Alaska <br>  Speech-Language-Hearing <br>         Association
Dr. Helen Dittman Beirne Scholarship

Dr. Helen Beirne Scholarship—Congratulations, 2020 Winner Cristal Hays!

Congratulations are in order for Cristal Hays, winner of the AKSHA 2020 Beirne Scholarship! Each year, the AKSHA Board offers $1,000 scholarship toward tuition and expenses to one student working on an SLP or AUD degree. Cristal is in her 2nd and final year of her master's program and is well-deserving of her award. The following is a piece from her her scholarship application:

"Once my MS-SLP education is finished and I have completed my requirements to achieve my ASHA certification, my hope is to serve the speech therapy needs of the Anchorage and greater Alaskan population. In my experience so far, I have had the privilege of working with both school-based and private practice SLPs and am cognizant of both sides’ values and room for growth in the future. In these trying times, and with my experience in working and learning through non- face-to-face encounters (i.e. online learning and teletherapy), I hope to expand access for clients around the state to receive and utilize teletherapy as a means to obtain quality treatment from professionals that might live far from their home. I also hope to gain a perspective of the sociologic and epigenetic factors that might further research into finding etiologies of communication disorders such as Specific Language Impairment, Dyslexia, or other communication issues with no yet-known etiologies. Advocacy for obtaining sufficient and consistent funding for vulnerable populations and expanding resources and prevention awareness through the community are also tasks that I hope to achieve over my career."

Scholarship Background:

Dr. Helen Beirne was instrumental in starting the Alaska Speech and Hearing Association. She is remembered by a great number of individuals as a role model and mentor in the area of speech and language, and in humanitarian work. In memory of Dr. Beirne, the Alaska Speech and Hearing Association presents a scholarship award each year, to a suitably qualified candidate demonstrating a commitment to undertaking studies leading to a graduate degree in communication development and disorders. At this time, in Alaska, it is especially crucial to applaud this pursuit, given a shortage of qualified personnel to assist people experiencing communication problems. Applicants should show pursuit of studies in communication, in the area of speech/language or hearing at an accredited institution in the undergraduate or graduate department. The scholarship is valued at $1000.

The award will be determined by the AKSHA executive board based on information in the scholarship application, teacher recommendations, and/or grades. The committee may give preference to Alaska Native students and applicants working with Alaska Native populations.  Additionally, applicants for this scholarship must be ALASKA RESIDENTS.

Further information may be obtained by contacting the AKSHA Scholarship subcommittee, P.O. Box 111993, Anchorage, AK 99511 or by emailing questions attention 'Scholarship committee' at

If you are a student studying to become a Speech Language Pathologist or Audiologist please download and complete a scholarship application by September 15, 2021. Electronic submission is encouraged. Scholarships are awarded at the annual AKSHA convention in October.

Beirne Scholarship Application.pdf

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