A glimpse into the future
When Daniella Aguinaga found out about the B.E.S.T. Projects Fund, there was no doubt in her mind as to what project she wanted to pursue. The Psychology major is passionate about speech pathology in children, and with graduation just on the horizon in December 2017, she felt that B.E.S.T. could give her the experience she needed to transition into her graduate studies.
“I know I want to pursue my Master’s degree in speech pathology, maybe even at McGill University, back in my hometown,” says the Montreal, Quebec, native. “When I found out about the application deadline for B.E.S.T., I knew I wanted to apply in the hopes of gaining research experience in the field.”
Daniella’s efforts zeroed in on the Child Phonology Lab at McGill’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, where she found Dr. Susan Rvachew.
“I was thrilled to hear back from Dr. Rvachew who told me I was welcome to work in her lab this summer,” she says. “It’s amazing that B.E.S.T. will be giving me the opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like to do research in the discipline I will pursue.”
Daniella will volunteer her time on several ongoing projects that are looking into speech development and disorders. She will be studying the environmental factors and learning mechanisms that explain the development of babbling during infancy in children with normal and impaired hearing. She will analyze the effectiveness of interventions to treat developmental speech sound disorders, including phonological disorders and motor speech disorders. She will also help Dr. Rvachew to create software tools that assess and support speech, language and literacy development.
“I consider myself very lucky to be given the opportunity to work on so many projects in the lab,” Daniella says. “I’ll be working alongside other undergraduate students as well as graduate student research assistants, masters students and doctoral students. I have lots of experience working in the labs here at Bishop’s, but I’ve never done work like this before. I’m really excited to gain a new perspective on the research that’s being done in this field.”
B.E.S.T. is allowing Daniella to express her open-mindedness and ambition. “I feel I’m a well-rounded person and a lot of doors have opened for me as a result. B.E.S.T. is definitely helping me go forward on my career path and for that, I am incredibly grateful.”