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Scholar Spotlight

Dr. Maria Resendiz

Dr. Maria Resendiz
  1. What is your role at CHP, and how long have you worked here?
    I am an Associate Professor. This is my 12th year at Texas State University in the College of Health Professions. I started as an Assistant Professor in fall 2010.

  2. Could you tell us about your research interests and why you are passionate about them?
    I am interested in providing access to speech-language pathology services for people with limited or no access to speech-language therapy. I am passionate about providing access because I have seen (both first hand and from listening to people) what a difference receiving speech therapy services can make for an individual.

  3. What are some potential applications of your research, and what holds promise for patients?
    I have worked in collaboration with Dr. Diana Gonzales, Ms. Ceci Perez, Ms. Julie Loney, Austin Smiles, and Instituto Salvadoreño Rehabilibación Integral [Salvadoran Institute of Integral Rehabilitatión] (ISRI) to deliver an adapted version of a train the trainers program for local Salvadoran therapists in El Salvador, where we discuss how to work with children to help them develop speech after a cleft palate surgery. The first trainings were delivered online earlier this year and future trainings are scheduled. Currently, there are no speech-language pathologists in the country of El Salvador. There are therapists who are committed to helping children develop speech and language skills who have sought out trainings individually.

    Additionally, I am collaborating with Dr. Valles (Ingram School of Engineering) to develop an app that will help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from the United States, Latin America, and the Philippines. Lois Adrianne Umali, an undergraduate student from Communication Disorders, is the newest member of our team who has added the Philippines as a potential area we can serve. Through participation in the Texas State University I-Corp program, our first app will aim to provide information from the perspective of a person with ASD in a positive light to inform people of what it is like to be a person with ASD.
  4. Could you tell us about your recent grant applications and how they will advance your area of research? 
    As co-PI in collaboration with Dr. Kathy Ybanez-Llorente from Counseling, I was recently awarded the Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for a grant, ACCESS (Attaining Culturally sensitive Counseling Education for Speech, linguistic and trauma-informed Services). This grant will allow us to work with students from underrepresented groups to serve people from medically underserved communities. Increasing the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds is one step in providing both counseling and speech-language pathology with more culturally and linguistically diverse practitioners.

    A Diversity & Inclusion Grant from Women in Bio, entitled STEMinitas Meet STEMinists: Building Bridges Through Partnerships will provide 10 Latina high school students from a Title I high school in central Texas with the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with faculty at Texas State University in fields such as communication disorders, biology, engineering, and nursing. The goal is to increase diversity in STEM fields, including the health professions, so that people with diverse perspectives and diverse backgrounds can share their stories and contribute to strengthen the future development of products, services, and ideas.
  5. Could you describe your vision for the research work you are leading at CHP?
    As I develop as a researcher, I will continue developing and fostering collaborations, both locally and internationally, to reduce disparities that limit access to speech-language pathology services. Collaborating across disciplines and with community partners, while including undergraduate and graduate students, will provide a paradigm under which future practitioners collaborate to provide culturally and linguistically diverse quality speech-language pathology services.

  6. What is the best part about being a scholar at the College of Health Professions at Texas State University?
    The best part about being a scholar in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University is the opportunity to work with professors, practitioners, members of the community, and students who share my passion for research.

  7. Do you have any advice for faculty considering research and grantsmanship at CHP?
    My advice for faculty is to keep conducting research about which you are passionate and keep applying for grants. If you are passionate about your research, it is because it matters. If you keep applying for grants, you will eventually find a funder who supports your passion. Even though it took me 12 years of applying to get an external grant, I have enjoyed the research I have conducted along the way.
  8. What is one thing not on your CV that you would like us to know?
    In spring 2019 I traveled to El Salvador with Austin Smiles as part of their February 2019 mission trip. I received partial funding from Austin Smiles for the trip, demonstrating the value they place on the provision of sustainable services post-surgery for children who receive cleft palate operations.

    In fall 2021, a donation was made to Austin Smiles to fund my trip once again (by a private donor) to deliver trainings in person to therapists about working with children with repaired cleft palate post-surgery. I am humbled to know that there was someone out there who I had never met who heard about my work and wanted to support it.
  9. What are your hobbies and interests (other than making CHP great)?
    I enjoy spending time with my children, my husband, and my extended family. I enjoy playing football with my son and my dad; I have never met a child who is more passionate about football. I enjoy family hikes in the park behind our house going over my daughter’s favorite bridge, where we do our rendition of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff. This past summer, we visited caverns in the central Texas area (something I had always wanted to do).

    (The selection criteria for Scholar Spotlight are based on external grant submissions, funded grants, and research collaboration outside the College of Health Professions.)