"The brain can reveal things that aren't necessarily visible on the surface," she says. "It can tell you things about what's going wrong that you can't find out by giving a kid a test or asking him to read out loud."
Laszlo, who joined Binghamton's psychology department in 2011, recently received a five-year, $400,763 grant from the National Science Foundation's Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, the agency's most prestigious award for young researchers. The funding will enable her to conduct a five-year brain activity study of 150 children with and without dyslexia.
Rather than lumping all children with dyslexia into one group, as many previous brain-imaging studies have done, Laszlo's project will help to establish types and degrees of the disorder.
Her lab uses electroencephalography, or EEG, as a non-invasive way to measure the electrical signals sent between brain cells when they're communicating with each other. Study participants — kids in kindergarten through fourth grade — wear a cap outfitted with special sensors while playing a computerized reading game.
These scans produce massive amounts of data: The cap's 10 sensors collect readings 500 times per second for 45 minutes. That's one reason that brain activity studies are expensive and time-consuming. It's also the reason that a study of just 150 children is the largest study of its kind.
Kara Federmeier, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, says it's not just the scale of the study that's impressive; it's also the project's duration. "Sarah will be able to assess how the brain transitions from immature reading processes to mature reading processes," Federmeier says. "Her project promises to provide important, novel data that may be critical for informing educational practices about teaching reading and clinical practices for assessing reading-related difficulties."
Why study this disorder in particular? Laszlo notes that there are significant, sometimes lifelong consequences of growing up with dyslexia. Many dyslexic children don't do as well in school as they might otherwise, which limits their career opportunities. Some also encounter social problems. "This has the potential to help a lot of people," she says.
Laszlo hopes to identify the brain signatures of people with dyslexia and have a clear idea of how to help them. "Once you understand what's going on in the brain," she says, "you can do a better job of designing treatments."
Today, the best-case scenario is that children with dyslexia receive interventions that enable them to get up to speed on reading aloud. But they may continue to lag behind their peers when it comes to comprehension, fluency and speed.
"The treatments we have now don't always fix the underlying problem," Laszlo says. "They just put a Band-Aid on it. And when you go to do more complicated things, like reading larger passages, the Band-Aid doesn't help."
NYS agency chief to speak at 27th annual Briloff Lecture
By Steve Seepersaud
Lawsky led Gov. Andrew Cuomo's initiative to make the Department of Financial Services, which includes the former New York State Banking and Insurance departments, into a modern, unified financial regulator. As superintendent, Lawsky is the supervisor of all insurance companies in the state, all New York state-chartered depository institutions and the majority of United States-based branches and agencies of foreign banking institutions. Recently, Lawsky was in the news for investigating conflicts of interest among bank consulting firms and exposing the practice of setting up shadow-insurance transactions by New York-based firms.
The annual lecture series is named in honor of Abraham J. Briloff, the Presidential Professor of Accounting and Ethics at Binghamton University and Emanuel Saxe Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Bernard Baruch College. Over his long and distinguished career, Briloff has been recognized as the ethical conscience of the accounting profession and was awarded the University Medal for his contributions to the field.
The School of Management sponsors the Briloff lecture series, which brings the accounting, business and campus communities together to contemplate topics of business ethics. For more information, contact Debbie Standard at email@example.com or 607-777-2314.
In pursuit of a career and a connection
By Ashley Smith
Speed networking, a spin off of speed dating, allows students to have one-on-one contact with industry professionals and develop their conversational ability and interviewing skills in a low-risk environment. The February event hosted 40 students and 40 industry professionals from 12 different companies including Raymond, Lockheed Martin, NYSEG and BAE.
This networking event, along with numerous other outreach efforts by the Watson School's Office of Career and Alumni Connections, helps create a strong community network for the Watson School's 2,700 students, 10,000-plus alumni and numerous industry partners.
"As a student I attended almost every event that featured an alumni presence, because I was eager to learn as much as I could," says Assad Tabatabaie '10, MS '12, plumbing and fire protection engineer for Syska Hennessy Group. "I had so many questions but so little time to find answers."
With the shoe squarely on the other foot, he has taken part as an alumnus in events such as the New York City Metro Career Fair to give current students the same opportunities he had — or better. "Having been there myself, I know how eager students are to learn from people who have walked the same path. I would like to go one step further, though, and also provide them what I may not have had available to me that I would have found helpful."
