Communication sciences and disorders students from EWU and WSU were on top of their game in November, placing second in National Student Speech Hearing Language Association’s (NSSHLA) Knowledge Bowl competition – taking home $500 in prize money.
The team was comprised of five graduate students from the University Programs of Communication Disorders (UPCD) NSSHLA chapter (EWU: Lacy Hefley, Jenny Owens, Rachel Verdun and WSU: Tiana Bennett, Sarita Thotakat), and finished just .41 points behind the University of Iowa, which is U.S. News and World Report’s top-rated communication sciences and disorders program in the country.
“Our performance is just a reflection of the quality of education that we got,” said graduate student Lacy Hefley. “All of our answers just came from what we’ve learned from our classes. We didn’t sit down and specifically study practice questions like a lot of the teams, we just went off of the knowledge we gained from our classes and clinical experiences.”
“It was kind of funny, while we were answering questions, we would look at each other and say, ‘thank you, Dr. Potter’ or ‘thank you, Robby,'” graduate student Rachel Verdun said about thanking their EWU instructors.
The “Jeopardy-style” competition was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with students being tested in multiple-choice sample questions from the Praxis national board exam to test the their clinical and academic knowledge. While teams competed collectively against each other, each participant was scored individually to better simulate the experience of taking the Praxis exam. This exam is a part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations, and Hefley and Verdun are looking to take it sometime this year.
“After this competition, I felt a lot more confident in taking the exam,” said Hefley. “I also feel more confident in the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in my program to not only pass the exam, but also in treating clients when I graduate.”