2017 Student Fellow Interview: Ryan Husak

Student Fellow Interview

Ryan S. Husak, MS, CCC-SLP
Doctoral Candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Kentucky

University Advisor: Dr. Robert C. Marshall
Conference Mentor: Jacqueline Laures-Gore

Why were you interested in the ANCDS conference fellow program?
I was interested in the ANCDS conference fellow program because of the opportunity it affords students to interact with leading researchers and clinicians in neurogenic communication disorders.  It also provided students with the opportunity to get to know each other and share information about their universities, programs, and research interests.  The ANCDS fellow program is an excellent place for meeting new and established researchers in neurogenic communication disorders and forming collaborative relationships for future research. 

What did you enjoy about the ANCDS conference fellow program?
The scholar-mentor networking breakfast was a very positive experience.  I was paired with a wonderful mentor, who took a real interest in my area of concentration and answered questions I had about applying for university faculty positions.  Most importantly, she asked me to send her information about my research and accomplishments prior to our face-to-face meeting so she could plan and make our meeting at the breakfast fruitful.  This made a strong impression on me because it signaled that the ANCDS mentors where genuinely interested in helping the student fellows succeed in their current and future professional activities.

Why would you recommend the ANCDS conference fellow program to future students?
I would strongly recommend the ANCDS conference fellow to any student considering becoming a researcher in neurogenic communication disorders.  The ANCDS conference fellow program is an unintimidating, supportive environment that encourages students to discuss their research ideas with established professionals in the field.  Students will receive top-notch advice on how to be a successful neurogenic communication disorders researcher.  They will also be given the opportunity to interact with other students and develop potential collaborative relationships with their peers for future research.

Based on this first introduction to ANCDS, what are the benefits?
ANCDS provides the space for new and established researchers to exchange ideas and develop collaborative relationships.  ANCDS also provides clinicians with the opportunity to interact with researchers.  This is important because clinicians discuss the clinical relevance and applicability of current research directly with the investigators, while they also learn about the latest research findings.  Students involved in ANCDS will be a part of these discussions.  This will lead to their becoming better researchers, clinicians, and mentors in the future.

Describe your current or recent research project.
My current research examines how married couples solve problems and make decisions together, when one of the spouses is affected by aphasia.  Specifically, I am interested in studying the pragmatic aspects in their communication when they are engaged in collaborative problem-solving and joint decision-making tasks.  I am also interested in understanding and describing the lived experience of joint decision-making in couples affected by aphasia.

Why were you interested in the above project?
I initially became interested in the above research topic through conversations with my clients while providing aphasia therapy.  Clients reported feeling that important decisions were made by their significant others without their involvement, causing them to feel frustration toward their loved ones.  I sought to address this problem in treatment through providing caregiver education and incorporating communication partner training and supported communication techniques.  While this proved beneficial for some clients, other clients remarked that the problem continued, leading me to want to explore this topic further in research.

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