Janice Light to Receive Faculty Scholar Medal for 2008

March 20, 2008

image of Janice Light

Janice Light, distinguished professor of communication sciences and disorders, has been selected to receive one of four 2008 Faculty Scholar Medals for Outstanding Achievement. Light will receive the social and behavioral sciences medal; Lisa Bontrager, professor of music, the arts and humanities medal; Keith Cheng, professor of pathology, the life and health sciences medal; and Nitin Samarth, professor of physics, the physical sciences medal.

Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.

Light has conducted unique interdisciplinary work in the field of augmentative and alternative communication, which aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with severe communication disabilities and who are unable to use speech to communicate. These individuals include children and adults with cerebral palsy, mental retardation or autism; people with stroke or traumatic brain injuries; and those with degenerative neurological disorders i.e. multiple sclerosis.

She has studied the design of technology for increasing the effectiveness of communication, the role and training of partners in communication, and the icons and picture symbols used to represent language concepts in AAC systems. Her research has produced some of the most important changes in the lives of people with disabilities and their families in the past 25 years. Light has earned B.A., Carleton University, B.Ed., University of Ottawa, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toronto.

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Editors: For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at (814) 865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.