April 2019

UNT audiology and speech-language pathology students win 2019 Praxis Bowl at state conference

The team beat out 15 other graduate schools to take home this year’s Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association Praxis Bowl title.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (ASLP) is the proud winner of the 2019 Texas-Speech-Language Hearing Association Praxis Bowl. The team – made up of second year speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate students Katie Chesnutt (alternate), Shanielle Henslee, Kristin Ransom and Krystin White – took the top honor at the 63rd Annual Convention and Exhibition February 28 through March 2. The Jeopardy-like competition pitted 15 speech-language pathology graduate schools in Texas against each other in a knowledge bowl based on potential questions for the Praxis Examination – an integral component of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association certification standards.

“This win is significant for UNT in that it is a testament to the quality of the speech-language pathology graduate program and the knowledge level our graduate students,” said Lauren Mathews, ASLP principal lecturer and undergraduate director. “This win shows prospective students from the other Texas undergraduate programs one reason why UNT is a graduate program they want to attend.”

The competition is wildly popular among convention attendees and draws a large crowd of spirited fans who make posters to cheer on their schools. The event lasts several hours and while fun, can be grueling.

“It was so exciting, but also stressful,” said Shanielle Henslee, speech-language pathology graduate student clinician and member of the winning team. “Fellow peers from each school were cheering and the room was packed. We weren’t in first place until the fifth or sixth round, so every time the rankings would come up on the screen, it was intense. We had an advantage in that our team worked well together.”

This isn’t the first time UNT has taken home a win, but it has been a few year’s since they’ve claimed the top honor.

“We were determined to win again and further prove to the state community of SLP programs that UNT SLP grad students are well-prepared and ready for the job market,” said Stacy Nunnelee, speech pathology clinical supervisor and faculty lecturer. “We pick our team based on academic performance and class ranking, and we look for students who will be strong and confident under pressure and will work well on a team. We were very happy with our team this year and they proved themselves perfectly.”

Robyn Martin, clinical supervisor and adjunct faculty, says there’s more to it than just the thrill of winning.

“The students are able to get a preview of possible questions that could be asked on the Praxis exam,” Martin said. “This gave our students a review before they took their comprehensive exams a week later and some students are taking the Praxis exam in the next couple of weeks. There was also this sense of camaraderie for their friends competing and for the school.”





UNT to offer free speech and hearing tests May 1

The event is part of Better Hearing and Speech Month.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The UNT Speech and Hearing Center, located at 907 W. Sycamore St. in Denton, is offering free speech and hearing screenings on May 1 as part of Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Hearing screenings will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Hearing tests will determine the presence or absence of hearing loss and the need for amplification,” said Dr. Cassie Thomas, senior lecturer in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and clinical director of audiology. “If needed, hearing amplification can help people improve relationships with friends and family and can lead to overall better health and quality of life.”

Speech and language screening will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“About one out of every six Americans suffer from some form of speech, language or hearing problem,” said Dr. Theresa Kouri, senior lecturer and clinical director of speech-language pathology. “These problems can be something that we are born with, or something that just happens as we develop. Some people suffer from communication impairments due to accidents, health problems or lifestyle choices they have made. This is a perfect opportunity to have you or your loved one’s speech, language or hearing screened if you have any questions or concerns.

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the College of Health and Public Service encourages residents to take part in these free clinics.

“HPS is not only student-centered, but we feel that service to our community is part of who we are as a college,” Dr. Chumbler said. “These free speech and hearing tests are just one way we can help give back to Denton and they are an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of so many.”   

Walk-ins for screenings are welcome, but appointments can be made by calling (940) 565-2278.


Nonprofit Leadership Studies student selected as UNT undergraduate research fellow presents at 2019 UNT Scholars Day  

Melinda Sapaugh worked under the mentorship of Dr. Norman Dolch, adjunct professor in the UNT College of Health and Public Service Department of Public Administration.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Melinda Sapaugh, a senior at the University of North Texas who is minoring in Nonprofit Leadership Studies in the College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Public Administration, presented research she completed as a UNT Undergraduate Research Fellow at UNT Scholars Day on April 2.

“I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Dolch during my senior year at UNT,” Sapaugh said. “My research extends the original three-year longitudinal study by Dr. Dolch and his associates to nine years and will examine which strategies nonprofit organizations implemented in 2018 comparing them to strategies used by nonprofits following the 2007 economic recession. I am so excited we were able to present the research we’ve compiled thus far at the University’s Scholars Day this last Tuesday and am looking forward to the continuation of this study.”

In her recent findings, she noted that more than half of the country’s nonprofits are estimated to be operating with less than one month’s cash reserves and data shows that they will most likely rely on the following strategies:

  • entrepreneurialism
  • fundraising
  • grant writing
  • maintaining employees and volunteers
  • forming alliances and partnerships
  • exhibiting commitment to the organization’s mission and values

Dr. Laura Keyes says Sapaugh is another shining example of the stellar students who are part of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program and is glad she was able to be part of a mentorship while at UNT.

“We are really proud of Melinda and her research accomplishments,” said Dr. Laura Keyes, undergraduate coordinator of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies and Urban Policy and Planning programs in the Department of Public Administration. “Her findings are an important contribution to our knowledge of volunteer management. We encourage all undergraduates to seek out this opportunity to work directly with faculty on research that has important implications to our fields of nonprofit management and urban planning.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says it’s important for undergraduate students to have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on research.

“We are a tier one institution and we want to make sure our students receive an education indicative of that designation, thereby integrating them into robust research activities,” Dr. Chumbler said. “In HPS, we strive to make these innovative research opportunities available as part of our student-centered education so our graduates leave here with the skills that make them career-ready and allow them to stand out when heading into today’s fast-paced workforce.”

