Award Winners

2016 SAC Award Winners

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada is pleased to recognize the following award winners.

For more information about SAC's Awards and Recognition Program, please visit this page

Click here to view a list of past award winners.

Click on an award name to jump to the 2016 winner's biography and photo.

Award

2016 Winners

Lifetime Achievement Award

Catriona Steele, PhD, S-LP(C)

Eve Kassirer Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement

Gillian Barnes, MA, S-LP(C)

Mentorship Award

Kelli deVries, M.Sc., S-LP(C)

Excellence in Applied Research Award

The Motor Speech Research Study

Aravind Namasivayam, PhD, S-LP(C) (Principal Investigator)

Pascal van Lieshout, PhD

Frank Rudzicz, PhD

Margit Pukonen, M.H.Sc., Reg. CASLPO, S-LP(C)

Debra Goshulak, M.H.Sc., S-LP(C)

Ben Maassen, PhD

Robert M. Kroll, PhD, Reg. CASLPO

Toni Rietveld, PhD

Award of Excellence for Interprofessional Collaboration

ISAND

Consumer Advocacy Award

The Elks of Canada

Editor's Award

Narrative Production in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
and Specific Language Impairment

Paola Colozzo, PhD, RSLP, S-LP(C)

Heather Morris, M.Sc., R-SLP, S-LP(C)

Pat Mirenda, PhD

National Clinical
Certification Exam Award

Laura Hart, M.Sc., Aud(C )

Kathryn (Kate) Robertson, M.Sc., R.SLP, S-LP(C)

Isabel Richard Student
Paper Award
(Doctoral Level)

Elaine Kwok

Isabel Richard Student
Paper Award
(Below Doctoral Level)

Janet Kim, M.Sc.

Student Excellence Awards

Keith (Kate) Baldoz, audiology program, Dalhousie University

Janine Fitzpatrick, S-LP program, Dalhousie University

Charlotte Guillet, S-LP program, McGill University

Sarah Danielsen, S-LP program, University of Alberta

Stephanie Renaas, audiology program, University of British Columbia

Megan Morrison, S-LP program, University of British Columbia

Maxine Bélanger, S-LP program, Université Laurentienne

Kristina Findlay, S-LP program, Université Laval

Alexis Pinsonnault-Skvarenina, audiology program, Université de Montréal

Jordon Thompson, audiology program, University of Ottawa

Alissa Azzimmaturo, S-LP program, University of Ottawa

Karine Bureau, S-LP program, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Ashley Sirko, S-LP program, University of Toronto

Kathryn Toner, audiology program, Western University

Emily Dueck, S-LP program, Western University


Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded to a member or associate of SAC (may be awarded posthumously) who has a long history of distinguished and dedicated service to both SAC and the professions of speech-language pathology or audiology in any area; administration, education, volunteer work or clinical services. Nominees must have a minimum of 25 years of SAC membership and may be nominated by SAC members or associates or the general public.

Catriona Steele, PhD, S-LP(C)

photo of Catriona Steele

Biography

Professor Catriona Steele’s first job as a speech-language pathologist was at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, where she worked as the sole charge in the Jewish Home for the Aged, and completed her first research study exploring mealtime difficulties in the residents. At that time, her manager Barbara Meissner Fishbein encouraged her to take an opportunity to volunteer as Chair of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (now called SAC) task force on supportive personnel (now called communication health assistants). This was the first of many professional volunteer opportunities that have had a profound influence on Catriona’s career, including terms as CASLPA President (the position is now called Chair of the SAC Board) and coordinator of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Associations’s Special Interest Group 13 on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. After a few years at Baycrest, Catriona moved into an acute care and managerial role at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. After almost 10 years in clinical practice, Catriona became frustrated by the limitations of available dysphagia treatments. With the encouragement of Dr. Paula Square, then chair of the department of speech-language pathology at the University of Toronto, Catriona embarked on her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Pascal van Lieshout. Upon graduation, she received her first research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and began her current position as scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, now part of the University Health Network. Thirteen years later, Catriona has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and supervises an active lab of doctoral students. Catriona currently serves as leader of the research workstream for the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative, and her research focuses on understanding how thickened liquids can be beneficial for people with dysphagia. Catriona would like to thank all of the people who have inspired, supported and mentored her so far in her career, including her parents, family, colleagues and students. 

