What is your title and how long have you worked at Washington University?
I am a research audiologist, and I came to WashU to complete a master’s degree in communication sciences, 1990-1992. After graduation I started working in the clinic at Central Institute for the Deaf (CID). I mostly taught adult aural rehabilitation classes and did some research on communication breakdown in adults.
I started working with Nancy Tye-Murray, PhD, in 1997, teaching lip reading classes for executives. We had some high-powered students at that time, including Senator Tom Eagleton and James McDonnell, founder of McDonnell Aircraft.
I have been involved in a lot of rehabilitation research in the past 25 years or so, and had the pleasure of working with some true pioneers, like Margot Skinner. Almost all of that work has been with adults, but we recently started working with children.
I understand that work with children led to a special award for you. Can you tell us about that?
It really is an award for our team, which includes myself, Brent Spehar, Sarah Pourchot, and principal investigator Nancy Tye-Murray. The award was a 2018 Special Ambassador Award offered by the Special School District of St. Louis County for our work with deaf and hard of hearing students at Brown Elementary in Hazelwood. It really is a win-win situation. The students get the benefit of on-site aural rehabilitation training, and we get increased participation in our research study.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Well, I love to work out. And, my children will be totally embarrassed by my admitting this, but I love to play Mahjong. I play with a group that meets every Wednesday. It’s kind of like bridge, but played with tiles. It helps keep my brain active. It never gets old because every April 1, the list of legal winning hands changes.