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Professor honored for work in communication sciences and disorders

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Recently, a prestigious honor was bestowed upon a Southeastern associate professor of communication sciences and disorders. On November 13, Dr. Paula Currie was honored as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association at the annual convention in Denver. 

This award is only given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“It’s very humbling, and I am very appreciative of it,” said Currie. “It certainly gives some value and recognition of the contributions that I’ve made to the field.”

As an opportunity for an associate professor became available to Currie in 1991, she began a career at Southeastern. During her time here, Currie has served as the Department Head and Program Director for Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as the assistant dean of the College of Nursing and Health Services. 

Currie has also helped to establish the Campbell Conference. The conference has been held for ten years and includes a nationally recognized speaker and a workshop on various topics of communication. 

According to Currie, the conventions have proved to be successful, usually bringing in about 200 people. Topics of speeches and workshops include stuttering, literacy and motor speech problems. According to Currie, this year’s topic will be cognitive therapy.

After growing up in Louisiana for most of her life, Currie began a career at several local universities. Currie attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Therapy, LSU Medical Center, where she received a Master of Communication Disorders and the University of New Orleans, where she received a Ph.D. in Languages and Learning Disabilities. 

“I always knew I wanted to be in a helping profession,” said Currie. “Speech therapy spoke to me as a way to help people communicate better.”

Currie served as co-owner of a private practice in Louisiana for twelve years. Her career also included being a diagnostician for students with communication disorders and being a public school speech pathologist in Jefferson Parish. 

“When you dismiss someone from speech language theory because they have made significant progress because now they are a competent communicator, it is fulfilling,” said Currie.

According to Currie, a common misconception about the field of communication disorders is that only children receive treatment.

“Most people think we only work with children in a public school setting,” said Currie. “I don’t think they realize we work with individuals across the life span from infant care to geriatrics.”

As a speech pathologist, Currie works with people with a variety of disorders and age ranges.

“A speech pathologist works with communication disorders, assesses information for those who might have a communication disorder and treats those who have communication disorders,” said Currie. 

Currie admits that she is proud of the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Southeastern, as well as the faculty and students.

“We have a wonderful faculty and students,” said Currie. “They’re bright and active students that are engaged in professional activities, student organizations, research and presentations. I’m very proud of the program [Communication Sciences and Disorders] here.”

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