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Eve Kassirer Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement

Awarded to an SAC audiologist or speech-language pathologist member or associate who has made a significant contribution in the areas of education, clinical services, administration or public awareness and has fostered the development and advancement of the professions, nationally or internationally. Nominees should demonstrate significant and outstanding individual achievements and have served as a role model for others in their profession. 

Gillian Barnes, MA, S-LP(C)

photo of Gillian Barnes

Biography

Gillian Barnes graduated from the University of New York, Plattsburgh with a master of arts degree in speech-language pathology in August 1989. Gillian began her career in Calgary, Alta. with Calgary Health Services working with school-aged children. In 1990, she moved back to Winnipeg and began working at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, Health Sciences Centre. In 1991, she transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital, Health Sciences Centre working primarily with individuals with neurogenic communication and swallowing disorders. In 2007, she became the speech-language pathologist at the Movement Disorder Clinic, Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg. Gillian currently works with individuals with movement disorders, primarily Parkinson’s disease, Parkinsonism and Huntington’s disease, providing assessment and treatment of speech and swallowing. Gillian is an active volunteer at both the provincial and national levels. She was the President of the Manitoba Speech and Hearing Association from 2005-2007. In 2009, Gillian became President-Elect of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (now called SAC), and was President from 2010-2012. She continues to be involved with SAC on several committees and is the Chair of the SAC 2016 Conference. Gillian and her husband Nick have 2 children, Anissa and Callum.

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Mentorship Award

Awarded to an SAC member or associate who has significantly influenced or contributed to the clinical training and/or professional development of a student(s) or colleague(s) in speech-language pathology or audiology, either as a clinical supervisor, a mentor or academic faculty. Nominees demonstrate unique and outstanding individual achievements in the area of mentorship, have contributed to the development of others and have served as a role model for students and colleagues within the profession.

Kelli deVries, M.Sc., S-LP(C)

photo of Kelli de Vries

Biography

Kelli deVries is a clinically certified speech-language pathologist with Anglophone North School District in Bathurst, N.B. A graduate of Dalhousie University’s School of Human Communication Disorders, she was employed by the New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program (Bathurst unit) from 2005 until her transfer to the education sector in 2013. In the decade she has worked with school-aged children, she has honed her clinical skills and seized opportunities to mentor students and colleagues. To date, she has served as a clinical educator to a rehabilitation assistant student and five speech-language pathology students from four universities. In addition, she has mentored student nurses and physicians. She is recognized as a clinical champion in the area of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She has served on the New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists AAC working group, and has given numerous presentations to speech-language pathologists, teachers, resource teachers, education assistants and parents. Most recently, she and her colleagues have implemented a peer-mentoring (co-teaching) model of service delivery, partnering with kindergarten teachers in their school district. Kelli is passionate about many aspects of her work, especially supporting the development and explicit teaching of oral language in the classroom.

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Excellence in Applied Research Award

This award acknowledges and honours excellence in a completed research project that provides evidence for evidence-based clinical practice. The award also promotes Canadian research in speech-language pathology and audiology and emphasizes the importance of evidence-informed practice. Research projects must have been completed within the past three years and involve a product based on the research (e.g., a poster session, published article, contributed paper, presentation).

The Motor Speech Research Study

Aravind Namasivayam, PhD, S-LP(C) (Principal Investigator)

photo of Aravind Namasivayam

Biography

Aravind Namasivayam is a scientist at the PROMPT Institute in Santa Fe, USA and is a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Toronto. Dr. Namasivayam received his PhD in speech-language pathology with specialized certification in neuroscience in 2008 from the University of Toronto. Dr. Namasivayam’s current clinical and research interests include motor speech disorders, stuttering, sensory-motor integration, audio-visual speech perception and motor skill learning. He serves as an editorial consultant/reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals in the field of speech-language pathology and conducts treatment research projects which will lead to furthering evidence-based practices.

Pascal van Lieshout, PhD

photo of Pascal van Lieshout

Biography

Pascal van Lieshout is a professor and chair in the department of speech-language pathology at the University of Toronto, a former Canada research chair in oral motor function, and director of the Oral Dynamics Lab. His research is on oral motor control processes in individuals with and without speech problems, including stuttering.

