Danielle Spagnuolo, of Wyoming, a speech-language pathology graduate student at Misericordia University, received the 2019 Von Drach Memorial Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Speech-Language Hearing Association (PSHA) at the 60th annual PSHA Convention in Lancaster.
Misericordia University speech-language pathology students have received 11 out of the last 12 Von Drach Scholarship awards. The scholarship is presented annually to an outstanding student from one of the state’s 14 speech-language pathology academic programs in honor of Dr. Robert Von Drach. Recipients are students who exhibit strong leadership abilities, outstanding academic performance, exceptional clinical skills, and scholarship within the profession.
Spagnuolo’s interest in the specialty field of communicative sciences and disorders began as a client. During childhood, the daughter of John and Cyndi Spagnuolo misarticulated the “r” sound, affecting the intelligibility of her speech and ability to communicate effectively in social situations, according to the essay she wrote for the Von Drach Memorial Scholarship Committee.
“At first, the misarticulation was seen as cute, however as I got older, it became something that stopped me from meeting my fullest potential,’’ the Wyoming Area High School graduate wrote. “I never imagined I would not want to go to school or participate fully in my education. I dreaded talking in a way I never thought was possible.’’
A family member’s recommendation to seek therapeutic services at the Misericordia University Speech-Language and Hearing Center for speech anomalies addressed the articulation disorder and identified her career path and college.
“All of that hard work has shown me exactly what it takes to make progress in therapy and reinforced the importance of compassion and motivation in a difficult process,’’ Spagnuolo added in her essay. “My experience with wonderful and dedicated clinicians prepared me to work as a clinician and help other people make the same progress I did.’’
Spagnuolo is enrolled in the Honors Programs at Misericordia University, has been an active member of the Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association and National Student Speech Language Hearing Association and serves as a mentor.
Spagnuolo received her master’s degree during the spring commencement ceremony in May, and plans to work in her field of study before enrolling someday in a Ph.D. program to continue her education in the communication sciences.