For the past nine years, Cheran Zadroga has been hard at work at UCF pursuing her Communication Sciences and Disorders BA, Communication Sciences and Disorders MA, and now Education’s PhD track in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her academic focus in Language and Literacy complements her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).
As an SLP, Zadroga helps children overcome speech and language impairments. Her specialty is helping them improve their reading and writing skills. “I feel appreciative that I’m playing this key role in helping build students’ knowledge to impact them in the future,” she says. “I absolutely love what I do.”
Her research focuses on the counseling needs of children with speech and language impairments, as well as providing high quality professional development for teachers and educators. Zadroga will be one of the first graduates of UCF’s new degree specialization in Language and Literacy, and only a few colleges in the U.S. offer that specialization. Barbara Ehren, PhD, the program’s director, shares Zadroga’s passion for Language and Literacy studies and has been a valuable mentor to Zadroga.
While studying at UCF Zadroga has presented at several national conferences, including the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association Schools Conference in Las Vegas and the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists (FLASHA) Annual Convention.
After graduating in 2012, Zadroga hopes to continue helping children at an even larger scale. She says that building partnerships between researchers, universities, and public schools is key in providing evidenced based speech and language therapy to students. “I’m a big believer in collaboration,” she says. “My ultimate goal—to impact students and help them succeed.”
Lynne Telesca has been a practicing speech-language pathologist for 15 years working with early intervention, preschool, and school age children. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology at the State University of New York at Geneseo, with a minor in Musical Theatre, and then her Master of Science from Gallaudet University in Speech and Language Pathology. She became interested in UCF specifically because of the unique doctoral program offered. “I have always been interested in childhood language. In the later years of my career, I became interested in literacy and how speech-language pathologists contribute to literacy development in the public schools.”
During her time at UCF, Telesca has been involved in a few research projects. The first involved research into the type of verbal feedback teachers give students with Learning Disabilities that are English Language Learners in reading, which will be presented in March 2013 at the International TESOL Conference. She is currently investigating how school speech-language pathologists in Central Florida have been affected by the Response to Intervention (RtI) process.
Telesca became the first “Scholar in Residence” in her program track, and she supervises Master’s students during their clinical practicum in Speech-Language Pathology at the Bridge Academy. She will graduate in Fall 2014 and would like to continuing working and collaborating with people outside her profession to improve literacy.