Frank Rudzicz, PhD

photo of Frank Rudzicz

Biography

Frank Rudzicz, PhD 2011, is a scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (University Health Network), an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Toronto and co-founder of WinterLight Labs Inc. He is the president of the international joint Association for Computational Linguistics/International Speech Communication Association Special Interest Group on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies and a young investigator of the Alzheimer’s Society. His work involves machine-learning, human-computer interaction, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation engineering, signal processing and linguistics. Significant contributions include the TORGO database of disordered speech, the first speech recognition system for people with speech disorders that models physical speech articulation, subsequent communication aid software that modifies hard-to-understand speech signals to be more understandable to the typical listener, design of the speech input and output for hitchBOT , the hitchhiking robot and state-of-the-art artificial intelligence software that can assess cognitive disorders, such as dementia, by measuring short samples of speech. Dr. Rudzicz is currently commercializing several of these contributions.

Margit Pukonen, M.H.Sc., Reg. CASLPO, S-LP(C)

photo of Margit Pukonen

Biography

Margit Pukonen is the program director at the Speech and Stuttering Institute in Toronto, Ont. She received her master’s of health science degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Toronto and has worked at the Speech and Stuttering Institute (formerly the Speech Foundation of Ontario) since it opened in the 1980s. Over the past 10 years, Margit has overseen the development of an assessment and treatment protocol for children with motor speech difficulties. She has been involved in several research studies investigating the outcomes and effectiveness of motor speech therapy. In 2009, she chaired a provincial work group that developed a service model for young children with motor speech disorders. Margit has presented on this work at American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and provincial conferences and has also co-authored an article on this topic. Currently, Margit is involved in the development of a provincial training program in the assessment, identification and treatment of children with motor speech disorders. This work is based largely on the Ontario Motor Speech Research Study. She is also working on a process to support implementation of a motor speech pathway in preschool speech and language programs across Ontario.

Debra Goshulak, M.H.Sc., S-LP(C)

photo of Debra Goshulak

Biography

Debra Goshulak received her master’s of health science at the University of Toronto. She currently works at the Speech and Stuttering Institute (SSI) where she has focused her practice on working with children with severe motor speech disorders. Her work at SSI also includes co-presenting the Motor Speech Service Delivery Pathway for Children under 36 months to speech-language pathologists across Ontario who work with preschoolers for the ministry, as well as presenting webinar series on motor speech disorders assessment and therapy. Debra has participated in numerous published research studies and has presented on motor speech disorders at community, provincial, federal and international conferences. She is also a PROMPT instructor and offers frequent workshops and consultations.

Ben Maassen, PhD

photo of Ben Maassen

Biography

Ben Maassen is a professor of dyslexia and clinical neuropsychologist at the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen, Faculty of Arts and Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences, University Medical Centre, University of Groningen. Dr. Maassen is considered a leading expert in the field of dyslexia and childhood apraxia of speech.

Robert M. Kroll, PhD, Reg. CASLPO

photo of Robert Kroll

Biography

Dr. Robert M. Kroll is the director of the Stuttering Program at the Speech and Stuttering Institute in Toronto and teaches in the graduate department of speech-language pathology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the area of stuttering and other disorders of fluency and has maintained an active practice for over 20 years. Dr. Kroll headed the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry’s Speech Pathology Program in Toronto, Ont. for 23 years and is a past recipient of the honours of the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. 

Toni Rietveld, PhD

photo of Toni Rietveld

Biography

Toni Rietveld has been a professor at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands since 1973. Professor Rietveld specializes in naval engineering, neurolinguistics, statistics and computational linguistics. 

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Award of Excellence for Interprofessional Collaboration

This award recognizes interprofessional collaboration and acknowledges the role that speech-language pathologists and audiologists play on interprofessional teams. The award is presented to an interprofessional team that has contributed to or strengthened patient/client outcomes in the fields of speech-language pathology or audiology through their collaboration and teamwork. Teams must demonstrate how they have achieved success as an interprofessional team and must consist of at least one speech-language pathologist or audiologist SAC member or associate and at least two other health, education or other appropriate professionals. 

ISAND

ISAND group photo

Located in Toronto, Integrated Services for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ISAND) is the leading centre in Ontario specializing in integrated service delivery for children and youth and their families affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, supporting clients from newborn to 25 years of age. ISAND is comprised of a team of dedicated professionals including developmental pediatricians, occupational therapists, behaviour therapists, psychologists, social workers, early childhood educators, communication disorder assistants, educational consultants and speech-language pathologists, working collaboratively to provide a continuum of care for best outcomes. The autism-specific training and expertise of ISAND’s team of clinicians and specialists allows the centre to able to meet the unique needs of the population it serves. ISAND offers a number of services, supports, and programs, always with the individual needs of its clients in mind to help them reach their full potential. As a registered charitable organization, ISAND’s goal is to ensure that vital services and valuable, life-changing programs are available to all children and young adults who might benefit from them. The ISAND team is honoured and most grateful to have been chosen to receive this award.