Syska is an international engineering consulting firm, and its New York city office alone includes six Binghamton alumni — five Watson and one School of Management — and a summer intern. "Alumni networking brought all of us here," says Tabatabaie.
The Watson Career Services office also provides services in extension of the Career Development Center, including tailored guidance for résumé and cover letter writing and interview preparation.
As a junior, mechanical engineering student Sharon Aluma saw career services director Denise (Liburdi) Lorenzetti '94, MBA '97, speak at a workshop about networking and résumé writing. But it was an individual consultation that she found was a refreshing reality check. "Everyone I consulted before said my résumé looked great. This was the first time someone was straight with me. Denise and the student assistants had me move things around, expand bullets and quantify my results," says Aluma. Lorenzetti also reassured Aluma about her GPA, which Aluma worried was unimpressive. "Including it, [Lorenzetti] said, shows that there's room for improvement. Leaving it off will let a potential employer think the worst."
"Academically, our engineering and computer science students are maxed out," says Lorenzetti. "Therefore, the professional skills — networking, résumé writing, interviewing, organizing a job search — come in on the back burner when they're seniors, and that's too late. Their curricula are difficult, their coursework demands are high, but it's critical for the students to start their career planning early and obtain the professional skills needed to land a job once they obtain their degree."
Reuther certified as healthcare simulation educator
From staff reports
Reuther is coordinator of Decker's Innovative Practice Center. Prior to her current role, she was a clinical instructor for Binghamton University. Her specialties are neonatal, pediatric and obstetrical nursing. Her clinical practice included more than 15 years of hospital nursing in neonatal nursing, maternal/newborn nursing and coronary intensive care nursing.
CCPA doctoral program kicks off
By Katie Ellis
"Children, new programs, new semesters, the beginning of the academic year, new students on campus and a brand-new program are exciting," Stenger said. "And when we have something new, we have expectations for them. I'm going to set high expectations for you, because I know you will achieve them," speaking to the room filled with faculty, guests and the students enrolled in the new program.
Stenger said new programs are vital for Binghamton University to become better as it grows and follows the Road Map to Premier. "It's partly your job to get us there by adding new programs like this one that are attractive to students," he said. "This one will fill a need for our undergraduate students who graduate with the finest liberal arts education in the country, but don't know what to do next. This is the kind of program that will allow that kind of pipeline for our students to stay on campus.
"Certainly, you are in a niche field and have the ability to define your field and what is the best in the interdisciplinary PhD program, starting today," he said.
The program began taking shape seven years ago, said College of Community and Public Affairs Interim Dean Laura Bronstein, recalling a conversation with then-dean Patricia Ingraham.
"It was not just an idle conversation. It was really the beginning of the process of development of this program," she said. "I'm a firm believer that when there's collaboration across programs, products are usually better. But it takes a lot of time and lots of discussion − and good faith arguing − and we've come to a really excellent and interdisciplinary program.
"Having these discussions over so many years has brought us together as a college to really knowing where we are different and similar, and where we complement each other."
Josephine Allen, professor of social work and director of the new program, was the "cat herder," according to Bronstein.
Allen said the program was crafted to be truly interdisciplinary, reaching out to other parts of the University to find collaborators for the really important issues that lie ahead. "We will prepare graduates to enter a community of scholars who can conduct rigorous research, advance knowledge and theories and design theoretically sound and effective programs and interventions that engage issues of diversity, social justice and power, and find different ways to facilitate the empowering of community and individuals who live in those communities," she said.
Don Nieman, executive vice president and provost, said the demand for the program is evident. "Six months ago, we talked about starting the program in fall 2014, but we decided to kick off this fall and clearly, with 10 students entering on short notice, the demand is there.
"This program is going to be really good for CCPA," Nieman added. "It is a way to bring people together across disciplines who share a lot in the value of scholarship and who work at a high level intellectually. One of our highest priorities is expanding our portfolio of programs and increasing graduate enrollment, and creating top-quality graduate programs like this is critical to meeting that priority."
McConn joins GSE faculty this fall
From staff reports
McConn, from Houston, received his bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and his MEd and EdD in English education from the University of Houston.
He has taught high school English and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston.
McConn earned a 2010 Fund For Teachers Grant for retracing Ernest Hemingway's 1933 safari in Africa as part of a learning experience for classroom teaching. He also has been published in the Journal of Urban Education.
He enjoys black coffee, the Grateful Dead, instrumental jazz from the '50s and '60s, reading good character-driven stories and argumentative nonfiction on politics and education.Back to top