Please click the link below to access an article regarding the recent renovation of the Speech, Language & Hearing Center and the Department of Communication Disorders. The article includes short (and stirring!) videos of the handful of speakers at the ribbon-cutting event (an Aphasia client, a graduating masters student, and officials of the department and the college).
Participants are encouraged to enroll in two aphasia groups offered by the SUNY New Paltz Speech, Language and Hearing Center (SLHC). The groups will meet once a week on Wednesdays for 12 weeks, starting February 8th. The cost is $45.
People with all types of aphasia are welcome. Being able to speak is not a requirement!
If you, a family member, friend, colleague or client is interested in signing up or learning more about the groups, please contact:
Jessica Welsh, M.S., CCC-SLP
Social Skills Group for Adolescents
The Speech, Language and Hearing Center at SUNY New Paltz is offering a spring semester clinic for adolescents who need assistance with social skills. This group is for middle school/high school students. (Preferably 7th -11th graders).
This specialty clinic will be conducted on Thursdays from 5:00-6:15 pm and will focus on improving verbal and non-verbal communication skills in a variety of social interactions. Therapy will be conducted in a group setting by undergraduate students in the Communication Disorders program, supervised by Wendy Bower, Ph.D. CCC-SLP—a New York State licensed and certified speech language pathologist and full-time faculty member. Large and small group interventions will include activities to enhance social communication and there will be a maximum of 8-10 students in the group.
The session will run for 10 weeks beginning February 9, 2017. There is no clinic on Thursday March 23 and Thursday April 13 during Spring Break. The fee for the clinic is $100 for the 10 week session.
The group will meet at the Speech, Language and Hearing Center which is temporarily located in the South Classroom Building (SCB) on the SUNY New Paltz campus. For further information or to sign up for the group, please contact Kelly Colby, the secretary in the Department office, at 257-3600, or e-mail Dr. Bower at email@example.com.
The SUNY New Paltz American Sign Language (ASL) Club held it’s second movie night of the semester on December 3, 2016. The movie shown was “The Hammer” – the biographical film of Matt Hamill, the first Deaf wrestler to win a National Collegiate Wrestling Championship. ASL Club movie night audiences tend to be students fascinated by Deaf culture and American sign language, with occasional attendance from members of the Deaf community. For the movie night events, the ASL Club selects movies where the protagonist is a Deaf individual. This is done not only to show Deaf individuals’ use of sign language but also to demonstrate what Deaf life is like, and what better way than to do so from the perspective of a Deaf protagonist?
The ASL club has also shown “The Miracle Worker” – the classic story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. These two movies portray the frustration, struggles, and great achievements of two vastly different Deaf individuals. I can confidently say that following the movie showing, attendees leave with a greater appreciation and better understanding of the Deaf community.
On behalf of the ASL Club, we would like to again thank everyone who has attended a movie night event. We intend to do more events like these in the future and look forward to having more students and other members of the campus community and wider community in attendance. We hope everyone will enjoy themselves and learn something new! Also, a special thank you to our supervisor, Rebecca Swenson, and the staff of the Communication Disorders Department and Deaf Studies Department for spreading the word about movie night. Until next time! -Jillian Quirante, Public Relations, SUNY New Paltz ASL Club
Thursday evening, March 31, 2016, in Bouton Hall, I collaborated with Resident Advisor Esoshani Barton to put on an American Sign Language (ASL) Social Program for the dormitory residents as part of the Residence Life Community Outreach Initiative. Esoshani is a senior majoring in International Relations and minoring in Deaf Studies. She has taken numerous courses in the Deaf Studies minor and is currently working on an independent studies course to advance her knowledge of ASL and Deaf Culture.
For the program, we instructed a beginning sign language lesson including ASL fingerspelled alphabet, numbers, Wh- question signs, food, family and feeling signs. Then we conducted activities such as ASL bingo and ASL charades. Participants had the opportunity to make ASL door decorations with the handshapes for the fingerspelled names.
This event was enjoyed by all attendees! It was wonderful to be involved in this Residence Life program that shared American Sign Language and Deaf Awareness with the dormitory community.