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Consumer Advocacy Award

Awarded to an individual (or group) who is not a speech-language pathologist or audiologist, but has made an outstanding impact on the profession(s) by actively and significantly advocating on behalf of individuals with communication disorders. SAC membership is not a requirement. Nominees must demonstrate unique and outstanding achievements, have contributed to the advancement of people with communication disorders locally, regionally and/or nationally and have served as role models for people with communication disorders and their families. 

The Elks of Canada

the Elks of Canada logo

The Elks of Canada are groups of volunteers in approximately 300 Lodges across Canada, joined through common bonds of friendship and charity. By contributing time and money, they advocate for many causes at the local, provincial and national levels, maintaining a focus on the needs of children. The Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children, created in 1956, is a national registered charity. The Elks of Canada have a long and proud history of helping children and supporting programs related to hearing and speech. The Elks’ Personal Assistance Program provides funds for children’s medical needs. Its charity has provided millions of dollars to clinics and programs across Canada that deal with communication disorders. The Elks also fund student scholarship programs through SAC. As part of the Elks’ partnership with SAC, the organization advocates for early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programs. The Elks participated in the Grey Cup Parade to raise awareness about the need for EHDI programs. The organization also endorsed the Canadian Infant Hearing Task Forces’ EHDI Report Card in 2014 and a group of Elks members met with the Saskatchewan Minister of Health to advocate for EHDI programs. The Elks continue to raise awareness about the importance of communication health in many other ways, including Speech and Hearing Month campaigns, fundraisers, letter-writing campaigns, media releases and printed and online publicity. 

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Editor's Award

Recognizes the best paper published in the Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in the previous calendar year. SAC membership is not a requirement.

Read the winning paper, Narrative Production in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Specific Language Impairment.

Paola Colozzo, PhD, RSLP, S-LP(C)

photo of Paola Colozzo

Biography

Paola Colozzo is a speech-language pathologist and a researcher in child language and developmental language disorders. She obtained her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Université de Montréal and practiced within interprofessional teams in pediatric rehabilitation settings in the Montreal area. She later obtained her PhD from the University of British Columbia where she is currently on the faculty of the school of audiology and speech sciences. Much of her research aligns with her clinical interests and her teaching, as it focuses on supporting the language and communication development of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Other projects explore the bidirectional interactions between language and cognition in both typically developing children and those with language impairments.

Heather Morris, M.Sc., R-SLP, S-LP(C)

photo of Heather Morris

Biography

Heather Morris earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Regina in 2006 and her master’s of science in speech-language pathology degree from the University of British Columbia in 2010. She works for Vancouver Language Therapy for Kids, where she works with preschool to young adults with language delays/disorders, autism and developmental delays. Her primary interests include narratives, social language and alternate and augmentative communication. She enjoys research related to language development, doing narratives and autism. She just had a baby girl and enjoys running, reading and relaxing with friends.

Pat Mirenda, PhD

photo of Pat Mirenda

Biography

Pat Mirenda is a professor in the department of educational and counseling psychology and special education, and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism at the University of British Columbia. She is a doctoral-level board certified behaviour analyst (BCBA-D) and teaches courses on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), autism spectrum disorder, inclusive education, instructional techniques for students with significant learning challenges and positive behavior support. In 2004, she was named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and in 2008, she was named a Fellow of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. The fourth edition of her co-authored book, Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Supporting Children and Adults and Complex Communication Needs, was published in 2013 and another co-edited book, Autism Spectrum Disorders and AAC, was published in December, 2009. She has published over 100 research articles and chapters and presents frequently at international, national and regional conferences. Her current research includes a Canada-wide study of developmental trajectories in children with autism and a study of the relationship between bilingual language exposure and language development in young children with autism.

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National Clinical Certification Exam Award

Awarded to the SAC member in each profession who attains the highest score on the clinical certification exam during the previous calendar year.

