Get Involved

Are you looking for experience working in a research lab? An independent study project? An MA thesis topic? Or perhaps even a dissertation topic?  The following are a few areas that I am strongly interested in.  I would be happy to supervise independent study, MA theses, or doctoral dissertations in these areas (and am available to discuss them for term papers, etc.)

  • Voice Disorders
  • Occupational Voice Risks
  • Aging Voice
  • Biomechanical Modeling
  • Research Recording Techniques

I believe the most effective scientific and health education also gives students opportunities to participate in mentored projects to reinforce their classroom experiences. Therefore, I regularly offer students the opportunity to explore those ideas in my laboratory. In mentoring, I try to provide experience with inter-disciplinary collaborations and research team dynamics. My students are also guided in creating an end product—either a publication or a conference presentation (or both).

Explore the larger funded research we are currently working on in V-BAL, as well as current and past student-led projects (described below). And feel free to contact me at ejhunter (the @ sign) msu ( . ) edu, so we can discuss your research interests.

Current Projects

  • Vocal Fatigue in Teachers (Survey)
    Research Personnel: Russ Banks, Lauren Glowski, Collin Potter
    Summary: Research has found that teachers are at a higher risk for short- and long-term voice problems and disorders. This research hopes to find which grade level’s teachers are the most at risk for voice problems. To do this, surveys/questionnaires are being issued to teachers from at least two school districts in the state of Michigan in grades K-12.
  • The Effects of Social Stress on Voice Properties
    Research Personnel: Callan Gavigan, Emily Wilson, Laney Roehl
    Summary: The primary purpose of this study is to test the effects of social stress on acoustic vocal properties such as fundamental frequency, breathing rate, long term average spectrum, articulatory rate, intensity, and kestrel peak prominence. Participants will be stressed in the laboratory setting, and recorded and observed as they speak. We hypothesize that the presence of other people will yield significant stress, and thus, significant changes in these acoustic properties of the voice, compared to an unstressed condition. These characteristics all affect the overall intelligibility of speech, thus testing the effects that social stress can produce on them could have future implications for social interactions and treatment of communication disorders.

Previous Projects

  • “The Effect of Social Stress on Disfluency and Fundamental Frequency in Speech.”
    Student Researcher: Allison Woodberg
    Summary: The primary purpose of this study is to test the effects of social stress on acoustic vocal properties such as fundamental frequency, breathing rate, long term average spectrum, articulatory rate, intensity, and kestrel peak prominence. Participants will be stressed in the laboratory setting, and recorded and observed as they speak. We hypothesize that the presence of other people will yield significant stress, and thus, significant changes in these acoustic properties of the voice, compared to an unstressed condition. These characteristics all affect the overall intelligibility of speech, thus testing the effects that social stress can produce on them could have future implications for social interactions and treatment of communication disorders.
  • “The Effect of Classroom Amplification Systems on Teachers’ Perceived Voice Issues.”
    Student Researchers: Lauren Glowski, Russell Banks
    Summary: Using a survey, we explore the differences in symptoms of Vocal Fatigue between teachers who have access to microphones and those who do not. Grade level, type of classroom and subjects taught by the teachers are taken into account.
  • “Griffin Electronics VocaLog Beta Testing”
    Student Researcher: Alyssa Webster
    Summary: This study tests the accuracy and user reliability of a sound pressure level meter collar developed by Griffin Laboratories. This device was measured relative to both a competitor’s device and different trials by the same user. In this way, the study will be able to make judgments about the device’s reliability in both a laboratory and “realistic” setting.
  • “Daily Acoustic Variability in Speech (DAVIS)”
    Student Researcher: Helen Hou, Andrew Lee
    Summary: Acoustic metrics of voice and speech production are common in fields such as Linguistics, Communication Disorders, Acoustic Forensics, and Telecommunications. Within these fields, understanding the normal variations of voice is needed. The primary purpose of this study is to observe differences in voice between morning and afternoon. Each participant was recorded a total of six times, a morning and an afternoon recording each day for three days spaced within two weeks. Recordings were made with both a microphone (for acoustic sounds) and an accelerometer on the neck (for voice only vibrations) while the participant completed a series of speaking tasks.
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