s audiology faculty.

Interested athletes received a thorough assessment of their hearing systems. It was a “win-win” for all involved.

SHCD welcomes visiting Otologist

The School of Human Communication Disorders welcomed visiting Otologist Dr. Doreen Nakku in June for training in auditory electrophysiology with Dr. Steve Aiken. Dr. Nakku will be conducting a study investigating the impact of HIV on childhood hearing in her home country of Uganda using advanced audiological measures to distinguish and characterize auditory deficits stemming from disease processes and drug-related toxicity. This work is funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).








Hilary Buckle(left) and Shally Yuan, members of the 2nd year Audiology class get ready to greet the athletes.

Shown in the photo (L-R): Lauren Dunphy (Research Assistant), Dr. Steve Aiken, Dr. Doreen Nakku, Dr. Ganesh Attigodu Chandrashekaran (Post-doctoral Fellow)

SHCD hosts ICPLA 2016


Dalhousie's new Collaborative Health Education Building served as the main conference facility as SHCD played host to the 16th ICPLA conference. Dedicated volunteers under the direction of Volunteer team lead Bonita Squires. The volunteer team included Peter Cahill, Alison Coldwell, Janine Fitzpatrick, Teba Hamodat, Erin Sparks, and Jab ran Umar. Mark Monk, the school's Receptionist and Website Manager worked with conference chair, Dr. Michael Kiefte on developing the conference's website as well as helping with other small aspects of the conference in the year leading up to the main event. For more information about the conference, please visit Abstracts for the sessions can be found under Submissions.

The ICPLA Conference was the 3rd major conference to be held in Halifax in the last 12 months with a focus on Communication Disorders. The previous two conferences included Accoustics Week in Canada 2015  for the Canadian Accoustical Association and the recent biennial conference of Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC).

Related information to ICPLA 2016 Conference:


Basic income guarantee: the time is right

The Basic Income conference was a huge success. It was very well-attended, well-received. A tremendous thank you to SHCD students Karissa Izzard-Wells, Elspeth MacLachlan, Megan Jabusch, and Sarah Martin for their tireless work on Saturday, April 9, 2016, their decorum in introducing guest speakers and presenters, and their professionalism throughout. For more information, visit the Basic Income Canada Network.

Global Television was also present and recorded two segments from the conference:

Thank you to Dr. Elizabeth (Mandy) Kay-Raining Bird for the supplying the photo and links. The original poster and information about the conference can be found here.

SHCD Students Awarded Prestigious Scholarships

Congratulations to SHCD Master’s students who were recently awarded prestigious scholarships for 2015-2016!

Peter Cahill was awarded the Killam Predoctoral Scholarship to for his thesis research on discourse genre and the development of complex syntax in dual-language learners. Dalhousie’s Killam scholarships support their “recipients to conduct outstanding research and make significant contributions to their intellectual communities.” Peter also received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Award and an honorary Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (NSGS) for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Janine Fitzpatrick was awarded a Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) Scotia Scholar Award in the Medical Research Category to support her thesis research on verbal working memory and discourse comprehension in healthy older adults.

Karissa Izzard-Wells, last year’s recipient of the James Robinson Johnston Scholarship for African Canadians, received a renewal for 2015-2016 academic year.

Sarah Martin, a recipient of the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (NSGS) last year, received a renewal of the NSGS for another year to support her thesis research on the experience of children with developmental disabilities in French Immersion.

Matthew Sebastian
received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Award to support his thesis research, which explores gesture use and lexical facilitation in aphasia. He was also awarded an NSHRF Scotia Scholar Award in the Health Services Research Category.

Jennifer (Jennika) Soles received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Award to support her thesis research on premorbid language assessment of bilinguals with aphasia. Jennika was also one of last year’s recipients of the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship and has received an honorary renewal for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Kegan Stephen received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Award to support his thesis research on ribbon repair after noise-induced synaptic damage in the cochlea.

Ariane Tye was awarded the James Robinson Johnston Scholarship, which is offered each year by Dalhousie “to a promising African Canadian student.”

Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology Act Introduced

Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology Act Introduced

On April 15, 2015, Hon. Leo Glavine, Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness, announced the introduction of legislation to regulate our professions, audiology and speech-language pathology. Shown here along with the Minister (3rd from left) are Speech and Hearing Association of Nova Scotia (SHANS) members Greg Noel, Pat Cleave, Heather Maessen, Julie St. Pierre, and Joy Armson.  

Pat Cleave, professor in the School of Human Communication Disorders (SHCD), has chaired the SHANS Legislative Committee since 2010. This Committee is comprised of SHANS members who work in a variety of settings including the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres, school boards, private practice, and the School of Human Communication Disorders. SHCD members of the Committee include Pat Cleave (chair), Joy Armson, Duncan Floyd, and Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird.

(2014/2015) SHCD Students Awarded Prestigious Scholarships

SHCD Students Awarded Prestigious Scholarships

Congratulations to SHCD Master’s students who were recently awarded prestigious scholarships for 2014-15!

Karissa Izzard-Wells received the James R. Johnson Scholarship, which is offered each year by Dalhousie “to a promising African Canadian student”.

Sarah Martin, Jennifer Soles, and Emily McGuire were awarded Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarships to support their thesis research.  These scholarships were offered for the first time this year by the Nova Scotia government.