Pathways Program


The role of the Pathways program is to mentor early-career scientists in developing strong foundations for independent clinical 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 assist participants in developing a funded clinical research program. Pathways aims 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.

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

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements at the time of application. 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 (such as a specific aims page and the first year of a 5-year plan) and then refines them on site with guidance from the mentor. Protégés also work with mentors to set individualized 1-year goals. View an overview of the conference.

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.

    ASHA will 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 these data because such information 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 to offset the cost of 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.

      Should I apply for Pathways, Lessons for Success, or both?

      Both programs provide mentoring to early-career scientists. The Pathways program provides guidance on developing a strong foundation for an independent clinical research career. Lessons for Success provides intensive training in the areas of grant preparation and management of a successful research program and career.  Below we offer “good fit” descriptions for each program to help you decide.

      • You are a good fit for Pathways if you are seeking broad research career guidance with extended mentoring to support you in (a) strengthening your publication record, (b) crafting a 5-year plan, and (c) articulating a programmatic line of research. If you are a current PhD student or postdoc with F31/F32 funding, Lessons for Success might be a better fit.
      • You are a good fit for Lessons for Success if you are planning to submit an extramural grant proposal in the near future and are ready for intense grant-writing training in that you have a strong publication record for your career stage and have previously submitted a research grant.

      Still can’t decide? 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 as determined by ASHA. Since Lessons for Success offers more advanced grant writing training than does Pathways, after participating in Lessons for Success, you are no longer eligible to apply for Pathways. However, Lessons for Success alumni are eligible to apply to Lessons for Success again, however, when they are in a different career stage than past participation (e.g., originally a PhD student and now an assistant professor).

      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.

      Courtney Byrd, PhD
      The University of Texas at Austin

      Elizabeth Grillo, PhD
      West Chester University

      Stacy Harnish, PhD
      The Ohio State University

      Kaitlin Lansford, PhD
      Florida State University

      Emily Lund, PhD
      Texas Christian University

      Rhiannon Luyster, PhD
      Emerson College

      Srikanta Mishra, PhD
      The University of Texas at Austin

      Sonja Molfenter, PhD
      New York University

      Rita Patel, PhD
      Indiana University

      Ellyn Riley, PhD
      Syracuse University

      Raul Rojas, PhD
      University of Kansas

      Li Sheng, PhD
      The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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

      Karla Washington, PhD
      University of Toronto

      Lauryn Zipse, PhD
      MGH Institute of Health Professions

      ASHA Corporate Partners