Laura Hart, M.Sc., Aud(C )

photo of Laura Hart

Biography

Laura Hart is working as an audiologist with the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres at the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater, N.S. She graduated with an M.Sc. in audiology from Dalhousie University in 2015. Laura completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at Saint Mary’s University. It was Laura’s wish that she would be able to remain in Nova Scotia for her career, preferably in a smaller town. She feels extremely fortunate to have landed her dream job right out of school, and cannot say enough good things about the organization, her colleagues and the south shore of Nova Scotia. Her first year on the job has passed in the blink of an eye and has been full of wonderful opportunities and learning experiences. Laura finds the interactions with her patients to be the most rewarding part of the job, and appreciates the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. When not working, Laura enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, walks with her dog and cooking. 

Kathryn (Kate) Robertson, M.Sc., R.SLP, S-LP(C)

photo of Kate Robertson

Biography

Kate Robertson had an interest in language and communication from a young age. She completed her bachelor of arts in linguistics and Spanish in 2013 and shortly after began pursuing her master’s in speech-language pathology. Since graduating in July 2015, Kate has been working for Alberta Health Services to support communication needs for school-aged children in Edmonton Public Schools. She particularly enjoys collaborating with a knowledgeable and engaged interdisciplinary team and partnering with teachers and parents. Kate has an interest in supporting communication and literacy development in children with complex communication needs and hopes to delve more into this area as her career continues. Outside of work, Kate’s primary interest is partner dancing, which she practices in a variety of styles including blues, swing, salsa and fusion. She enjoys the challenge of talking with her body instead of with words!

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Isabel Richard Student Paper Award - Doctoral Level 

Presented to a SAC student associate for the best paper written on a specific topic related to the professions. Papers are judged on both style and content. Judges look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Content is judged on accuracy of facts presented and originality and innovativeness of ideas and opinions expressed.  

Topic: Discuss the benefits and challenges, for both communication health professionals and patients/clients, of offering services in more than one language.

Elaine Kwok

photo of Elaine Kwok

Biography

Elaine is currently a student in the combined M.Cl.Sc./PhD speech-language pathology program at Western University. She previously completed her honours bachelor of science in molecular biotechnology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and her master’s of science in child and youth health at Western. For her doctoral thesis, Elaine is using EEG/ERP to investigate how the brain reacts to sound in children with typical development, specific language impairment and autism spectrum disorder. She is also examining neural patterns at resting state that may distinguish between these three groups of children. As a bilingual speaker, Elaine has personal and professional interest in providing services to multilingual populations. She has translated Focus on the Outcomes of Children Under Six (FOCUS) into both traditional and simplified Chinese to ensure this clinical tool can be more widely used. Her career goal is to become a clinician-scientist who bridges the gap between basic science research and clinical practices.

Please click here to read Elaine's paper.

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Isabel Richard Student Paper Award - Below Doctoral Level 

Presented to a SAC student associate for the best paper written on a specific topic related to the professions. Papers are judged on both style and content. Judges look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Content is judged on accuracy of facts presented and originality and innovativeness of ideas and opinions expressed. 

Topic: The profession of audiology is highly driven by technology. What impact (both positive and negative) might continual technological innovation have on audiology? How should practicing audiologists ensure they are informed of the latest developments, thereby maintaining excellence in their practice?

Janet Kim, M.Sc.

photo of Janet Kim

Biography

Janet received her honours B.Sc. at McMaster University, where her undergraduate thesis focused on audio-visual integration in music perception. She continued to complete her M.Sc. at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Ewan Macpherson, where she investigated multimodal sensory integration in interpreting dynamic sound localization cues. Her research work sparked her interest into the clinical aspect of hearing. She is currently completing her M.CI.Sc. in audiology at Western University. As a clinical student, Janet actively participated in student life as a Society of Graduate Students Representative and Upper Year Mentor for the Communication Sciences and Disorders Council. She also worked as a clinical assistant for the H.A. Leeper Speech and Hearing Clinic, as well as a research assistant for Dr. Sheila Moodie at the National Centre for Audiology. A large part of her excitement as a developing audiologist lies in raising public awareness of audiology. Having recognized this need, she developed an award-winning video in collaboration with classmates to reach out to physicians and guide their understanding of audiology to facilitate referrals. She is interested in both clinical and research opportunities in audiology and hopes to contribute to both scientific discovery and health policy as a research audiologist.

Please click here to read Janet's paper.

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Student Excellence Awards 

Awarded to an SAC student associate, in his or her graduating year of study, in each of the S-LP and audiology training programs in Canada. Nominees are judged to be the best all-round future professionals, shall have shown significant enthusiasm for their profession and have instilled in others a desire to contribute to the development and growth of the professions.