-Rebecca Swenson, Department of Communication Disorders
Deaf Studies Minor
“My trip to Ethiopia was one of the most eye opening experiences I have ever had. I was able to see and experience a different culture that many people don’t get to see. Working with the deaf children and leading art activities helped me improve my sign language ability and helped me to adapt to new situations, such as finding a new way to communicate to people who don’t speak or sign the same way. One of the fondest memories I have is when some of the kids gave me their art work to keep. Every time one of the kids or young adults was done painting, the smile they had while handing their work to me was priceless. They seemed really happy with what they did and more confident about their work and themselves. Another big highlight of the trip was seeing the remains of Lucy, who was a part of human evolution. I am an anthropology major, so seeing the remains was cool because I was able to connect the experience to what I was learning in class. Overall, this trip challenged me mentally, emotionally and physically. I feel more humble and I love Ethiopia even more. I would definitely go back.” -DeYan McCarthy
“Going to Ethiopia was an amazing life changing trip I’ll never forget. We got to see and experience so much of Ethiopia and its culture in such short amount of time. From the expected all day bus rides through the countryside to the unexpected trip to the Great Pyramids and Ethiopia vs. Kenya soccer game we saw how different things are. I came to admire the way that they live as well as appreciate what I have. Getting the opportunity to work with and get to know the amazing people in the Deaf Community in Bahir Dar was by far the best part and influenced me to focus my career goals in that direction. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to go and hopefully one day I’ll be able to go to back to Ethiopia and travel some more.” -Kathleen Capulli
“Nearing the end of our first week in Ethiopia we had one of biggest cultural experiences: a night of traditional dancing. This night in particular was special because we were celebrating the birthday of our program coordinator from Visions, Greg. From the moment we arrived it was like there was a spotlight on our group; Greg was sung to and given a cake and there was lots of celebrating before we even got inside. Once inside it was like a full immersion in Ethiopian culture. The structure looked like a bigger version of the stick houses we had passed in the countryside, the music from the live band engulfed us right away, and everyone working was in traditional clothing. The show was a combination of sitting and watching performances and required audience participation. There was a part in every song where the dancers would come off the stage to make people dance with them; and during the songs when the dancers were backstage, people would just get up on their own and start dancing. This was one of my favorite nights because going dancing allowed us to have a full cultural experience without a language barrier or worries that we were doing something wrong. We just blended in.” -Maria Gillin
“Summarizing our trip to Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is quite a difficult task. To think in just 14 days we began and completed our journey is amazing. We accomplished so much in such a short time. Before beginning I was ecstatic, yet terrified, unaware of exactly what I would encounter. My family had the same thoughts as we were the first group traveling on this exact study abroad trip. As it turns out, the trip was safe and a wonderful life experience for which I am grateful to have. The journey began with an incredibly long plane flight. We then took an unexpected trip in Egypt to see the pyramids which was purely breathtaking. From there we took a short flight into Addis Ababa. We were all so happy to have arrived. From there we went to Bahir Dar. The 12-hour bus ride through the mountains was both draining and beautiful. Looking through the window provided so much cultural awareness for what was ahead. We saw the people living their daily lives in a way I personally never witnessed before. It really forces you to realize how fortunate we are. Once we began working with the deaf children and adults from the center and the schools there was an immense feeling of security. I had no fears. I knew the long travel and overcoming my fears was all worth it. Everyone was so appreciative and so happy to have us there. Dealing with culture shock and the exposure to 4 languages at once resulted in exhausting, yet rewarding days. We taught lessons, we played numerous games, we experienced a professional soccer game, we visited historical sites, we went to cultural dancing and so much more. There was a nice balance of work and fun throughout the entire trip. This study abroad was a unique experience that no words can do appropriate justice.” -Kalie Hagen
“The opportunity I had to work with the Deaf community in Ethiopia was amazing. Beyond learning Ethiopian Sign Language, seeing Ethiopian history and artifacts and learning the cultures of both the hearing and Deaf population in Ethiopia, I learned a lot about myself. I’m so grateful for all the friends, both SUNY students and Ethiopians, I made while abroad and all that I learned from them. This trip was truly an inspiration and gave me memories and lessons I’ll remember for a lifetime.” -Cathryn Brown
“Having this kind of opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people. It’s not so much about bettering oneself as it is letting yourself open up and allowing a culture much different than your own to influence you. It’s about loving other people, creating new friendships, and experiencing life-changing events. That’s exactly what has happened on this trip to Ethiopia. I never, in a million years, could imagine seeing myself in Africa let alone making as many friends as I have. Between the other girls who were a part of this trip and the amazing Deaf community we met, it’s as if we’ve become one big family. Together, we created an environment of equality and trust, both of which seem to be so difficult to have in the United States. That’s why this adventure is so rewarding; you simply cannot find this genuine experience back home.” -Alexa Venezia
“I absolutely enjoyed my study abroad experience in Ethiopia. It was beautiful to be able to interact with the Ethiopian Deaf community. They embraced us with open arms. Even though there was a language barrier, the children and even the adults wanted our companionship and advice. The teachers also wanted our help to make the center more successful. Not only did I bond with those I was helping, I formed a bond with the group of New Paltz girls I came with. This trip shaped everyone involved into a family. I am so anxious to be able to see how the center will grow.” -Jada Quinlan
Study Abroad Ethiopia Presentation October 20, 2015
Students who traveled to Ethiopia this past June on the Deaf Education and Empowerment service learning trip will be sharing their experiences at a study abroad presentation on October 20, 2015 at 6:30pm in Humanities Bldg. Room 201. All are welcome to come and hear about their experiences, and learn about the next trip coming up in June 2016.
