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Ohio State speech and hearing science professors left impact on students

Some former students of Robert Fox and Roy Koenigsknecht think that braving blizzards and inspiring students was more than enough to earn an award for excellence in speech-language pathology, audiology and speech and hearing science.

But Koenigsknecht, a professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Ohio State, and Fox, a chairman of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at OSU, said it is important to continue to help people with communication problems and to use available knowledge to advance research in the field.

The two were honored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Nov.16 in Atlanta, Ga.

“I was very delighted to win the award. My research was done more so in speech-related areas of the field, but it’s a great honor,” Fox said.

Fox said he is interested in speech and how people perceive it. He studied linguistics while pursuing his doctorate at the University of Chicago. Fox said he looks at various dialects from English to Mandarin and at the ways language variation can affect people negatively.

Jessica Hart, an honors research adviser at OSU, said Fox is a great mentor.

“His excitement for speech science is more than apparent and he has truly inspired me to want to learn more about the field of speech and hearing science,” Hart said. “He has been more than helpful throughout my research process and has taught me so much in such a short period of time.”

Ewa Jacewicz, a research assistant professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at OSU and collaborator with Fox, said he has made steady contributions to literature, particularly in the areas of vowel perception and cross-linguistic and cross-dialectal production and perception.

“As a person, he is an inspiring teacher, a generous mentor and a thorough and rigorous researcher. These qualities are well perceived and he is well respected by his students,” Jacewicz said.

Koenigsknecht has studied communication disorders for more than 40 years and has inspired many of his students, such as former pupil David Ratusnik, with his work ethic, drive and commitment.

“I can remember him going out in the midst of a snowstorm to help me with my dissertation back when he was teaching at Northwestern (University). He would do anything for his doctoral students, he’s a great family man and devotee to the field. This award is very deserving,” said Ratusnik, who is now a professor at the University of Central Florida.

Koenigsknecht said he takes great pride in his work and the more than 33,000 graduate degrees he has awarded brings him joy. The toughest moments, he said, have been when students aren’t doing the best of their abilities.

“It’s important that every person from child to adult is valued individually and that they receive assistance when it comes to communication problems and obtain the best possible services, the better research, the better the services,” Koenigsknecht said.

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