'The PhD programme at UC is one of the premier programmes in the Asia-Pacific region for the field...'
PhD in Speech and Language Sciences
Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University, USA
Having taken up the post of Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University, Ramesh looks back with pride at his time at UC, where he gained his PhD.
‘The PhD programme in Speech and Language Sciences at UC is one of the premier programmes in the Asia-Pacific region for the field of communication disorders,’ he says.
‘Completing a PhD requires dedication and perseverance, and devotion of time, but at the end I would say it is worth it – and the opportunities are plentiful.’
Ramesh’s research investigated Motor Speech Disorders, which occur when there are abnormalities of the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system. These can often be improved with the application of Principles of Motor Learning (PMLs), and Ramesh looked at the efficacy of four PMLs in learning novel speech skills among patients with Parkinson’s disease. He hopes the research might be used to develop evidence-based protocols for speech therapy.
‘I enjoy the fact that my field is clinically orientated, and the research I do can be applied in clinical settings. I direct the Motor Speech Lab in the Department of Communication Sciences at Oklahoma State University, most of the research in this lab aims at investigating how healthy individuals as well as clinical population learn/re-learn new speech skills’.
Meanwhile, a typical day as Assistant Professor involves ‘teaching one or two courses, attending meetings related to my department or college and overseeing research projects.’ Ramesh has also assumed the role of interim program director in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Oklahoma State University.
Ramesh has been recently awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award for his contributions to teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University. While at UC, he won the Research Excellence Award from the New Zealand Speech Therapists’ Association.
As an international student, Ramesh says he found studying at UC an enjoyable experience. Ramesh’s wife, Roha, is also a Speech Language Pathologist and holds a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. The couple got married soon after Ramesh had finished his PhD at UC, and relocated to USA. They are keen table tennis and badminton players, and they also love to travel and explore new places.
‘I enjoyed being close to so much scenic beauty while in Christchurch, and the University’s location within the city proved ideal for my lifestyle.
‘The people of New Zealand, and at UC, are very friendly and warm. The resources available at the University, the support from organisations like the Postgraduate Students’ Association, and all the social events made my study at the UC very stimulating and enjoyable.’
‘I had a fabulous supervisory team – Professor Michael Robb, Dr. Maggie Lee Huckabee, and Professor Richard Jones – who always made sure that I was on the right track, and I am very thankful to them for supporting me throughout. I would definitely recommend UC to someone who is planning to pursue a PhD.’