The Deaf Education and Empowerment study abroad service learning trip is a collaboration between SUNY New Paltz Center for International Programs and Visions Global Empowerment, an organization that seeks to create positive change for youth affected by poverty, conflict, and disability through educational and empowerment initiatives. For more information about Visions, visit their Facebook page:
Rebecca Swenson, coordinator of the Deaf Studies minor and the study abroad course instructor, and Caitlin Paul, Study Abroad Adviser, Center for International Programs, will also be at the presentation to provide information and answer questions.
Lauren Meeker, associate professor of anthropology at SUNY New Paltz, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) award of nearly $47,000 to undertake an ethnographic study of the relationship between social belonging and moral personhood in a rural village community in Vietnam.
Meeker will spend three months abroad during the spring ’16 semester, during which time she will observe and partake in annual village festivals and work alongside Vietnamese practitioners of Buddhist rituals that play an important role in establishing the moral identities of the individual villagers and the society as a whole.
Identity and performance become intertwined in these traditional ceremonies, Meeker explained, because the medium and other participants are often channeling or manifesting the personality of a religious deity or an ancestor.
“The people of this village exist in a number of different religious and moral contexts at the same time, and I want to consider how that manifests in ritual and performance,” Meeker said.
This study will involve not only more common anthropological data collection methods like participant observation and interview, but also Meeker’s own unique use of film to prompt and record interaction with her hosts.
“I see the use of film in two ways,” Meeker said. “First, it’s an ethnographic product that can be used to share the information I gather. But it also has the effect of changing the way I see, experience and tend to what’s going on. It forces a higher degree of ethical engagement and a particular type of relationship with the people I’m trying to learn about.”
Meeker used video in an earlier study of the life and activities of a Vietnamese folk singer. “Singing Sentiment,” the product of that research, was screened at venues including the New York Conference on Asian Studies and the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science.
Meeker makes regular use of these types of fieldwork experiences to illuminate and exemplify lessons in the courses she teaches at New Paltz.
“One of my favorite things about teaching is when you bring back your own material and give that to your students,” Meeker said. “When I taught my Anthropology of Vietnam course, for instance, I was able to do a whole section on religion that they didn’t have any readings on, because it was all based on data I had brought back. I find that the students like that, because it seems real in a way that readings sometimes don’t.”
More information about funding opportunities for faculty research is available through the Office of Sponsored Programs.
The inaugural Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Summer Institute welcomed eight secondary education teachers to the State University of New York at New Paltz from July 20-24 for intensive instruction in evolutionary topics ranging from human origins to art, health and human behavior.
Designed to help teachers master the breadth of content needed to effectively teach evolution in a secondary-education curriculum, the institute featured lectures, a hands-on laboratory experiment, screenings of recorded talks from the EvoS program’s annual lecture series and a nature hike in the Mohonk Preserve.
Participating EvoS faculty members included Glenn Geher, professor of psychology and EvoS director; Aaron Isabelle, professor of childhood and early education; Kenneth Nystrom, associate professor of anthropology; Dr. Spencer Mass, lecturer of biology; Tom Nolen, associate professor of biology; Jeffrey Reinking, associate professor of biology; and Hamilton Stapell, associate professor of history.
Aileen Toback, a seventh-grade life science teacher from Heritage Middle School in Newburgh and a member of the New York State Master Teacher Program cohort administered at New Paltz, praised the interdisciplinary nature of the institute’s format. “One of the most invaluable things I got from this was getting so many different points of view on evolution,” Toback said. “I’ve never had a course that was so diverse in the approach.”
The institute also facilitated a mutually-beneficial dialogue between academics and secondary-education teachers. Toback said the instructors engaged the participants and valued their input. “The professors were passionate, but so wanting us to get out of this program what we needed as educators. That was the best part. It was a discussion and that doesn’t happen often between the college level and secondary education, and it probably should more,” she said.
