The third annual Aphasia Awareness Walk, hosted by speech-language pathology students and professors in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, took place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 17, on East Campus. Aphasia is a disorder of understanding and using symbols, most evident in difficulty using or understanding language. Symbols can include words, letters, numbers, signs and more. According to ASHA, Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Aphasia may causes difficulties in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, but does not affect intelligence. The Aphasia Awareness Walk is dedicated to raising awareness and celebrating individuals with aphasia and their families by gathering community supports. Dr. Wang and her husband participanted in this event.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants Conference hosted by Kentucky EPSCoR was held in Louiseville, KY (06/05-06/06/2017). The two-day conference provides many essentials for succeeding in applying for NSF grants. The whole conference materials can be downloaded by click here. The key message is to ask often and ask early. The program officers at the conference really encourage faculty to communicate with them often and early. As a junior faculty, don't be shy to ask to serve on review panel. This can help you know the process of grant review at NSF and also help you shape your future proposal better. If funding allows, plan a trip to DC or conference to meet with program officer in person. Remeber always be prepared with one-page summary of your research project or concept paper.
The 29th annual convention for APS took place in Boston from 05/25-29/2017. A student from Dr.Wang's former lab presented her poster titled "Investigating protective and compensatory mechanisms in kindergarteners at risk for reading impairment who subsequently develop typical reading skills". She found socioeconomic status (SES) was significantly higher among children who are at-risk for reading impairments in kindergarten but develop typical reading outcomes relative to those who subsequently develop reading impairments. In addtion, there was no differents in vocabularty between this two groups of children in kindergarten, but in 2nd grade, the risk group developing normal reading skills showed significantly better vocabulary than the risk group developing reading impairment. This finding promotes vocabulary knowledge might be important to support reading development in at-risk group of children. Meanwhile, there was no white matter connectivity diference between the two group of children in kindergarten, but there was a fiber tract in the right hemisphere presenting differennces between the two groups, which supports the right-hemispheric compensatory neural mechanism that may support reading development in at-risk grouop.
Dr. Ronnie D. Green was appointed as the 20th chancellor of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on May 8, 2016. The official installation ceremony took place on April 6, 2017. As a junior faculty, Dr. Wang was thrilled to have this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Green in person. She also has great opportunity to meet many role models (see Picture: from the left to right, Dr. Sebestian who is the dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Nursing, Dr. Kostelnik who is the dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Education and Human Science, and Dr. Guthmiller who is the dean of UNMC College of Dentistry. Dr. Wang enjoyed every moment during this special event. Professor Joy Castro gave a wonderful closing speech and she said: "Leading the University of Nebraska will require unusual vision and courage. But it’s safe to say that Ronnie Green is a man not easily fooled and not easily led. As Chancellor, he has begun already to demonstrate his extraordinary capacity to lead us well. We have every faith that he will."
The Spring Research Fair (Undergraduate Research Conference) was held on 04/04/2017 at the Nebraska Union. UCare students (Katie Monson, Laura Munn and Ellie Watkins presented their first research poster titled "Investigating executive function in children at-risk for developmental dyslexia (DD) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)". Both Katie and Laura's mother came to support them. Dr. Wang was very proud of them learning neuroimaging data analysis from ground zero. Their enthusiasm and dilegence finally paid off. They were able to put their findings together and presented as a poster format. Katie will graduate in June 2017 and is trying to get into graduate program. Laura and Ellie will continue their research at NL3 Lab under Dr. Wang's mentorship in the coming academic year. This is exciting.
Nebraska Lecture kicked off on 04/03/2017 with the openning speaker, Dr. Victoria Molfese. As an expert in cognitive development of infants, children and adults, she said research on childhood reading has advanced at a rapid pace during the past 30 years. The result is an ever-growing volume of information that may overwhelm parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers who deal with reading impairments at a practical level. In her lecture, Dr. Molfese will simplify the evidence and promote effective strategies for reading intervention. “Right now, the thought is that if an intervention brings students back to reading at grade level, then their reading skills are fine,” said Dr. Molfese, who serves as associate dean for research in the College of Education and Human Sciences. “But the text children are expected to read becomes increasingly complicated as students advance in grade level and gets harder across content areas. We need to be careful with these students to see if additional intervention is needed in later grades.”
Each March, the Brain Injury Association of America observes Brain Injury Awareness Month. At the same time, the Society for Neuroscience recognized Brain Awareness Week March 13-19. In conjunction with these two annual events, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders is highlighting the work of three faculty members whose research and expertise focuses on brain development, injuries and disorders. Dr. Wang was featured by Kelcey Buck on the SECD news.