STEM Shoutout: Dr. Amy Neel

Speech and hearing professor studies how bilingual adults with Parkinson’s communicate

Dr. Amy Neel, an associate professor of speech and hearing sciences at UNM, is working with Dr. Alison Behrman at Lehman College/City University of New York in order to help improve listener understanding of bilingual adults with Parkinson disease. Neel’s research is the subaward of a $50,000 Clinical Research Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation in 2017.

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder characterized by slow movements, stiffness, tremor, and balance problems as well as impaired speaking ability. Neel’s work focuses on analyzing the effect of clear speech on listener perception of vowels produced by monolingual and Spanish-accented healthy speakers.

“The best thing about this project is that I have been able to involve several undergraduate and graduate students in acoustic analysis of vowels, allowing them to apply material they have learned in their speech and hearing science classes to a real-world project with clinical implications,” she said.