By JACKIE HAUSLER
Published September 1, 2023
Nichol Castro, assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, and director of the Adult Language Network Lab, will receive the Award for Early Career Contributions in Research from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
According to ASHA, the award is designed to recognize and “acknowledge significant scientific accomplishments to individuals within five years of completing their doctoral degree, other terminal degrees, or post-doctoral training.”
Castro’s research focuses on word retrieval in aging adults and adults with language impairments — like aphasia and dementia — with a particular focus on how words are organized in memory. Her research uses both behavioral studies and computational modeling.
In addition to her numerous peer-reviewed publications and grant submissions, Castro’s mentor and nominator, Diane L. Kendall, professor emerita in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington, cited her “creative and innovative nature of work that is unique to the field of aphasia research that, through the course of her career, will continue to propel clinical aphasiology science forward in significant ways.”
“As cognitive scientist and gerontologist by training, I’m someone who comes from ‘outside’ the field of communication sciences and disorders,” Castro explains. “So this award is monumental for demonstrating not just the importance of my research program in the field, but the importance of transdisciplinary work more broadly with the goal to improve people’s quality of life.”
Castro will receive the award at a ceremony in November during the 2023 Annual Convention in Boston.
“This esteemed accolade recognizes individuals who have made remarkable scientific achievements,” says Bo-Hua Hu, chair and associate professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences. “Nichol’s dedication and significant contributions to the field of speech-language pathology have led her to be recognized with this honor.”
Castro joined the UB faculty in 2020. Prior to that, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cognitive aging at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical aphasiology at the University of Washington. She earned a BA in psychology, with honors, from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and completed a dual-title PhD in psychology and gerontology from the University of Kansas.