Highlander Highlights: Week of January 8, 2024

Every two weeks, Highlander Highlights shares with readers some of the extraordinary research and accomplishments happening on and off campus through the tireless work and curiosity of our students and faculty.

Physics society earns ‘distinguished’ ranking

Radford University’s Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter has earned a ‘Distinguished’ rating from the national organization.

The Radford group earned the honor in part for its continuous community outreach, remarkable research efforts and participation in regional and national conferences.

In 2023, Radford physics students hosted numerous events at the RU Planetarium and engaged with young audiences in a variety of Science Days hosted by the Artic College of Science and Technology. In the spring semester, they worked with students in a local high school science class, taught by alumna Caitlyn Fischer ’21, to teach them to build their own 386 audio-amplified radios. Radford physics students packed and sent 18 bags to the high school, each filled with the components to construct the radios.

Several Radford SPS members presented their own unique Arctic geophysics research at the 2022 American Geophysical Union fall meeting in Chicago. SPS President Sam Williams and Jonathon Halferty presented their work on cryoseismic activity. Julia Buccola presented her self‐built Raspberry Pi‐based real‐time microplastics detector prototype that employed a camera with a microscope attachment.


Radford SPS students and physics faculty during an annual trip to the Green Bank Radio Observatory in West Virginia.

“All of these students did their work as part of a yearlong Arctic Geophysics Research Experience that culminated in them deploying their self‐made equipment on the sea ice near Utqiagvik, Alaska, in February and March of 2022,” explained Radford Professor of Physics and SPS faculty sponsor Rhett Herman.

Involving SPS alumni was a major factor in Radford earning the distinguished rating. In addition to building radios with Fischer’s high school class, several alumni, all former SPS members at the university, shared their career-path stories with students in the introductory physics seminar (PHYS 201) during a two-day Zoom session.

Radford SPS is kicking off 2024 with their annual trip to the Green Bank Radio Observatory in West Virginia, where they will be “learning and actually doing radio astronomy,” Herman said. In March, the physics students will attend the regional SPS meeting, which Herman hopes will take his group from “distinguished” to “outstanding” in next year’s rankings. “We’re a nice active chapter,” the professor said, “and it will continue to be that way this year.”

Cassidy pens textbook in early intervention for speech-language pathologists

Corey Cassidy, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Corey Cassidy has written and published a new textbook, “Early Intervention and the Speech-Language Pathologist: Best Practices in Assessment and Intervention for Infants and Toddlers.”

Published by Plural Publishing and available in print as of Jan. 1, the textbook addresses foundations, knowledge and evidence-based practices in early intervention and presents the skills and strategies necessary to provide exceptional services to the young children and families who will be served by professionals. Cassidy’s textbook is the first to be dedicated to providing speech-language pathologists with a comprehensive presentation of theory, facts, and application to engage in evidence-based best practices in the complex and continually evolving field of early intervention.

Cassidy wrote the textbook “to set the tone and convey the message that this is about our journey into the world of EI,” she said. “Ultimately, my goal is to share and support the knowledge, skills and competence of future and current speech-language pathologists to engage in evidence-based practice. By ensuring our own confidence and competence, we can and will empower and build upon the capacities of the children and families with whom we work.”

Authoring a textbook is a first for Cassidy, and it was “as difficult as I thought it might be, and more rewarding than I could ever have imagined,” she said. “Prior to sitting down to focus on the research and writing, I thought about this project for years, and it seems surreal to have finally completed it. I hope it will be well received.”

Money magazine recognizes Radford

Radford University’s MBA program has been recognized as one of Money’s 2024 Best Grad School Programs.

For its inaugural graduate school ranking, Money partnered with College Factual to find the country’s top-value programs. The rankings focus on annual costs, typical debt burdens, employment rates and recent graduate salaries. Money, a financial news and education website, graded programs on a five-star scale. Radford’s MBA program received 4 1/2 stars.

Jan 16, 2024
Chad Osborne
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