LSVT Global Team Member Spotlight! Geralyn Schulz Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Geralyn Schulz, Ph.D., CCC-SLP: LSVT Grant Coordinator, LSVT Global


What do you do?

Grant Coordinator of LSVT Global and research collaborator.

Being the Grant Coordinator for LSVT Global has been a marvelous journey for me. The LSVT Student Grant Program for graduate student in Speech Language Pathology (SLP), Physical Therapy (PT), and Occupational Therapy (OT) who engage in Treatment Studies with Neurologically Impaired Adult and/or Pediatric Patients, was the inspired idea of Dr.’s Ramig and Fox to seed future researchers and empower their passion and life-long pursuit of treatment research. They conceived the idea back in 2014 and asked me to be the grant coordinator, as that was one of my duties as the Associate Dean for Research at the George Washington University. Together we developed the call for proposals and established criteria and standards for reviewing, and evaluating the submitted student research projects. Discipline specific review panels evaluate the technical and scientific merit of these student grant applications. Based on the scoring of each submission, funding decisions are made.

Since the inception of this grant program, we have all been impressed with the diverse topics and strong research designs of our recipients. LSVT Global has awarded 38 $1500 student grants to date. The results of these treatment research projects have been presented at national conferences and published in disciplinary journals. It has been an honor to be a part of such an inspirational program.

In addition to my role in the LSVT Student Grant Program, I also collaborate on research projects, publications and presentations related to LSVT LOUD treatment efficacy.

How long have you been with LSVT Global?

I have been the Grant Coordinator for LSVT Global Student Grant Program since 2014.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my work with the LSVT Global Student Grant program is knowing that there are so many interesting behavioral research projects that graduate students are engaged in undertaking. And I have great pride in knowing that I have been integral to ensuring that future generations of behavioral researchers are being supported.

As a research collaborator with LSVT Global, I love digging through, analyzing, and organizing data to answer substantive questions about the efficacy of LSVT LOUD treatment. I’ve been honored to present results of intelligibility data to physicians, therapists, and most importantly to patients with Parkinson’s disease. As a speech therapist who has delivered LSVT LOUD treatment, I know from experience that this treatment empowers those with PD. Being involved in research comparing treatment techniques that validates my own clinical experience is truly a privilege.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I have been interested in how it is that when we talk to one another we get this insight into the other person. My guiding question has always been, How does the brain enable the most human of all attributes, the ability to communicate?

As an undergrad student at the University of Wisconsin (Green Bay) I studied linguistics and math and my first aspiration was to become the next Noam Chomsky (famous linguist who invented a mathematical-like way to describe language, transformational grammar). To further that aspiration, I went to the University of New York (Buffalo). While there, I began to think transformational grammar was an elegant way to describe language but that it was not the way that the brain enabled communication. Lucky for me, I had a mentor that encouraged me to take courses in the Communication Disorders department. I had never really heard of Speech Pathology but after taking several courses I soon realized that I could research how the brain enables communication and be gainfully employed! What a revelation. I moved to Maryland, getting certified as a SLP while on the road to getting my PhD at the University of Maryland. In addition to being a teaching assistant I also worked as a research assistant at the National Institutes of Health, Voice and Speech Lab for 13 years. It was through this experience that I first learned about and participated in research on the speech of people with Parkinson’s disease (and other motor speech disorders) and through this work, met Dr. Ramig.

I worked for 5 years at the University of Florida (Gainesville) after attaining my PhD. While there, I was involved in an investigation of the neuro-surgical treatment, pallidotomy for PD. I concluded, from the research I completed there that although this medical treatment did improve the movement ability of almost all patients and did the speech of some patients with PD, it was not an overall effective treatment that improved the ability to communicate.

I then moved back to the Washington DC area to become the Chair of the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the George Washington University (GWU). In addition, I was also the Associate Dean for Research for the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Director of Graduate Studies. During these administrative roles, I collaborated with my former colleagues at NIH on research designed to evaluate the effects of deep brain surgery (DBS) on speech and non-speech movement tasks. This research led to the same conclusion as the pallidotomy research; i.e., that DBS is very effective for improving non-speech motor but not an overall effective treatment that improved the ability to communicate.

Throughout my career I have enjoyed traveling to national and international conferences where I have met the most inspirational clinical researchers who have inspired me and who have become close friends. I have also found inspiration from and been challenged by the students I have taught and from the patients I have treated.

I recently retired from GWU to start new adventures in North Carolina where I plan on being my 6 year old granddaughter’s after school adventure buddy. I also plan on continuing to travel and explore with my wife, and, of course, to work with LSVT Global.

Here are some pictures of my favorite people and my beloved pets.

Favorite quote, food, or pastime:

Favorite Quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” -Aristotle.

Favorite (comfort) foods: mac and cheese, lasagna, chocolate

Favorite pastimes: traveling adventures, creating fun with those I love

“When LSVT Global had the vision of offering student treatment research grants, we knew we needed help to advance a systematic and unbiased process for review. Dr. Schulz was the perfect solution! She has been an enormously valuable resource to our team. She enamors us with her calm, diplomatic and intelligent approach to her work. And beyond her stellar academic credentials, Geralyn is full of kindness and bright with fun. Thank you, Dr. Schulz, for helping us inspire and support the next generation of treatment researchers across the SLP, PT and OT professions.”

-Cynthia Fox, CEO & Co-Founder, LSVT Global

You can learn more about LSVT Global’s Student Research Grants in the flyers linked below. Apply today!