(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) has received the 2021 Silver Chapter Honors from the organization that recognizes the student-led chapter’s community outreach and advocacy.
Despite the pandemic, the organization completed numerous activities that included:
- A poverty drive during National Public Health Week
- Read Across America for Dr. Seuss Week
- A pen pal initiative with the University Mississippi Medical Center Children’s Hospital
- A book drive producing over 200 books benefiting the free lending library at the Children’s Museum
Dr. Whitney D. Perkins is the JSU chapter’s adviser and serves as a clinical coordinator and instructor in the Department of Communicative Disorders.
“I am extremely proud of the JSU NSSLHA undergrad chapter this year. They were committed to service, advocacy and increasing awareness of communication disorders within and around their community, despite the pandemic,” she said.
“The leadership provided by the student-led executive board this year was outstanding. It is a privilege to work with such amazing scholars.”
Additionally, the local chapter’s efforts helped the National NSSLHA:
- Increase awareness of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) on more than 135 local college campuses and communities across the country — primarily through virtual platforms
- Increase advocacy efforts by sending more than 9,500 letters to state and federal legislators
- Provide scholarships to students in CSD programs by contributing more than $24,000 to the ASHFoundation’s NSSLHA Scholarship
- Support CSD-related organizations by donating more than $64,000 and approximately 20,000 hours of chapter members’ time
Dr. Brandi Newkirk-Turner is the outgoing chair of the Communicative Disorders department. She expressed pride over what Perkins and the students accomplished.
“Under Dr. Perkins’ leadership, the undergraduate NSSHLA chapter has shown that not even a pandemic can stop students who are highly motivated and have a strong commitment to community and their own professional development,” said Newkirk-Turner, who is also the associate provost at JSU.
She points out that this is the chapter’s first time receiving the award and how remarkable it is that the organization met this moment – a global pandemic – with creativity and a greater sense of service and advocacy.
“This award will always be special to the department because it reflects how our students pursued purpose and connection at an extremely difficult time,” she added.
National NSSLHA Chapter Honors are awarded to affiliated NSSLHA chapters that demonstrate an outstanding effort to support National NSSLHA’s mission to inspire, empower and support students in communication sciences and disorders programs.
About the NSSLHA Chapter at JSU
The purpose of the local NSSLHA organization:
1. To encourage and promote professional interest among college and university students in the study of human communication sciences and disorders
2. To provide continuity to the dissemination of professional information
3. To provide a vehicle for student representation in matters of professional and academic concern
4. To provide community service locally and nationally
About National NSSLHA
The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) is the only national student organization for pre-professionals studying communication sciences and disorders (CSD) recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Established in 1972, National NSSLHA is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, and supports 11,700+ members and 340+ chapters at colleges and universities nationwide.