ISU Headlines

ISU-Boise speech-pathology students provide free screenings

Posted May 29, 2007

Boise— Eleven students in Idaho State University-Boise’s speech-language pathology master’s program recently provided free speech, voice and hearing screenings for more than 100 Hewlett-Packard employees and their families.

“The opportunity was invaluable,” said Kristin Negilski, director of ISU-Boise’s Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic.  “To be able to explain and discuss results with the HP employees immediately following the screening gave our students a wonderful learning experience and opportunity for continued growth as a future professionals.”

During the clinic, held in May at HP, the students screened 132 people, including four children.

“I enjoy working with kids,” said student Kimra Rich, who plans to pursue a career as a certified speech-language pathologist in the public school system. “Communication is a fascinating thing. It’s something everyone needs to be able to do.”

Through the science of tympanometry and a device called an audiometer, Rich and classmate Kelly Howard were able to test the middle-ear function of HP employee Srikanth Tanikella.  

“It was something I wanted them to do… just in case,” said Tanikella. Within minutes, he had the results.  “I’m fine,” he said.

In another room, students Anthony Richitella and Erin Westfall were monitoring a series of graphs as HP employee Roni Ekman read text into a microphone. They were assessing Ekman’s vocal quality, including pitch, volume and nasality. Voice screening can help people ease vocal strain, improve inflection or modify an accent, explained Negilski.

The students graduated from ISU-Boise’s speech-language master’s program in May and will spend the summer completing an eight-week externship supervised by licensed speech-language pathologists in the Treasure Valley. Students must complete the externship before becoming certified.

May is national Better Speech and Hearing Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about communication disorders and their treatments.

For more information about ISU-Boise’s Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic or the speech-language pathology program, contact Kristin Negilski at 208-373-1722 or