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 undergraduate and graduate students interested in a career in speech language pathology or audiology under the faculty advisement of Suzanne Dripps ( Each year, NSSLHA sponsors a variety of social events, community service and professional development opportunities for its members. In the past, the organization has served the community by participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, Cedar Valley Sertoma events, canned-food drives for the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Special Olympics, and a NSSLHA-hosted leaf-raking fundraiser. The group frequently attends campus events together and has a yearly Waterloo Blackhawks Hockey Night. Members of NSSLHA have the opportunity to hear monthly speakers on topics related to Speech Pathology and Audiology during the All-Chapter meetings.
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.
Each April, NSSLHA sponsors the Iowa Conference on Communicative Disorders (ICCD). Well-known professionals from around the world 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.


2018-2019 NSSLHA Executive Officers:

President: Maranda Bear

Vice President: Jaden Rausch

Student Body Representative: Mackenzie Dohse

Graduate Representative: Maggie English

Senior Representatives: Bailee Newman, Emily Phalen

Junior Representatives: Anna Sagan, Lauren Galvin

Treasurers: Kelsi Nguyen, Melissa Tranel

Secretaries: Jannifer Baldwin, Hannah Fahey

Student Relations Officers: Kaylah Godfrey, Sophie Shelgren


Search for UNI NSSLHA on Facebook!