The End

The biggest obstacle that I experienced during the McKearn program was time management. The McKearn program jam packed a variety of trips, assignments and research into two months. This program taught me true time management. It was extremely difficult to juggle the variety of activities on top of our research in such a small amount of time. However this experience taught me that with good time management skills it can be done. I learned that in order to stay on top of my work I need to write list and set goals for myself as well.

I am also extremely grateful for this experience because now I feel that I have a grasp on what graduate school would be like. I also realized that hard work can take you much further than anything else. This realization was all due to the people we talked to during this program. Meeting with all the successful alumni also made me realize that in order to be successful one must know how to lead. I learned in order to lead well one must be able to listen and trust others on their team as well. During this program I have made and effort to listen to my peers ideas intently and trust my peers as well. Everyone that we meet was extremely nice and offered great advice. I am very thankful for this program and all the support and guidance I have received during this program as well.


The Process

I think that the largest obstacle that I have encountered so far in this program is time. So far there never seems to be enough time to work on our independent projects. Thus time management has been a key component in this program. In order to make sure that I finish my project I had to look at what I wanted to accomplish in 2 months and honestly ask myself if it is possible to achieve what I have set out to do. I found that my project was doable in the allotted time allowed, however I had to use my time well. My first strategy was to do a little research every day so that I did not procrastinate and find myself overwhelmed with the amount of work due. My second strategy was to set goals for myself each day as well as goals for the end of the week. Therefore I could stay on track and finish my project on time. However I also allowed myself one day off in order to prevent myself from being burnt out. Not only did this day off help myself from burning out it also allowed for an extra day to do work if I fell behind.

            So far I am very proud that I completed my first literature review, however I am extremely nervous to present my project in front of a room full of people. In order to relieve anxiety I have started working on what I would like to say and I plan on practicing quite a bit to help with my nerves.


During my reading of The Leadership Challenge I found that I struggle with enlisting others in my vision. Inspiring a shared vision is very important in enlisting other to follow because in order for others to follow you, they need to believe in the same vision. I find that I struggle with this task because I have trouble communicating my vision and making it relevant to others around me. While writing my proposal for this program I had someone ask me, why is a literature review on brain stimulation for aphasia important. I found that I had a hard time answering this question. In order for me to improve on inspiring a shared vision I must be able to answer this specific question and make my vision relevant to others as well. So far this program has offered a lot of writing workshops that help us develop ideas as well as our writing. I found that having a peer who is not in my major peer review my work helps me make my writing more assessable to others in my field. I found that if they can understand what I am talking about then my writing and ideas will be clear to everyone in my field as well. In all I am working on my writing skills in order to convey my vision concisely. As far as making my vision relevant to others I found that I need to learn who my audience is and learn what is important to my audience as well.

Laredo Taft

During our retreat at Laredo Taft the one thing that stood out to me was our peer review work shop. Peer review can be very nerve wracking, for the fact that someone you are not familiar with is reviewing all the hard work you have been doing. Of course you do not want your peers to hate your work or tell you that everything you have been doing wasn’t any good! Thus I was extremely nervous to hand over my paper and have someone else comment on it. Thankfully I got through it and in all the peer review process was a positive experience, but the peer review workshop not only helped my writing but the workshop also taught me what is valuable in a good leader.

            The positive experience that I received was all do to the fact that everyone was kind and helpful when they were peer reviewing my paper and thus they made me feel comfortable handing over all my work. Being kind and helpful I feel is essential to being a good leader. These qualities allow people to feel comfortable around you and therefore people feel like they can trust you to lead them in the right path. In all the retreat made me realize how important being kind and helpful is and I will defiantly applying the lesson I learned at Laredo Taft in my daily life.



          Aphasia is the inability to produce or comprehend language due to a stroke or a brain injury and therefore this neurological disorder disrupts the daily activities that require language. Individuals who have aphasia seek speech therapy, but speech therapy is a slow and long process. Currently 1 million individuals are currently living with aphasia and according to the current growth in the population this figure is going to double. Therefore it is vital that the process of recovery is speed up therefore individuals can proceed with their life as well as contribute to society. Recently a renewed interest in brain stimulation has occurred and promising results from studies have shown that brain stimulation could potentially help jump start recovery for aphasia. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a type of brain stimulation that has already been FDA approved for the treatment of major depression. Therefore using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is completely safe and painless.

            For my project I am writing a critical literature review on brain stimulation such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as well as Transcarnial direct current stimulation. My literature review will be providing further rationale for brain stimulation, explaining in depth how brain stimulation works and the theory behind brain stimulation for the treatment of aphasia as well as explaining TMS and tCDS in depth and how these techniques affect the brain. Providing better understanding of brain stimulation will in theory provide more evidence for a large scale study and therefore prove the efficacy of brain stimulation and essentially help aphasic patients recover more efficiently.

