February 14, 2023
We recently spoke with Ruthie Knight, a 2nd-year Ph.D. Candidate in Communication Sciences & Disorders, about her research, work, and passion for speech-language pathology. Ruthie knows Baylor well—she was an undergraduate student here. She shared that Baylor has changed a lot since then, and R1 classification is one of those changes. Ruthie's work focuses mostly on college students who struggle with reading and attention. Read more about Ruthie's time at Baylor below.
Why did you choose to attend Baylor for Graduate School?
I attended Baylor for my undergraduate degree and loved the caring, encouraging, and supportive environment here, so I wanted to come back for graduate school to deepen my understanding in the field of Speech Pathology.
What are your research interests?
My research interests involve working with college students who struggle with reading and attention related difficulties that could be affecting their overall college experience. I love to encourage and help others to see challenges and hurdles that they can overcome or learn to navigate through. I hope to find the best compensatory strategies for the different skill profiles of postsecondary students with reading and attention related difficulties. One project that I am working on is measuring the prefrontal hemodynamics during silent and oral reading of those with reading difficulties and determining which mode is better for reading comprehension.
What opportunities or implications stem from your research?
Having the opportunity to work with postsecondary students with a variety of academic and social difficulties allows me to understanding their personal challenges and provide support through coaching. In the field of Speech Pathology, I have the opportunity to help others to communicate and learn at their highest potential. Through prior experience in the field, I have grown in my clinical skills which has deepened my desire to make more change through the input of my research.
What research excites you right now?
Learning more about how reading and attention play a huge part in reading comprehension really excites me right now. Reading is a highly valued skill in our society and affects all aspects of our lives. Being able to provide the best strategies and coping mechanisms for those who struggle with reading and attention, could positively affect their trajectory in the workforce.
How does Baylor help you achieve your research?
The supportive faculty in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Baylor has helped me to achieve my confidence in learning about my research in my field through encouragement, listening, and prayer. However, without the support and love from my family including my husband, parents, and sisters through many hugs, encouraging words, text messages, letters, and phone calls, I would not have gotten this far as to pursing my PhD. They believed in me which in turn allowed me to believe in myself. I am so thankful for the friends that I have made in my time back in Waco. These are friends who walk through life with me.
If you are working on a thesis or dissertation, briefly describe your topic.
I am not in the dissertation stage just yet as I am in my 2nd year as a Ph.D. candidate, but am interested in learning about the different skilled profiles of postsecondary students with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the accommodations and strategies that are considered most beneficial for the different profile groups.