For more information on Nonprofit Leadership Studies, visit nps.unt.edu or for Urban Policy and Planning, visit upp.unt.edu.


UNT public administration students earn prestigious educational fellowships with Texas City Management Association   

 The Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship is awarded to only two Texas graduate students per year.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Christopher Byrd and Sylvia Ordeman, both first-year master of public administration students in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service, have earned the coveted Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship from the Texas City Management Association (TCMA). They each received $3,500 to use for tuition. In addition, UNT will receive $3,000 in credit toward Texas City Management Association and Texas Municipal League (TML) education events.

“I am ecstatic to have received this scholarship and greatly appreciative of the Texas City Management Association for this honor,” Byrd said. “I am also eagerly looking forward to attending TCMA's various events and conferences over the next year in order to further prepare myself for a career in public management and administration.”

Byrd, who is a graduate assistant within the Department of Public Administration and a student assistant in the office of Scholarly Communication within University Libraries, says the scholarship will allow him to pursue invaluable professional development and learning opportunities outside the classroom.

“I will be able to attend various city management seminars and conferences, further enriching my education and preparing me for public management,” Byrd said. “Further, this scholarship will provide me with greater freedom upon graduating by reducing my student debt load, thereby allowing me to more heavily base my ultimate decision of employment on where my ability to serve and positively impact others can be most effectively rendered.”

Ordeman also works as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Public Administration and says she’s grateful for the honor.

“To me, this award further solidifies my drive and passion for public service and community development through effective city management,” Ordeman said. “I am incredibly thankful to both TCMA for investing in the education of up-and-coming city management professionals and to the UNT public administration department for their complete encouragement in pursuing this award.”

Ordeman says the scholarship will help alleviate some of the stress over her educational financial burdens.

“The scholarship will allow me the opportunity of continuing my graduate studies on a full-time basis without incurring student debt,” Ordeman said. “Furthermore, I am so excited to participate in TCMA's upcoming educational and networking events and join their extensive network of knowledgeable local government professionals.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says he’s proud of their accomplishments.

“Christopher and Sylvia are both a shining example of the quality of education in our MPA program,” Dr. Chumbler said. “I know they will take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by this scholarship and I look forward to seeing their many accomplishments in public administration.” 

Both Byrd and Ordeman expect to graduate in May of 2020.


Stuttering support group to offer parents free resources, encouragement

The group is meant to help reduce feelings of uncertainty and isolation for parents of preschoolers who stutter.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The UNT Speech and Hearing Center, located at 907 W. Sycamore St. in Denton, is offering a Support for Parents of Preschoolers who Stutter (S-POPS) group at 3 p.m. on May 5 for parents of preschoolers who stutter or show signs of stuttering. The group, which provides educational resources about stuttering and serves as a place of support, was developed by five speech-language pathologists who specialize in stuttering.

“If your preschool aged child is stuttering, this can be a very stressful time for parents,” said Robyn Martin, clinical supervisor of speech-language pathology in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. “This group will help parents feel empowered and we hope to reduce the feelings of isolation and uncertainty that parents may feel during this time.”

For more information on the S-POPS group, contact Martin at robyn.martin@unt.edu or call 940-369-7497.


New UNT research shows importance of intersectionality when looking at support for death penalty

 The data looks at education, race and gender in relation to opinion of capital punishment. 

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Researchers in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Criminal Justice have completed the first intersectional research on public opinion on capital punishment that incorporates measures of race, class and gender. The research was conducted by Andrekus Dixon, lecturer and director of undergraduate programs; Dr. Brooke Nodeland, assistant professor and online master of science in criminal justice degree coordinator; and Dr. Adam Trahan, associate professor and director of graduate programs.

Public Opinion of Capital Punishment: An Intersectional Analysis of Race, Gender and Class Effects” was published in Sage journals’ Criminal Justice Review and showed the following:

  • All intersections that include whites opposed the death penalty less than all intersections that include blacks.
  • Opposition among whites ranged from 16 percent for white undereducated men to just over 30 percent for white educated women.
  • The lowest rates of opposition among blacks was approximately 47 percent for educated black men.
  • More than 50 percent of black educated and undereducated women opposed the death penalty.

“None of the past research is fully intersectional, so this study shows the reality of peoples’ identity and that the belief that the majority always supports the death penalty is a less-than-accurate statement,” said Dr. Trahan. “When more than 70 percent of the U.S. population is white, you end up with simple skewing. The majority of some groups support it while the majority of other groups do not.”

Mr. Dixon says the importance of intersectionality was striking.

“Our ability to take the intersections of class – in this case, education – race and gender just shows the very diverse opinions in relation to peoples’ views on capital punishment,” Dixon said. “I was also interested in the impact of education on the various respondents’ views of the death penalty. While there is nothing in our data that explain the findings, I believe our results set the foundation for future research on this topic, in order to potentially explore some of those unanswered questions.”

Dr. Nodeland says she also found the results regarding the intersectional relationship between race and education interesting.

“While there is a considerable amount of previous research suggesting that women oppose capital punishment more than men, our use of intersectional variables for race and education produced more refined results,” Dr. Nodeland said. “Specifically, our findings suggest that white educated and undereducated women were more likely to oppose the death penalty by 68 and 37 percentage points respectively while educated and undereducated black men were 234 and 271 percentage points more likely to oppose the death penalty.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says collaborative research is of utmost importance in HPS.

“As a tier-one institution, we are constantly looking for ways to expand and grow our research,” Dr. Chumbler said. “The fascinating information gleaned by this collaborative study not only helps shed light on how specific demographic segmentations impact opinion on capital punishment, but opens doors for future studies to determine why race, gender and class determine these beliefs.”