CHHS students receive undergraduate research awards

Three students from the College of Health and Human Services were recently awarded the Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Excellence Award from the WMU Office of the Vice President of Research. Rachel Wilgenhof, Megan Berichon and Anika Johns have demonstrated excellence in their respective research fields.

About the students


Anika Johns, a senior in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, is studying the effects of aphasia intervention by analyzing conversations between participants with aphasia and clinicians, as well as caregivers. Under the guidance of Dr. Suma Devanga, Johns is conducting research for her Lee Honors College Thesis.

Johns is hoping that her research will indicate whether participants can generalize and transfer what they have learned in treatment to their daily conversations with caregivers at home. Originally from Holland, Michigan, Johns serves as treasurer for the National Student Speech Language & Hearing Association.


Rachel Wilgenhof, a senior speech pathology and audiology major, is interested in studying Wernicke’s aphasia. Under the guidance of Dr. Suma Devanga, Wilgenhof’s study titled, “Collaborative Referencing in Wernicke’s Aphasia,” aims to determine collaborative learning patterns in a participant with Wernicke’s aphasia.

Originally from Plainwell, Michigan, Wilgenhof hopes to explore a career in speech-language pathology. She is heavily active in the Neurogenic Communication Intervention Lab, where she and her colleagues study the effects of conversation-based treatment on adults with aphasia and other acquired neurogenic communication disorders. She is currently a research assistant as well as a member of the NSSLHA.


Megan Berichon, a senior Bronson School of Nursing student from Brooklyn, Michgian, is a navigator in the Empower Success program.

Under the guidance of Dr. Mary Ann Stark and Taylor Birgy, she is creating a study for her Lee Honors College Thesis. Her research will examine resilience, self-esteem, sense of belonging and perceived stress in students who are part of the Empower Success program.