James Madison University

Faculty Profile: Dr. Stacey Pavelko

By: Dina Manco
Posted: April 6, 2015

PHOTO:Dr. Stacey Pavelko

As an undergraduate, Dr. Stacey Pavelko majored in English at Youngstown State University, but it was her linguistics minor that ignited her interest in language development. When she went on to pursue a master’s degree in Linguistics at Purdue University, she met a number of professors in the field of Speech Language Pathology.  They influenced the trajectory of her future career.

From Ohio to Indiana, then Pennsylvania and Florida, Pavelko traveled extensively in her pursuit of higher education. After completing clinical training for her clinical certification in speech-language pathology at the University of Pittsburgh, she completed her doctorate in Education, CSD track, at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Pavelko maintained a full work load once she completed her schooling: speech-language pathologist by day, part-time professor by night. For three years, she worked as a speech-language pathologist with elementary school children and taught college-level courses at Broward College before eventually landing at James Madison University in 2011.

Pavelko says that the balance of excellence in teaching and research were the primary reasons she chose JMU.  She joined the CSD department as an assistant professor and the Director of Clinical Education, where she oversees the Speech Language Hearing Applied Laboratory, a clinical training facility for undergraduate and graduate students

In addition to overseeing clinical training, Pavelko continues to pursue her passion for research.  Pavelko has received a teaching grant from JMU’s College of Health and Behavioral Studies as well as three consecutive grants from the VA Department of Education. She was recently published in Contemporary Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Pavelko says,“The department has been very supportive of my research. They’ve helped me make contacts and introduce me to people who are interested in similar things.”

Currently, Pavelko is collecting data for two studies. The first is focusing on children with language disorders. “For our young preschoolers who have spoken language deficits – we don’t know if they develop written language at the same level as their peers,” Pavelko explains. The study is analyzing how these preschoolers ages 4 and 5 develop their writing skills.

The second study is in collaboration with Dr. Robert Owens from the College of Saint Rose in New York. The study, which involves over 300 children between the ages of 3-8, is focused on developing methods to make language sample analysis more time efficient.  Pavelko says, “[This research] is something that might change practices in the field for the better. It has the potential to make a big impact.”  She hopes to publish her findings.

Pavelko’s work with JMU students is also noteworthy. In addition to teaching a number of graduate and undergraduate courses, Pavelko serves as an honors thesis adviser for undergraduate CSD senior Darielle Cooper. Cooper comments, “Dr. P has been extremely supportive through her partnership with me to help further my education and understand a specialized topic in our field. She does a great job of clearly laying out the instructions, the purpose, and the goals of whatever task it is that needs to be done.” She adds, “This helps me grasp the big picture and allows me to keep the objectives in mind along the way. I also appreciate the freedom and trust that she gives me.”

Pavelko strongly impacts the learning of her students. Cooper says she will incorporate Pavelko’s strategies and qualities into her future work as a professional. “It is clear that Dr. P is passionate about what she does. To have a professor, mentor, or advisor who loves what they do and who wishes to share their knowledge with students, is not something to be taken for granted,” Cooper remarks.