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Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers (SPARC) Award


The Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers (SPARC) Award aims to cultivate student interest in pursuing

  • a research doctorate (PhD) in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) and
  • a career as a faculty-researcher in CSD.

Up to two awards will be dedicated to students attending master’s and baccalaureate universities.

Program Benefits and Offerings

The SPARC Award provides unique opportunities by offering the following:

  1. Financial resources ($1,000) to pursue individualized mentored teaching and research activities that are associated with your teaching and research goals.
  2. Structured networking opportunities at the ASHA Convention (e.g., meeting fellow SPARC awardees, attending a reception with participants of ASHA's other research education programs).
  3. Formal recognition on the ASHA website.

Eligibility Requirements

Because the SPARC Award is intended to foster student interest in pursuing a PhD, only those students who have been enrolled in or accepted into the following degree program types are eligible:

  • Undergraduate CSD programs (current juniors and seniors only)
  • Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA)-accredited master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology (accepted students or current 1st year students only)
    • Students admitted to, or enrolled in, master's degree programs in speech-language pathology are eligible to apply as long as they expect to be enrolled for at least 1 full academic year after disbursement of SPARC program funds. For example, students who are in their second year of a 3-year program, after spending their first year taking prerequisite/leveling classes, would be eligible to apply for SPARC.
  • CAA-accredited entry-level clinical doctor of audiology (e.g., AuD) programs (accepted students or current 1st or 2nd year students only)

You are not eligible for the SPARC award if you meet the following exclusionary criteria:

  • Students who have been admitted to, are enrolled in, or have graduated from a doctor of philosophy (PhD) program, including dual-degree programs (e.g., AuD/PhD combined program)
  • Students admitted to or enrolled in a clinical doctoral degree program in speech-language pathology (e.g., SLPD, CScD) 

Participant Requirements

Awardees must be  

  • enrolled in the respective CSD program, full time or part time, for the entire 2020–2021 academic year and
  • National NSSLHA members (at time of disbursement of funds).

Award requirements are as follows:  

  • Awardees are required to report your progress toward the goals specified in the Mentored Teaching and Research Plan through interim and final progress reports.
  • Awardees are also required to request approval (in writing) for any changes to their mentoring plan or budget.
  • Awardees are required to provide updates on scholarly achievements in the years following participation in this program, when requested. These data are critical for future program planning.
  • The award is considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and awardees  are required to complete a W-9 form before the award is disbursed. An awardee’s amount will be reported to the IRS on Form 1099, and a copy of the form will be sent to you. ASHA does not provide tax advice. For information about tax information and forms, go to the IRS website.

View current and former SPARC Award recipients.

How to Apply

Applicants must do the following:

  • Complete an online application,
  • Upload required PDF documents,
  • Submit the entire application package by the deadline. 

The SPARC Award application period opens in February and closes in April. See the application instructions for details on the required documents and application deadline date. ASHA will notify applicants by early August and will disburse funding to awardees by mid-September.

Applications are reviewed by individuals holding a PhD and who are at the rank of assistant professor or above. Additional requirements may apply.

If you have questions about applying or are interested in serving as a reviewer, contact the Academic Affairs and Research Education team at

ASHA Corporate Partners