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WSU Spokane announces new faculty member



Washington State University Spokane has announced the appointment of Nancy Potter as assistant professor in the graduate program in speech and hearing sciences.

Potter received a doctorate in communicative disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the top programs in the nation. She holds a master’s degree in communicative disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Minnesota State University-Mankato, and a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech and Hearing Association.

Potter conducts research in typical and disordered speech and manual motor development in children. Currently, she is examining speech and motor skills in children who have galactosemia. More than half of the children with galactosemia have speech disorders and about 25 percent have motor disorders.

Galactosemia is a rare (1 in 60,000) metabolic disease that is detected during newborn screening in infants. Children with galactosemia are unable to metabolize the milk sugar galactose found in human and animal milk. The inability to break down galactose can result in abnormal white matter formation in the brains of children with the disease. In addition, a build-up of galactose in the red blood cells can become toxic to body systems, causing neurological disorders, and can be fatal if left untreated.

Potter brings 20 years of clinical experience as a practicing speech-language pathologist in private practice, schools, clinics, hospitals, early intervention programs and skilled nursing facilities.

“I left a successful diversified speech-language private practice, with a perpetual waiting list, to return to school for my Ph.D. because I believed my clinical experience, love of teaching and interest in research would benefit future speech-language pathologists,” Potter said. “Now I have an outstanding opportunity to put my background and education to work in the strong, nationally recognized program at WSU Spokane.”

Potter has authored and produced a number of alternative format teaching tools. These tools include Project SIMPLE, a Web/DVD distance education project for aphasia diagnosis and treatment; SALT (systematic analysis of language transcripts), a Web-based tutorial that trains speech/language pathologist to elicit language samples; and “Where’s My Cheese,” a video to increase prereading skills and consonant sounds.

Speech-language pathologists work not only with people who have functional, acquired and congenital disorders, but also with people in professions that place extraordinary demands on the voice. In this vein, Potter collaborated with two colleagues to author, direct and produce “Scream – A Tutorial,” a documentary-style video that trains actors to produce safe blood-curdling screams.

“Dr. Potter represents a high-quality addition to our faculty,” said Charles Madison, professor and coordinator of the graduate program. “In a climate of a limited faculty applicant pool in speech and hearing sciences, WSU Spokane attracts rising scholars such as Dr. Potter thanks to the strength of our program and the excellent facilities we have for teaching, clinical work and research.

“This year we have our highest enrollment in several years,” Madison said. “The state faces shortages of speech-language pathologists across the board in every setting, from schools to hospitals, and our students are being hired straight out of their clinical internships.”

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