Pathways Program

Applying to Pathways

The Pathways program is part of ASHA's Academic & Research Mentoring (ARM) Network. 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

Eligibility Requirements

The following eligibility requirements apply:

  • PhD students at the level of candidacy, postdoctoral fellows, or faculty below the rank of associate professor, with a program of research that addresses or will address clinically relevant questions.
  • Have not yet been awarded funding at the NIDCD Early Career Research (ECR) R21, or equivalent, level
  • No prior participation in ASHA's Lessons for Success or Clinical Practice Research Institute

Questions about eligibility? Contact

View past Pathways participants.


Selected participants will be matched with mentors who are experienced researchers. 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 because 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. Acceptance notifications are sent in April.
  • Applicants must complete an online application form, upload several PDF files, and submit the entire application package by the established deadline. See the application instructions for details, including deadlines and conference dates. Senior investigators in communication sciences and disorders review each application.  
  • There is no registration fee. Funds are provided for participants' travel, hotel, and meals, in accordance with ASHA travel policies.

Interested in Lessons for Success as well? You can apply to either Lessons for Success or Pathways, but not both in the same year. After participating in Lessons for Success, you are no longer eligible to apply for Pathways. Attending Pathways first is the only way to participate in both programs, and Pathways provides good preparation for Lessons for Success.  

Questions? Contact

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

Kathy Bourque, PhD
University of Kansas

Adam Buchwald, PhD
New York University

Ryan Branski, PhD
New York University

Christopher Dromey, PhD 
Brigham Young University

Jean Gordon, PhD
University of Iowa

Pui Fong Kan, PhD
University of Colorado Boulder

Jennifer Kent-Walsh, PhD
University of Central Florida

Edwin Maas, PhD
Temple University

Ignatius Nip, PhD
San Diego State University

Sarah Poissant, PhD
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Emily Plowman, PhD
University of Florida

Elizabeth Strickland, PhD
Purdue University

Heather Harris Wright, PhD
East Carolina University

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