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Pathways Program


The role of the Pathways program is to mentor early-career clinical scientists in developing strong foundations for independent research careers. Pathways assists participants with developing a 5-year research career plan, acclimating 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

Pathways is part of ASHA's Academic & Research Mentoring (ARM) Network. The ARM Network offers programs for those who are considering, launching, and advancing academic-research careers in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). ASHA measures the impact of these programs by collecting participant outcomes data.

Eligibility Requirements

Researchers at the following career stages are eligible to apply:

  • PhD students at the level of candidacy,
  • postdoctoral fellows who hold a research doctoral degree (PhD or equivalent), or
  • faculty below the rank of associate professor who hold a research doctoral degree (PhD or equivalent)

Applicants must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • have 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
  • have not previously participated in ASHA's Lessons for Success or Clinical Practice Research Institute

Questions about eligibility? Contact

View past Pathways participants.


The Pathways program is composed of two phases: (1) an initial conference followed by (2) a year of ongoing, remote mentoring and educational support. An experienced researcher is selected to mentor two participants throughout the program.

Protégés and mentors meet at the 2-day Pathways Conference at ASHA's National Office in Rockville, Maryland. The conference combines lectures, mentoring sessions, and facilitated discussions. This is a working conference for which each protégé prepares materials in advance and then refines them on site with guidance from the mentor. Protégés also work with mentors to set individualized 1-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 typical conference agenda.

    ASHA may ask for periodic updates on the scholarly achievements of Pathways participants in the years following the program, for example about publications or grant submissions. Participants are expected to provide this information because it is critical to ensuring the program's continuation. 

    How to Apply

    Applicants must complete an online application form, upload several PDF files, and submit the entire application package by the established deadline. The application period for Pathways opens in October and closes in December.

    There is no registration fee. Funds are provided for travel, hotel, and meals for onsite participation, in accordance with ASHA travel policies. Senior investigators in communication sciences and disorders review each application. Acceptance notifications are sent in April.

      See the application instructions for more information.

      Interested in Lessons for Success as well? You can apply to both Lessons for Success and Pathways in the same year; however, you can only be selected to participate in one program. Selection will be based on best fit. 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

      Pathways 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 department in consultation with the Pathways Advisory Committee, which serves to review the applications. The following distinguished scholars make up the Pathways Advisory Committee.

      Mary Alt, PhD
      The University of Arizona

      Heather Shaw Bonilha, PhD
      Medical University of South Carolina

      Ryan Branski, PhD
      New York University

      Vincent Gracco, PhD
      Haskins Laboratories

      Stacy Harnish, PhD
      The Ohio State University

      Elizabeth Hoover, PhD
      Boston University

      Pui Fong Kan, PhD
      University of Colorado Boulder

      Jennifer Kent-Walsh, PhD
      University of Central Florida

      Rhiannon Luyster, PhD
      Emerson College

      Ignatius Nip, PhD
      San Diego State University

      Rita Patel, PhD
      Indiana University

      Elizabeth Strickland, PhD
      Purdue University

      Andrea Warner-Czyz, PhD
      The University of Texas at Dallas

      Krystal Werfel, PhD
      University of South Carolina

      Heather Harris Wright, PhD
      East Carolina University

      ASHA Corporate Partners