The Office of Student Research is proud to feature Delanie Amend, Paige Romine, and Gabriela Vallejo in this week’s “Scholar Story”.

Delanie Amend, Paige Romine, and Gabriela Vallejo are second-year students in the Speech- Language Pathology graduate program at Longwood University. Delanie, Paige, and Gabriela worked with their faculty mentor, Dr. Alison King, to research how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted services received by cochlear implant users. For individuals with cochlear implants, a device which is implanted into the ear to help people hear again, the pandemic made it difficult to access necessary rehabilitation, services, and spare parts. Their study found that while around 50% of individuals noted difficulty in access to services, nearly 50% of the respondents indicated that the pandemic did not significantly impact their access to necessary services. They believe this is for a few reasons, including distributing their survey nearly 2 years into the pandemic at the beginning of 2022, as well as the willingness of the speech-language pathology field to quickly adapt to teletherapy during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delanie, Paige, and Gabriela became involved in this research project because they were required to participate in two research classes as part of the course of study for Longwood’s Speech-Language Pathology master’s degree. While they didn’t begin this project with the intent of presenting their research at a national conference, they stated that they were delighted to have been given the opportunity to represent Longwood University at a national level.

Delanie reflects that participating in this research project had a positive effect on her because “it has opened so many new doors for me. It was an incredible opportunity that is not offered at other universities in the state. Our research classes provide an opportunity to take research, something so vital to the field of speech-language pathology and get hands-on experience with it. Additionally, I’ve learned many lessons about collaboration, creativity, and hard work along the way. Participating in this research has been an opportunity that will impact me as a speech-language pathologist throughout my entire career.”

Paige’s favorite part of the research process was “sharing it with several people. I also really enjoyed the process because it was a lot of hard work, but it paid off as it provided unique opportunities. Lastly, I enjoyed seeing the findings of our research. Our findings went against our initial hypothesis, but that was a great thing as it is indicative of positive changes occurring in the fields of speech-pathology and audiology.”

One important skill that Gabriela learned was collaboration. “Interacting with my colleagues, supervisors, and audiologist was so eye opening regarding the group that we focused on. One lesson I learned is that nothing is ever going to go the way you plan it to go and that it is ok! The hurdles that we encountered throughout the process lead to more knowledge, and more qualitative data than we had expected. It also stretched our minds to then go down another hole for another research project to potentially happen.”

In March 2022, Delanie, Paige, and Gabriela gave a poster presentation of their research at the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia and they won 2nd place for their poster presentation! They also presented at the national convention for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, in New Orleans, LA in November of 2022. They received a Student Travel Grant from the Office of Student Research to support their travel to present their research at the national American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention.

After graduation, Gabriela would like to have a job in a private practice or school completing her clinical fellowship year as a Speech Language Pathologist. Eventually she would love to work in a children's hospital specifically in the NICU performing pediatric feeding services. Paige would like to be in a position where she can help pediatric and adult clients and use the skills she has acquired to be an effective, caring speech-language pathologist. Delanie would also like to work with individuals of all ages either in a private practice or in a school in addition to working as needed at an in-patient rehabilitation center.

Congratulations to Delanie, Paige, and Gabriela on their successful research!

If you would like to have your research featured in a “Scholar Story”, or if you would like to learn more about getting involved in research at Longwood University, please visit Longwood’s Office of Student Research website

or contact Amorette Barber, Director of the Office of Student Research ( or