“Teachers are great students,” added Geher. “It was really, really nice teaching this group.”
Completion of the 34-hour program, or the expanded 45-hour program that included the Friday field trip, qualified participants to obtain up to three 15-hour-based continuing education credits (CEUS). Graduates of the program also received certificates of completion, awarded at a ceremony attended by many of the EvoS instructors.
In the fall, the EvoS board will discuss plans for next year’s summer institute. Geher said he hopes the institute will become a dedicated source of funding for EvoS events, including the spring speaker series, field trips and other activities. Though he reached out to principals in Dutchess and Ulster Counties to promote this summer’s institute, Geher said he will expand his promotional efforts next year in hopes of reaching a broader audience.
Energized by her studies at the institute, Toback said she plans to share resources with her school colleagues and members of the Master Teacher cohort. The biggest takeaway, she said, was “finding a way to incorporate evolution into just about every single topic” she teaches.
“That really is going to make a big difference in terms of my students’ understanding – and not just understanding for the test – but lifelong understanding,” Toback said.
The EvoS Summer Institute was sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Honors Program, School of Education and the Mohonk Preserve. Support for the program was provided by EvoS assistants Nicole Wedberg and Meredith Siegel along with Helise Winters, dean of the Office of Extended Learning.
About the EvoS Program
Funded by the National Science Foundation, New Paltz’s Evolutionary Studies Program includes more than 10 Ph.D. faculty who teach dozens of classes related to evolution across the curriculum. The cornerstone of this program is the Evolutionary Studies Seminar, which includes lectures by external speakers with expertise on various aspects of evolutionary scholarship. EvoS courses are drawn from several disciplines, including anthropology, art history, biology, black studies, communication disorders, English, geology, history, physics, and psychology. For more information, visit: http://www.newpaltz.edu/evos/.
Donald Gunn Ross III ’93 (Journalism) has had an interest in American maritime history since he first learned he was related to naval officers and ship builders dating back to the 18th century. His new book, “The Era of the Clipper Ships,” pays homage to that heritage through meticulous research and through more sentimental touches — the image used for the cover of the book, for instance, is of a painting that once hung on the wall in Ross’s childhood house.
The book is the culminating achievement of a project that began more than 20 years ago. Ross had transferred to SUNY New Paltz after two years at Ulster County Community College. “I’d been around here all my life, so it was a perfectly natural transition,” he said. He worked closely with journalism professor emeritus Robert Miraldi and other professors in the journalism department, but never lost his fascination with American history.
Ross traced his own lineage back to Donald McKay, a shipbuilder who by the mid-19th century had earned a reputation for manufacturing the swiftest clipper ships anyone had ever seen.
“There were other good builders, but his ships were famous for being the fastest,” said Ross, noting that McKay’s ships were among the first that could make the journey around Cape Horn in less than 90 days.
Upon graduation Ross began sporadic work on a book considering McKay’s life and the history of the 19th century American merchant marine, and more than two decades later that labor of love has finally made it to publication.
When Jenny (Thayer) Riehl ’02 ’04g (Communication Disorders) was a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” last December, she had no idea that she would eventually win $54,505 in cash and prizes on the popular game show.
With a combination of positivity, smarts and strategy, the Town of Ulster resident closed out the win with a phrase worth $32,000 in the bonus round. She also walked away with an all-expense-paid trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.
“My first thought was one of being grateful and blessed for the win,” said Riehl. “I hadn’t really thought about the monetary outcome of the game, just solving the puzzles correctly.”
Riehl watched the February broadcast with a private viewing party of close friends and family. The celebration included a cake adorned with a wheel on top, and Riehl surprised her guests by handing out leis after the Hawaii trip was announced.
“It was an amazing night,” she said. “I was actually more nervous that day than I had been to tape the show because that’s when the reality of it all hit me.”
Though she hasn’t decided how to enjoy her windfall, Riehl said she’s already gotten a great deal out of the experience of competing on the game show.
“I feel beyond amazing and wouldn’t have changed a thing,” she said. “I feel most people have dreams that they never fulfill. This experience has taught me to listen to that inner voice more often, try some things that are out of my comfort zone, and not to be intimidated or afraid to fail.”
Riehl, a school speech language pathologist for the Red Hook School District, lives with her husband, A.J., and their rescue dog, Whitney, in Kingston, N.Y. She worked as an adjunct faculty member at SUNY New Paltz until 2011.