Keith (Kate) Baldoz, audiology program, Dalhousie University

photo of Kate Baldoz

Biography

Kate (spelled as Keith) Baldoz was raised in Edmonton, Alta. She was inspired to create change after observing the need for hearing services, particularly for children. After she earned her B.Sc. in psychology at the University of Alberta, Kate knew that she wanted to pursue a career that encompasses science and technology as well as creative problem-solving and patient interaction. In 2013, she pursued her newfound passion at Dalhousie University where she expanded her involvement in school and community service. Her activities include serving as the vice president of her program’s student body, promoting the role of audiologists to the general public, facilitating the Sound Sense program and later volunteering as local coordinator. Her practicum provided her with the opportunity to interact with diverse clientele while developing a variety of skills such as working with children, hearing aids, cochlear implants and performing balance assessments. The more she discovers about the profession, the more passionate and proud she is to have chosen the field of audiology. Kate will be graduating in June 2016 and looks forward to a rewarding journey ahead.

Janine Fitzpatrick, S-LP program, Dalhousie University

photo of Janine Fitzpatrick

Biography

Janine is completing her degree in speech-language pathology at Dalhousie University. Originally from the Maritimes, Janine holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Ottawa, and a master’s in cognitive science from Carleton University. Before starting at Dalhousie, Janine worked as a clinical research coordinator on a provincial smoking cessation project with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. She is thrilled to be back in Nova Scotia with her family, and greatly enjoyed her recent clinical placement at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre. Janine is finishing her thesis on working memory and discourse comprehension in healthy older adults, and hopes to start her career working in a rehabilitation setting after graduating this fall.

Charlotte Guillet, S-LP program, McGill University

photo of Charlotte Guillet

Biography

Charlotte Guillet is wrapping up her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at McGill University in Montreal. Before beginning her speech-language pathology journey, Charlotte received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and linguistics from McGill University. She worked as a nanny during the summers, where she developed a love of working with children and their families and creating fun and educational activities. Charlotte is very excited to be starting her career as a speech-language pathologist in the fall. She can’t wait to apply what she’s learned and to start doing what she loves for a living! She hopes to find a job where she can work creatively as part of a team, in both French and English. She has a lot of experience working with both children and adults, and she has enjoyed every topic she has studied so far in her master’s degree. Her favorite placements have been in school boards working with children with language disorders and at an acute care centre working with head and neck cancer patients. 

Sarah Danielsen, S-LP program, the University of Alberta

photo of Sarah Danielsen

Biography

Sarah completed her master’s in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Alberta and convocated in November 2015. She was born and raised in Edmonton where she completed a diploma as a therapist assistant in 2009 and her education degree in 2013. During her time in university, Sarah worked as a speech-language pathology assistant, facilitating social communication groups for children with autism spectrum disorder and as an aide at the Centre for Autism. As part of her completion of her master’s degree, Sarah investigated student teachers’ understanding of stuttering through exposure to videos of people who stutter talking about their experiences. Sarah is passionate about working closely with children and building capacity with their families. Since September 2015, Sarah has been working for From Play to Words in the Edmonton area, providing specialized services to children with communication disorders and their families in the home. She has attended several professional development workshops and conferences including Introduction to PROMPT, Lee Silverman Voice Treatment and Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk. 

Stephanie Renaas, audiology program, the University of British Columbia

photo of Stephanie Renaas

Biography

Stephanie Renaas was born and raised in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, B.C. She earned her BA in psychology at Vancouver Island University and then moved to Vancouver to pursue her M.Sc. in audiology at the University of British Columbia. Stephanie was also born with a severe to profound bilateral hearing loss. Having worn hearing aids her whole life and recently becoming implanted with a cochlear implant, she has a deep understanding of what it is like to cope with hearing loss in all aspects of life. Prior to moving to Vancouver, Stephanie volunteered in her community by promoting hearing loss awareness to both child and adult audiences, as well as holding monthly gatherings to help others learn and fine-tune their American Sign Language skills. Her desire to help others along with her interest in hearing sciences is what inspired her to pursue a career in audiology. As an audiologist, Stephanie hopes to make a difference in the lives of her clients and to take on an active role in the community through public education, d/Deaf awareness and hearing loss rehabilitation and prevention. 

