Julie D. Anderson
Assistant Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing
Certificate of Clinical Competence, Speech-Language
2002 Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
1996 M.A., University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
1992 B.A., University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
Sociology (major) & Psychology (minor)
I chose an academic/research career because:
I have always been intensely curious about why and how things
work the way they do. A career in academics allows me to put this
inquisitiveness to work in an intellectually challenging and
stimulating environment. I enjoy working on research problems in
the field of stuttering, in particular, because we know so little
about this disorder. It is truly "a riddle wrapped in a
mystery inside an enigma" (Winston Churchill, 1939), and I
hope that my research might one day shed some light on this most
What do you do in your career as a teacher, scholar,
Indiana University-Bloomington is an R1 research institution,
meaning that there is a very high emphasis on research
activity-publishing scholarly manuscripts and securing external
grant funding. My responsibilities include research, classroom
teaching, and service. My research focuses on examining the
interaction between spoken language production and fluency
development, as well as the influence of linguistic factors on
stuttering. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in
stuttering, neural bases of speech and language, speech anatomy
and physiology, and speech and language diagnostics. I also
mentor students in research. My service activities include
advising master's students and reviewing scholarly
How did you get to the position you have today?
I obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of
Minnesota-Minneapolis in sociology (major) and psychology
(minor). I had a strong interest in pursuing a doctoral degree
early on in my undergraduate career. Thus, after I graduated, I
researched careers and graduate programs in a variety of
disciplines, such as psychology and genetics, while working as a
medical secretary. I finally decided to pursue a career in
speech-language pathology, because I liked its mix of science and
liberal arts, and entered the master's program at the
University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. I began with a master's
degree program rather than directly entering a doctoral program,
because I didn't have a background in the field and, thus,
was uncertain about my interests and whether I'd even want to
pursue a doctoral degree in this discipline.
Upon obtaining the master's degree, I worked as a
speech-language pathologist serving adults with neurogenic
communication disorders. However, after a few months, I quickly
realized that what really interested me about the
profession-namely, the why and how behind communication
disorders-did not translate as well to the clinical world, where
the focus was largely on function. So, I decided to pursue a
doctoral degree in fluency disorders. I chose this area of study
because I was fascinated, as a master's student, by the
myriad of factors and many "unknowns" associated with
stuttering. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to obtain
my PhD under the tutelage of a highly accomplished fluency
researcher, Dr. Edward Conture, at Vanderbilt University.
What were the key factors in your academic/research
I've always been very curious, which has nourished my desire
to consume and produce knowledge. I also enjoy reading and
What do you like most about your career?
I enjoy my research and colleagues, as well as the flexibility of
an academic career. I can honestly say that I really enjoy my
What do you like least about your career?
The amount of time I spend working, the pressures of having an R1
tenure-track position, and dealing with the occasional difficult
academic personality. It can also take a lot of time to get your
manuscripts through the peer review process and published in a
reputable journal, which can be a humbling, frustrating, and
Who are your heroes/heroines?
One of the people whom I most admire is Dr. Gerald M. Siegel, an
Emeritus Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders
at the University of Minnesota. He has always been very
inquisitive, creative, and thoughtful in his thinking about
stuttering-a true inspiration.
What advice would you give to an undergraduate or
master's student who expressed an interest in an
academic/research career in communication sciences and disorders?
My advice would be to (a) know what you're getting yourself
into, (b) obtain research experience in the form of an
undergraduate and/or master's thesis, and (c) thoroughly
research prospective PhD programs and mentors.
What was the best thing about your PhD program?
The best thing about my PhD program was my mentor, Dr. Edward
Conture. His vast knowledge and experience in training PhD
students helped me get through the PhD program and gave me the
skills I needed to get started in the academic world.
If you did your PhD program or your early career years
all over again, what would you do differently?
I honestly can't think of anything I would do
How do you find balance between your professional
activities and your personal life? What do you do to
I am, admittedly, not very good at achieving balance in my
professional and personal life, as I tend to be rather singularly
focused. However, I do enjoy cuddling with my seven cats,
volunteering for animal/wildlife groups, running, and reading
What will you be doing 5 years from now? 10 years from
I hope to continue engaging in scholarly pursuits and embracing
the life of the mind.