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National Student Speech Language & Hearing Association (NSSLHA)

The National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) is an organization within the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. NSSLHA is led by graduate and undergraduate students interested in a career in speech language pathology. Every year NSSLHA sponsors social and service events for it’s members. Past events hosted by the club include: canned-food drive for NorthEast Iowa Food Bank, Sertoma charity events, Relay for Life, Waterloo BlackHawks Hockey night, Special Olympics, and Aspire.

Under the guidance of Dr. Ken Bleile, students from the University of Northern Iowa have established an ongoing relationship with multiple educational settings in Nicaragua since 2005, including Tesoros de Dios, a school for children with special needs in Managua, Nicaragua. This school allows children with communication, developmental, cognitive, and physical disabilities to participate in an environment adapted to meet the needs of each specific student. Tesoros de Dios also gives these children individualized education and therapy plans for speech and language, occupational, and physical therapies. It is the goal of students traveling to Nicaragua to assist in the assessment and treatment of those children with communication disorders, including incorporating the use of augmentative and alternative communication devices  into the therapies for the children, to test hearing and ear health and provide hearing aids to those who are eligible, and to train staff on how to implement these resources throughout the year.
Anyone interested in supporting this program or learning about current fundraisers, which make this annual service trip a reality, should contact Dr. Ken Bleile through email at

Every November, many students from the department attend the America Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) National Conference. Many UNI graduate students present their research at the conference.

In April, NSSLHA will be sponsoring the Iowa Conference on Communicative Disorders (ICCD). Well-known professionals from around the state will speak at the conference held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Falls, IA. Professionals can obtain Continued Education Units by attending the guest lectures. NSSLHA members collaborate, organize, and plan the conference to make it a learning experience for both professionals and students. The conference is also an opportunity for many graduate students to present their research.

As the number of students enrolled in the department continues to grow, UNI NSSLHA anticipates more members each year. With outstanding student leaders, enthusiastic members, and willing professors, UNI NSSLHA will continue to create opportunities for students to participate in service projects and gain valuable experience.

2015-2016 NSSLHA Executive Officers:

President: Ross Westemeyer

Vice President: Majed Al-Harthi

Secretary: Jessica Cramer

Treasurers: Lindsey Powell, Morgan Bowser, Kayleen Turnis

Hospitality: Amanda Bush, Sarah Van Maanen, Carissa Becker

Social Chair: Chandler Schmidt

Student Body Representative: Alli Seydell

Graduate Representative: Brittney Oxley 

Senior Representative: Maddie Wagler

Junior Representative: Joslyn Hicks