James Madison University

Drulia Awarded CAPSCD Ph.D. Research Scholarship

By: Brett Seekford
Posted: May 7, 2015

PHOTO: Teresa Drulia

Teresa Drulia, a Ph.D. candidate in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at JMU, has been awarded the Council for Academic Programs in CSD (CAPCSD) Ph.D. Research Scholarship.

The scholarship is designed to address the dearth of PhDs in the field by providing $20,000 to as many as ten of the candidates. The grant application was both intensive and nationally competitive. Applicants were required to provide a cover letter, a detailed description of their plan for their dissertation, a letter of recommendation from a research mentor and their curriculum vitae.

While the selection process was arduous, Drulia nevertheless was selected as one of seven winners due to her research regarding the interactions between swallowing and respiration with an emphasis on the changes in these systems in the presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her achievement was made possible by several mentors: Dr. Christy Ludlow, Dr. Cynthia O’Donoghue and Dr. Carol Dudding.

“Teresa’s proposal was methodologically strong,” said O’Donoghue, the head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at JMU. “She has a significant clinical background (20 years) in speech-language pathology that has led to her understanding of this issue and the need for further investigation to contribute to our literature base.”

Drulia is grateful for the award. “Due to the highly competitive nature of this scholarship, I am honored to have been selected as a recipient,” she said. “The funds will provide me the opportunity to singularly focus on my research and cover the expenses for completing this study.”

Teresa’s achievement is a testament to the abilities of CSD students and faculty members to produce new knowledge on a regular basis. “Having a department that actively investigates holes in our knowledge and delivers further empirical direction to address these gaps is foundational to our mission,” O’Donoghue said. “There were seven other winners and most all other recipients were from R1 Research Intensive Institutions. Teresa’s research showcases the caliber of our PhD program at a national level.”

After receiving her Ph.D., Drulia hopes to find and accept an assistant professor position at a university. “The ideal position will be a university that provides me the opportunity to continue my research interest in the area of dysphagia, teach undergraduate and graduate level CSD students, and provides opportunities for me to clinically serve individuals in the community with communication and swallowing impairments,” she said.