Megan Morrison, S-LP program, the University of British Columbia

photo of Megan Morrison

Biography

Megan brings a diverse background to her new career in speech-language pathology. Holding two previous degrees from the University of British Columbia (BA in linguistics and B.Mus. in voice), Megan has worked as an English as a second language teacher, an English as a second language program coordinator and a children’s choir manager. She also maintains a career as a professional actor and singer. Not too long ago, Megan’s chatty internal dialogue got a bit louder than usual and suggested that there was one more step to take. While making the decision to go back to school was a bit nerve-wracking, once she started in speech-language pathology at the University of British Columbia, she felt as though all her personal and professional experience had fused together into this exciting new path. Megan is passionate about language, communication and the wellbeing of others. She looks forward to a career that has strong foundations in evidence-based practice, creative thinking, compassionate listening, and — where possible — good humour. Megan is particularly interested in working in the areas of acquired language disorders, motor speech and voice. When not busy with schoolwork, Megan enjoys riding around Vancouver on a very old bike, testing out recipes from food blogs, obsessing over writing projects and singing in operas. 

Maxine Bélanger, S-LP program, Université Laurentienne

Photo of Maxine Bélanger

Biography

Maxine Bélanger is currently enrolled in her final year of the master’s of health sciences program in speech-language pathology at Laurentian University, where she also received her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology. Since then, she has been a registered SAC student associate and an Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologists student member. She presently works as a graduate teacher’s assistant under the supervision of Michèle Minor-Corriveau, associate professor and speech-language pathologist. Maxine’s current research focuses on standardizing a French spelling assessment tool for students living in French minority settings, namely the Franco-Ontarian population. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented on this topic at various municipal and international conferences. In addition to gaining theoretical, clinical and research experience within her field of study, she has mentored for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation, participated in various extra-curricular activities, organized and attended many student council events, represented the voice of all speech-language pathology students within the Graduate Students’ Association and she was Local 5011’s Canadian Union of Public Employees trustee from 2014-2016. Maxine is a strong advocate for written language-related research, neuroscience, education and innovation. 

Kristina Findlay, S-LP program, Université Laval

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Biography

Kristina chose a change of career in 2008 from theatre, film and television to speech-language pathology. While completing a second undergraduate degree at McGill University, she had the good fortune to work with Dr. Rosalee Shenker at the Montreal Fluency Centre in research in stuttering and bilingualism. Her family moved to Quebec City in 2010, where while starting a family, she also began a master’s in experimental medicine in order to develop normative information about Québécois phonological error patterns under the supervision of Dr. Andrea MacLeod at the University of Montreal. She has continued to work in research while completing her clinical master’s degree.

Alexis Pinsonnault-Skvarenina, audiology program, Université de Montréal

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Biography

Alexis is currently a graduate student in audiology at Université de Montreal. For the first three years of his studies, he was a student representative in audiology for the speech-language pathology and audiology student association. He is now President of the student association. Alexis has been an engaged student and has worked on many projects to improve the quality of student academic life. For example, he has founded a student library service point for rehabilitation programs. He was also a member of the joint committee, which organizes welcoming activities for new students at the school of speech-language pathology and audiology each year. He has also worked as a research assistant in audiology for the research centre of the Sainte-Justine pediatric hospital and as a teaching assistant for the school of speech-language pathology and audiology. His professional interests include tinnitus, central auditory processing disorder and neuroaudiology.

Jordon Thompson, audiology program, the University of Ottawa

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Biography

Jordon Thompson is a native of Guelph, Ont. and a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. where he earned an honours bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis on physiology and a minor in French. Jordon’s passion for human physiology, love of languages and appreciation for the important role that communication plays in our lives has led him to pursue his master’s of health sciences degree in audiology at the University of Ottawa. Jordon has greatly enjoyed his various clinical placements. They have afforded him the opportunity to help both adults and children as well as to work in more specialized areas of the practice such as vestibular therapy and central auditory processing disorder, where his greatest interests lie. In addition, Jordon is involved in several audiology research projects and had the opportunity to present preliminary findings from one research project at the 2015 Canadian Academy of Audiology conference in Niagara Falls, Ont. as part of the student poster presentations. He was also the recipient of the 2015 Canadian Academy of Audiology Student Award. Jordon is very excited to be embarking on a new adventure and starting a rewarding career in the field of audiology and helping to increase public awareness of audiology.

