Ruth Symposium continues to be a success for CSD department


SUMMARY: Held October 14 -15 the 2016 Ruth Symposium included world-renowned speakers and presentations from practicing audiologists, JMU professors and students.

By: Lauren Mitchell
Creative Services Student Writer

JMU Students attend symposium


Held October 14 -15 the 2016 Ruth Symposium included world-renowned speakers and presentations from practicing audiologists, JMU professors and students.  The event began in 2001 as the Innovation in Clinical Communication Sciences Conference, but was renamed the Ruth Symposium to honor founder and faculty member Roger Ruth who passed away in 2009. Coordination of the Ruth Symposium was led by CSD faculty members Dr. Christopher Clinard and Dr. Ayasakanta Rout with incredible assistance from two doctoral students – Ms. Kathleen Burns and Ms. Logan Hamlyn.      

The two-day event offered workshops, presentations of research and opportunities for networking. The conference began with a technology update session in which eight national companies presented their latest state-of-the-art developments. In addition to providing a booth at the tradeshow, Oticon donated $4,000 to the Roger Ruth Student Research Memorial Grant to support JMU Au.D. students in their research.

During the main event, attendees had the opportunity to listen to six speakers. World-renowned professor at the University of Toronto, Dr. Kathleen Pichora-Fuller, gave the keynote address. She presented on two topics; “The Framework for Understanding Effortful Listening (FUEL)” and “Aging Well: Auditory, Cognitive and Social Factors”. Pichora-Fuller was not the only speaker exploring the topic of the aging vestibular and auditory systems. The conference carried this theme throughout, as four of the five speakers’ presentations focused on this as well. Among the invited speakers were JMU professors Dr. Lincoln Gray and Dr. Erin Piker, Dr. Lisa Cunningham and Dr. Chris Zalewski of the National Institute of Health, and Dr. Douglas Ruhl from UVA. The presenters also spoke about clinical topics pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of balance issues. In addition to the invited speakers, five JMU doctoral students presented posters on their research topics. “The Ruth Symposium adds a new dimension to our clinical education and training at JMU,” said Logan Hamlyn, one of the student organizers.

JMU students attend symposium

Faculty and students from regional universities were invited to attend as well. “JMU provides a melting pot of students, faculty and professionals to learn from without having to travel all around the country,” explained Dr. Ayasakanta Rout, JMU’s Audiology program director.

During the conference, recently retired audiology professor Dr. Brenda Ryals was recognized for her nearly 30 years of service to JMU’s CSD department and for elevating the Ruth Symposium to the level that it is today. It was announced that the keynote address will now be named the Brenda Ryals Keynote Address in honor of her work. Each year a distinguished alumnus is recognized at the Symposium for the work that they have done for the program since graduating. This year the award went to Dr. Sara Conrad for her continued professional support of the Au.D. program.

Over the past 15 years, the Ruth Symposium has grown into an incredible regional conference. “The Symposium is a great catalyst for JMU faculty and the program. People from all around spread the word about our program and they are very impressed. Any program that can put on a conference of this caliber is held in very high regard,” said Rout.

Back to Top

Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Related Articles