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USD Students Recognized at National Hearing Detection and Intervention Conference

EHDI Poster Award Kiersten Meyer (left) and Megan Wegher (right) were recognized for the best student poster at the recent Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Meeting and Conference.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Megan Wegher and Kiersten Meyer, students in the University of South Dakota’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, were recognized for presenting the best student poster at the 16th Annual Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Meeting, held February 27 – March 1 in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 1,000 students and health professionals from across the United States attended the conference.

Wegher’s and Meyer’s poster described their work with focus groups from throughout South Dakota, including parents of children with significant hearing loss. The two students explained obstacles and barriers encountered by parents in South Dakota with hearing-challenged children, as well as information about newborn hearing screenings. They also identified how early hearing detection and intervention in the state can be improved.

Their work was supported by a grant from South Dakota Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Department of Health, the USD Nursing Department and the USD Communication Sciences and Disorders Department.

“We are so proud of our students. They did an outstanding job organizing the focus groups and collecting data working with parents across the state of South Dakota, and representing USD and the South Dakota EHDI Collaborative at the conference,” said Haifa AbouSamra of USD’s nursing school and Jessica Messersmith of USD’s communication sciences and disorders department, who both served as mentors.

Megan Wegher is from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and is a graduate of Sergeant Bluff - Luton High School. Wegher, a former All-American track and field athlete for USD, earned a B.S. in Communications Sciences and Disorders. She is now a graduate student in the Audiology program at USD. Kiersten Meyer, from Canton, South Dakota, is a graduate of Canton High School. She also earned a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from USD, and is now a Speech Language Pathologist graduate student at USD.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.