The University of Maine Communications Sciences and Disorders program offers students the opportunity to work alongside world-class researchers on cutting-edge communication research. Each research laboratory serves as both a research center, a clinical services opportunity,  and a training ground for graduate student populations. Research assistants are selected to partner with faculty researchers as part of the application process.  

Brain injury, Education and Rehabilitation Laboratory (BEaR Lab)

The goal of the BEaR Lab, overseen by Dr. Riccardi, is to improve long-term outcomes after childhood brain injury by informing educational and rehabilitation supports and services. We are particularly interested in the domain of cognitive-communication and in populations at high-risk for experiencing a childhood brain injury. We most often approach our research from the perspective of speech-language pathology, but consistently engage with other disciplines to plan, conduct, and disseminate our research. We use behavioral, biometric (eye tracking and pupillometric), and qualitative methods to examine our research questions.

The BEaR Lab supports one graduate assistant per year.

Early Language and Literacy Research Laboratory

Ongoing research exploring the relationship between language and hearing loss in early language acquisition in both typically developing children and those with communication disorders is overseen by Dr. Jane Puhlman. Recognized for her expertise in language development, students studying under Dr. Puhlman work with preschool and school-aged children in the areas of narrative development of children with hearing loss and the impact of parental modeling on children’s language development. Utilizing the LENA system, Dr. Puhlman records and analyzes communication in the child’s natural environment. 

The Early Language and Literacy Research Laboratory supports one graduate assistant per year.

Fluency Research Laboratory

The Fluency Research Laboratory focuses on the interaction of stuttering and language development in children. Overseen by Dr. Nancy Hall, student researchers in the laboratory have the opportunity to develop their own research themes within the area of fluency research. Dr. Hall is also interested in developing protocols for clinical observations in Communications Sciences and Disorders. 

The Fluency Research Laboratory supports one graduate assistant per year. 

Voice Laboratory

The Voice Laboratory focuses on synthetic silicone vocal fold modeling and nonlinear source-filter interactions.  Overseen by Dr. Nicholas May, student researchers in the laboratory have the opportunity to develop their own research themes within the area of voice research.  Dr. May is also interested in voice rehabilitation; vocology; and aerodynamic, glottographic, and acoustic measurements of speech and voice.

The Voice Research Laboratory supports one graduate assistant per year.

Sample Graduate Theses

  • Pierce, M.M. (2018). Early intervention speech-language pathologists: A systematic review. Advisor: Dr. Nancy E. Hall
  • Martins, K. (2016). Worldwide speech-language pathology practices: Stuttering and multilingualism. Advisor: Dr. Nancy E. Hall
  • DeMaris, A. (2014). Measurement and interpretation of longest utterances in child language samples. Advisor: Dr. Allan B. Smith.
  • Pelletier, A. (2014). The impact of speaking voice on gender identity among transgender and transsexual individuals.  Advisor: Dr. Nancy E. Hall.
  • Fahey, K. (2012). Comparisons of father’s and mother’s joint book reading with their toddlers and its effect on emergent literacy development. Advisor: Dr. Nancy E. Hall.
  • Randazza, J. (2012).  Cochlear implants: Are expectations related to how parents are informed? Advisor: Dr. Nancy E. Hall.