WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Oct. 28, 2019 — West Liberty University’s Speech Pathology and Audiology Program won third place in a national competition recognizing innovation in early education. The Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge was held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, located in Boston.
“Placing third in our track out of 160 candidates in the early education challenge is very exciting and rewarding!” said Dr. Stephanie Bradley, WLU Speech Pathology and Audiology program director.
Assisting her in the Oct. 15 presentation was Tori Gilbert, assistant professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology.
“We are hoping to create a tele-health suite right here in our university clinic setting to ensure that children and families across rural West Virginia have access to high quality speech, language and hearing services,” Bradley explained.
The professors gained $5,000 for their effort.
Now in its second year, the challenge recognizes promising new ideas and strategic approaches that have the potential to accelerate quality improvement and drive transformation in early education. The three tracks included: Idea, Pilot and Scaling tracks.
A total of 15 finalists pitched their ideas in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.
“There were applicants from all over the United States (Indiana, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, California, Colorado) and we were the only finalists from West Virginia,” Bradley said.
“My inspiration for applying for the grant at Harvard was two-fold. I want the best educational experience for my students by offering unique and effective methods of best practice in the clinical setting. I also want to provide exceptional hearing, speech, and language services to an underserved population in West Virginia, reaching as many clients in need as we can with these unique methods,” she said.
“We are so grateful to the finalists for their tremendous commitment to the field and to progress, which made the second annual Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge as inspiring and powerful as the first,” said Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones, co-directors of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative.
“We were honored to take part in the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative, and we look forward to implementing our ideas as we grow our speech and hearing clinic which opened last spring to the public,” said Bradley.
WLU’s Speech Pathology and Audiology program has educated students interested in assisting others with communication difficulties in the areas of hearing, speech and language since 1975.
The new clinic is currently located on the third floor of Campbell Hall of Health Sciences. Appointments are necessary and may be made by calling the administrative secretary at 304.336.8108 or scheduling online at www.westliberty.edu/shc.
To learn more about the Harvard competition, please click here.