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Allison Ventrone and fellow student Camisha Hatcher at a table in the library of a local elementary school
Allison Ventrone (left) and fellow student Camisha Hatcher prepare to conduct hearing screenings in a local elementary school (pre-COVID).

Allison Ventrone Receives Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

Visualize the moment you are in now. You are reading, comprehending, and reflecting. Now, imagine you could comprehend this writing but could not articulate your thoughts. Imagine speaking, but your words are incomprehensible.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 5% to 10% of Americans may have communication disorders, and nearly 7% of Americans have some form of language impairment. Jacksonville University graduate student Allison Ventrone would like to change that. Her words appear in italics above, and her dedication to this cause has recently been recognized. 

Ventrone is one of 62 recipients nationwide to receive the 2021 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, the most prestigious financial award offered by the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Established almost one hundred years ago, this fellowship annually funds first-year graduate students who are dedicated to bettering the world around them.

According to Jacksonville University chapter president Dr. Jim Mirabella, “This award requires that a student be a top academic performer, be very involved on campus, be very active in community service, be accepted into a graduate program, and have support of several professors. Then it is a matter of putting this all together into a well-written application that sells the student.”

Ventrone hit every mark.

Having joined Phi Kappa Phi in 2019, Ventrone began leading student fundraising and community service initiatives, and is now the current student president of the Jacksonville University chapter. As for her future academic pursuits, Ventrone was recently accepted into the speech-language pathology graduate program at Jacksonville University and plans to explore augmentative and alternative communication, as well as neurological disorders that impact speech and language development.  

“Phi Kappa Phi in general, as well as speech pathology, emphasizes the importance of being a life-long learner,” Ventrone said. “Excelling in academics is important to me, as it will enable me to make a positive impact in service to others. This fellowship will contribute to this goal, and it will serve as a constant reminder of the importance of academics and its impact.”

As she continues in her graduate studies, Ventrone is excited to work alongside her faculty mentors who supported her throughout her undergraduate studies and fellowship application process. Her clinical supervisor professor Wyndi Capeci has especially shaped Ventrone’s path in the field of speech-language pathology.

 “Colloquially we throw words around, like ‘dedicated’ and ‘integrity,’ but don’t often really mean them.” Capeci said. “Allison truly is a walking definition of these words. I am so pleased that Phi Kappa Phi recognized this. To have her attend Jacksonville University is a boon to our JU community and the field of speech-language pathology. I can’t wait to see her embrace graduate school. It’s with great pride I see her as the face of our future profession!”

Thanks to her own work ethic and the support she’s received from mentors like Capeci, Ventrone was recently awarded the Jamie Shelton and Allison Korman Shelton Healthcare Sciences Scholarship. This honor joins her Phi Kappa Phi fellowship as yet another feather in the cap of what is sure to be a promising and successful speech-language pathology career.

By Jenna Blyler
Staff Writer