Pathways Program

Applying to the Pathways Program

The Pathways program is part of ASHA's Research Mentoring (ARM) Network. Other programs in the Network include the Clinical Practice Research Institute (CPRI) and Lessons for Success (LfS). Each ARM Network program serves a distinct role in fostering the development of researchers in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) at different career stages.


The role of the Pathways program is to mentor early-career clinical scientists in developing strong foundations for independent research careers. To this end, Pathways assists participants with developing a 5-year research career plan, acculturating to a research career, building a publication record, and learning about funding mechanisms appropriate to this career stage. The specific goal of the program is to prepare eligible candidates to become competitive applicants for NIDCD Early Career Research (ECR) R21 (formerly the NIDCD R03) or K23 awards. It is intended as an initial step to enhance the training, retention, and funding success of clinical scientists in CSD, with the ultimate goal of advancing the evidence base of the discipline.

"The Pathways meeting was probably the best two days spent in my academic career."

Jeremy Donai, Assistant Professor, West Virginia University


Approximately 10 to 15 early-career researchers will be selected to participate in the Pathways program. Participants will be paired with mentors who are experienced researchers.

The following eligibility requirements apply:

  • PhD students at the level of candidacy, postdoctoral fellows, or junior-level faculty (below the level of associate professor) with a program of research that addresses or will address clinically relevant questions.
  • Individuals with clinical doctorates who have at least 1 year of research experience are eligible to apply. These applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis for their plans to develop independent research careers.

Researchers who have already been awarded federal research funding as a PI at the NIDCD Early Career Research (ECR) R21 (formerly the NIDCD R03) or equivalent level are no longer eligible to apply. They are encouraged to apply to programs within the ARM Network that target more advanced career stages, such as Lessons for Success (LfS) or the Clinical Practice Research Institute (CPRI).

Prior LfS or CPRI participants are not eligible to apply for Pathways.

Send questions about eligibility to ASHA's Academic Affairs and Research Education team at

View past Pathways participants.


The Pathways program is composed of two phases: an initial conference followed by a year of ongoing, remote mentoring and educational support.

  • Protégés and mentors convene at a two-day Pathways Conference at ASHA's National Office in Rockville, Maryland.
    • Conference combines lectures, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and facilitated discussions.
    • This is a working conference for which each protégé prepares materials in advance then refines them on site with guidance from the mentor. Protégés also work with mentors to set individualized one-year goals.
  • Ongoing, remote mentoring and educational support are provided throughout the year.
    • Mentors assist protégés in completing tasks leading to accomplishing individualized goals.
    • Multimedia resources (e.g., presentations, webinars, podcasts) are available through an online Clinical Research Education Library (CREd).
    • Mentors and protégés participate in the ARM Network online professional community.

View a past agenda.

ASHA may seek periodic updates on the scholarly achievements of Pathways participants in the years following the program (e.g., publications, grant submissions). Participants are expected to provide these data, as they are critical to ensuring the continuation of this program. 

How to Apply

  • The application period for Pathways opens in October and closes in December.
  • Applicants must complete an online application form, upload several PDF documents, and submit the entire application package by the established deadline. See the application instructions for details, including deadlines and conference dates.
  • There is no registration fee. Funds are provided for participant travel, hotel, and meals, in accordance with ASHA travel policies.

For more information, please see the frequently asked questions or contact ASHA's Academic Affairs and Research Education team at

Advisory Committee

Pathways was established through support of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) grant #U24DC012078 awarded to ASHA. The program is planned and coordinated by ASHA's Academic Affairs and Research Education unit in consultation with the Advisory Committee, which serves to review the applications. The following distinguished scholars make up the Advisory Committee.

Suzanne Adlof, PhD
University of South Carolina

Samira Anderson, PhD 
University of Maryland, College Park

Adam Buchwald, PhD
New York University

Aimee Dietz, PhD
University of Cincinnati

Christopher Dromey, PhD 
Brigham Young University

Lizbeth Finestack, PhD
University of Minnesota

Jean Gordon, PhD
University of Iowa

Edwin Maas, PhD
Temple University

Sarah Poissant, PhD
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Emily Plowman, PhD
University of Florida

Kathy Thiemann-Bourque, PhD
University of Kansas

Yana Yunusova, PhD
University of Toronto

ASHA Corporate Partners