PACE Linguistics Students to Co-author Paper

Macquarie University Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) students Chloe Vella and Isabella Moloney recently spoke at a Partner Activity Workshop about their placement at the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), supervised by Dr Jorge Mejia. Chloe and Isabella were among six Linguistics (LING288) students who completed research projects at NAL on their PACE placement in 2017. PACE provides a unique opportunity for Macquarie University undergraduate students to undertake a work placement to explore the world of work and to ‘road-test’ their career before graduating. For Chloe and Isabella, their placement has led to further opportunities.

The PACE students joined a NAL research group to investigate behavioural and electrophysiological factors relating to speech communication in real-world conditions. Chloe’s research observed whether increasing the cognitive demands of the listener would affect the person’s ability to comprehend speech in an interaction; while Isabella conducted research in how an individual’s preferences for hearing speech in noisy environments changes when they are exposed to male or female voices, higher signal to noise ratio and diffuse sounds recordings in a controlled environment.

Both experiments found significant evidence and the students were encouraged by Dr Mejia to take their findings further, inviting them to co-author a paper. They are currently editing a paper that they hope will be presented at the International Hearing Aid Research Conference at Lake Tahoe, California in August 2018 http://ihcon.org/

Dr Mejia’s supervision was crucial to the success of the PACE placement. Isabella said Dr Mejia “took the time to really break down every part of a study and let us have ownership of our individual experiment from start to finish”, while Chloe noted that we “were guided by our supervisor to open our eyes to see why performing these experiments can have a great impact in the way we design and create new technology.”

Of his general experience hosting PACE students, Dr Mejia has found the students to be very positive, productive and pleasant. Chloe and Isabella’s participation in particular “was to the highest standard” and Dr Mejia has said that they merit being co-authors for publications, talks and lectures arising from this research.

The inclusion of PACE students at the NAL has made an active contribution to the research being conducted and for the PACE students it has given them “a new appreciation for the field and all the work that goes into creating better hearing solutions.”

For more information about how a PACE student may be able to assist you in your research or workplace, please contact Linda Barach, Faculty PACE Manager, on 9850 7907 or pace.humansciences@mq.edu.au Or visit Partnering With PACE