Alissa Azzimmaturo, S-LP program, the University of Ottawa

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Biography

Alissa hails from the Laurentians region north of Montreal. She discovered speech-language pathology while studying in the languages program at college. Her interest in languages and in applying creativity in helping others communicate led her to pursue the speech-language pathologist profession. Alissa has a bachelor of arts in psychology with minors in linguistics and the German language from McGill University. During her studies, she volunteered at multiple research labs within the fields of linguistics and psychology. As a volunteer at the McGill Infant Development Centre, Alissa helped to conduct studies with children and adults and gained confidence, valuable experience and research skills which she applies in her academic and clinical experiences. She also worked as a research assistant to a doctoral student conducting research on investigating patterns in intonation and prosody. Alissa decided to pursue her graduate studies at the University of Ottawa, as the program was offered in French, and provided many opportunities for placements in bilingual settings. Alissa hopes to work with a varied clientele including adults and children and to be part of an interdisciplinary team. In her spare time, she enjoys art, music, travel and exploring new cities.

Karine Bureau, S-LP program, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

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Biography

Karine has completed her technical studies in physical rehabilitation and holds a bachelor’s degree in school and social adaptation. She chose to study speech-language pathology as a master’s, because it married her two passions: the worlds of rehabilitation and education. She is currently completing her master’s in speech-language pathology at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. For several years, she worked in a specialized camp dedicated to children with multiple disabilities in the Quebec region. During her studies in speech therapy, she completed several internships with various clienteles. She is passionate about the world of rehabilitation. She enjoys working with young children as well as the elderly. Karine’s clinical interests are varied and include: developmental disorders in children, childhood apraxia of speech, stuttering, acquired language disorders and hearing impairment. Karine greatly enjoyed her placement experiences, which allowed her to gain a lot of knowledge. She hopes for an exciting career with ongoing professional development opportunities and opportunities to work in interdisciplinary settings alongside other professionals who share her focus on the wellbeing of the patient.

Ashley Sirko, S-LP program, the University of Toronto

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Biography

Ashley Sirko is a speech-language pathology student from Oshawa, Ont. She earned her BA in psychology from Queen’s University in 2010. Upon graduating, Ashley moved to Vancouver, B.C. where she attended the University of British Columbia (UBC) to obtain the prerequisites needed to study speech-language pathology. While in Vancouver, Ashley also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at UBC and as a community inclusion facilitator with the BC Centre for Ability.  Ashley is currently completing her master’s of health science in speech-language pathology at the University of Toronto. A highlight of her studies thus far was a placement at a child development centre in Northern Ontario. This experience sparked her interest in health-care delivery to remote communities. Ashley also has a keen interest in advocacy and raising awareness about communication disorders. This led her to form a committee with her classmates dedicated to organizing events that support this cause. Ashley is excited to begin her career upon completing the program this summer and feels fortunate she will be able to dedicate her life to such a fulfilling field. 

Kathryn Toner, audiology program, Western University 

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Biography

Kathryn completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Calgary before pursuing audiology at Western University. As an undergraduate, she was involved in facilitating annual summer camps, planning and leading an international volunteer trip and developing counselling and team management skills as a residence coordinator. She spent a semester at the University of Kentucky in her final year where she completed an independent research course that inspired her interest in audiology and hearing science. She continues to be involved in her current program at Western as a member of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Student Council and as a research assistant in the Speech Auditory Feedback and Evoked Responses lab. Additionally, Kathryn spent time promoting the profession to the greater campus community and was acknowledged for her work by the Canadian Academy of Audiology last fall. Upon completion of her program, she will be moving back to Calgary to practice and hopes to continue her community involvement while working with a clinically diverse caseload.

Emily Dueck, S-LP program, Western University

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Biography

Emily has spent a significant portion of her life searching for a career that could combine her passion for the arts and education with her strong desire to help others. She discovered speech-language pathology as a profession by volunteering and working with children with autism spectrum disorder. Through her undergraduate degree in theatre, Emily learned the art of communication, listening and empathy that has carried her through not only her experience teaching abroad, but also her experiences as a student clinician in a variety of settings. During her education at Western University, Emily has been actively involved in developing peer support programs such as a mental health support group and a book club. She has also shown commitment and dedication in her roles coordinating community programs with Autism Ontario, providing respite to several families and volunteering with charities such as CSD Smile. She has received three awards/scholarships in her time completing her speech-language pathology program. Emily has a passion for learning that she has continued to explore through various external conferences and workshops. She is excited to be involved in a field that will challenge her to continually grow in many different areas in life.

Please click here to watch a short video montage that showcases these award winners.

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