Undergraduate Research and Creativity Alumni Profiles 

Hayley Payne, B.S. '15

Speech-Language Pathologist, Mary Cariola
Major(s): Speech-Language Pathology, Psychology

What research or work have you done since graduating from Buffalo State?

Since graduating from Buffalo State, I earned my master's in communicative disorders and sciences from the University at Buffalo. After graduating from UB, I began my career in speech-language pathology at Mary Cariola Children’s Center in Rochester.

Can you translate your work for the general public?

As a speech-language pathologist at Mary Cariola, I work with children with disabilities on their speech, expressive and receptive language, and social-pragmatic skills. I help children communicate. This does not always look like verbal speech. Many of the students I work with communicate by using AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). This can vary from a switch with a preprogramed message, to a tablet with a communication software that a child uses their eyes to navigate.

Why did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

I knew I wanted my college experience to be larger than what I could learn in the classroom. I know that I learned best through hands-on experiences, outside of what can be taught in a classroom and analyzed through tests or papers. I wanted to further my education at Buffalo State and research was the best way for me to get more out of my college experience.

How did your undergraduate research experience influence your career path?

It is crucial that the therapy and methods that I use with the students at my school are research- and evidence- based. Partaking in undergraduate research has given me the tools to analyze studies and determine the effectiveness of the treatment. I also gained the skills needed to present my findings to groups of people in a way that they can understand. This has helped me in my career to explain my therapy treatment and students’ progress with their classroom staff and family members.

Describe the research you did and if you presented it at any professional conference, juried art exhibit, or other off-campus location.

The research I did at Buffalo State involved working memory in typically developing adolescents. Working memory is a theoretical construct that allows new information to be temporarily stored and manipulated. Working memory is important for completing tasks that require comprehension of new information. A good working memory is essential for adolescents to be successful academically, as it helps in processing and recalling newly presented information, such as in a class lecture or reading a book. The testing materials I used to assess how typically developing adolescents performed on working memory tasks were test of cognitive ability that are often used in my field to assess children’s language skills. I presented my findings at Buffalo State conferences as well as at the inaugural SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference.

Undergraduate Research Mentor: Dr. Constance Dean Qualls