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Three students win aphasia education awards

Feb. 28, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Three Western Michigan University students have won awards from a special fund established by a Paw Paw family to promote better communication options for people with stroke-induced language problems.

Colleen Badgero of Livonia, Mich., Katherine Peterson of Battle Creek, Mich., and Sarah Winkle of Cutlerville, Mich., all first-year graduate students in WMU's speech pathology and audiology program, have been selected to receive the Kensel Giddings Award in Aphasia Education for the 2006-07 academic year. According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia is an impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words, usually acquired as a result of a stroke or other brain injury.

All three students have met award criteria, which includes a strong interest in aphasia, a planned graduate course of study leading to a career in aphasia rehabilitation and prior experience as a community volunteer. Each student will receive a $450 cash gift.

During the academic year, Giddings project students have been working with Sandra Glista, master faculty specialist in the WMU Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, to plan and implement educational programs during National Aphasia Month in June. The three award-winners will work with Glista to carry out observances during the month, including a "Day in the Life of Aphasia" photography exhibit.

Aphasia "is such an unknown. It's always been around, but a lot of people don't know that people have it and assume someone is cognitively impaired or deaf," says Badgero. "The prediction is cases of aphasia will increase as the Baby Boomers grow into the age of 65 years and older when there is a greater risk for stroke."

Colleen Badgero, a 2002 graduate of Churchill High School in Livonia, is the daughter of Mark Badgero of Ferndale and Patricia O'Connell of Livonia. She received her bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology in 2006 from Eastern Michigan University.

Katherine Peterson is a 2002 graduate of Battle Creek Central High School and married to Mitch Peterson. She is the daughter of Ed and Sharon Davids of Battle Creek, and she received her bachelor's degree in communication disorders in 2006 from Central Michigan University.

Sarah Winkle, a 2002 graduate of South Christian High School in Grand Rapids, is the daughter of Terry and Louanne Winkle of Cutlerville. She received her bachelor's degree in speech pathology and audiology in 2006 from Calvin College.

For more information on aphasia, please visit the National Aphasia Association's Web site, www.aphasia.org.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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