            One of the sources I am using is a scientific article from 2010 by Cherney called Epidural cortical stimulation as adjunctive treatment for non-fluent aphasia: preliminary findings. This article is fairly current and was published by a well-known journal called Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry. The main author Cherney is also very well respected in the field of speech pathology as well. Cherney’s study used epidural cortical stimulation in combination with intensive speech-language therapy for treatment of aphasia in non-fluent aphasic patients. 8 patients with non-fluent aphasia received intensive behavioral therapy for 3 hours daily for 6 weeks and four of these patients underwent functional MRI guided surgical implantation of epidural stimulation. The four participants who underwent the surgery showed an Aphasia Quotient change of 8.0 post therapy and at the six week follow up and an aphasia quotient of 12.3 at the 12 week follow up. The control group had an aphasia quotient of 4.6, 5.5 and 3.6.This study is very useful for my critical literature review because it offers further rationale for brain stimulation due to the positive findings the study produced. This study also brought a new idea to the forefront for me ant that is invasive brain stimulation. I essentially wonder why one would use invasive instead of noninvasive. I would assume that invasive brain stimulation would allow for more accuracy in stimulating a specific part of the brain. This study has impacted my research significantly. Now my research is also incorporating research for invasive as well as research for noninvasive brain stimulation.

            This article offers many strengths that allow the article to be credible. First of all this research used a control group in order to ensure credibility as well as offered several follow ups in order to accurately depict the participant’s growth in language. One possible weakness that I see is that there are only 8 participants partaking in this study. In all, this source is very reliable as well as helpful for my research.


Ethics are a set of morals that one follows in their particular field as well as in their everyday life. Ethics are extremely important they help use navigate between right and wrong. In every field one is faced with an issue and we have to be able to understand what is right as well as do what is correct. In speech pathology we are often doing research either by looking at scientific journals or conducting speech therapy on participants. It is very important when looking at scientific journals that we are including every fact that is important in order not to skew results in our favor. Unfortunately this does happen. Some people leave out important facts in order to prove their theory. It is also important to make sure that participants are not being harmed in any research as well. Therefore every research project is taken before the IRB board in order to ensure safety for participants. This is extremely important due to the fact that essentially all the participants that would be involved in research will have aphasia or in other words the participants will have brain damage. This makes research difficult because one must make sure that each participant understands what they are agreeing to as well.

            In my particular research I will not be working with any participants therefore I will be reviewing multiple scientific journals in order to formulate a conclusion about TMS and tDCS treatment for aphasia. Therefore I need to include every important fact that I find in order to develop an unbiased conclusion. In the future if I do end up working with participants I will need to make sure that my research would not harm any person. I also need to make sure that each participant understands what my research involves as well.


I was extremely excited to be a part of the etiquette training and dinner because I am from a humble background therefore I have never been to a formal dinner before and I thought it would be extremely helpful to know how to use the different utensils for dinner, as well as relieve some anxiety about having dinner and lunch with some very important donors of NIU. Liz Bockman was extremely helpful with answering my questions about how to eat a formal dinner as well as how to dress for a business event, like the dinner. I was very unaware of some of the etiquette behind dressing in the business world. I had no idea that during the day women should wear nude panty hose and black for the evening. Liz also gave us some very useful stats about first impressions. According to Liz at twelve feet someone already knows if they want to get to know you, therefore first impressions are extremely important.
Unfortunately, the actual etiquette dinner with the alumni was very nerve racking for me. I was very nervous to meet the alumni because I did not know what to expect. I didn’t know if they would be friendly and I was unsure of what to talk about with them as well. Fortunately the alumni that were at the dinner were extremely nice and they were very laid back. This made me feel more relaxed and I felt I was able to ask questions about how to talk to others at a business lunch. I know for a fact that this etiquette class will help me with interviews in the future as well as help me represent the hospital that I work at in the future after my graduate program. I also feel more confident talking with alumni and now I look forward to talking to the alumni instead of feeling nervous.
I am very grateful for the alumni for being helpful and having the etiquette dinner with us so we could practice our new skills. Liz Bockman was very helpful as well I learned quite a bit about introductions as well as how to dress and how to act at certain social gatherings for business. I am also very grateful for the McKearn’s providing this experience as well as the McKearn staff for organizing this activity. I know for a fact that this etiquette class will help with interviews in the future as well as help me represent the hospital that I work at in the future after my graduate program.