Student Spotlight September 2014

    Margaret Barnett





    Margaret Barnett earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Kentucky in 2012. This degree and desire for higher education led her to the University of Louisville, where she is currently in her third year of the Doctor of Audiology program.

    "Margaret is passionate about audiology: she is an eager student, an empathetic clinician, and an excellent researcher." - Dr. Preminger, Associate Professor





    1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    The diverse array of clinical settings and patient populations brought me to UofL.  By seeing such a variety of patients and disorders, I feel as if I will be more prepared to serve all people in my professional future.

    2.Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

    My most recent research (currently in press!) is related to trust in hearing healthcare. It interested me because trust in a clinician makes such a difference in patient adherence to treatment and satisfaction, both very important for patient success.

    3. How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother?

    My research is focused on deciphering the different areas of patient care that build trust in hearing healthcare. For example, participants in my study suggested that they trust a clinician who is not focused only on selling hearing aids, but on building a relationship with them.

    4. What made you go into this field of study?

    My earliest memories are of my dad’s struggle with his hearing loss and daily communication. I can remember always having to face him so that he could lip-read and continually repeating my statements to ensure his understanding. People do not realize how isolating hearing loss can be, because it’s so difficult to communicate and to ask people to accommodate you. I want to make a difference for people with hearing loss and let them know that it doesn’t have to isolate them.

    5.  Awards, honors, publications:


      • Starkey William F. Austin Scholarship Recipient
      • American Academy of Audiology Foundation “Empowering People" Scholarship Recipient
      • Sertoma Communicative Disorders Scholarship Recipient
      • University of Louisville Division of Audiology Student Spirit Award
      • Kentucky Speech-Language Hearing Association Stanley Award Recipient
      • University of Louisville Women’s Center Scholarship Recipient


        • Perceptions of Adults with Hearing Impairment Regarding the Promotion of Trust in Hearing Healthcare Service Delivery  (Manuscript in progress)

        6. How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

        Along with the attainment of audiology skills through this degree program, I am also developing and sharpening leadership, teaching, and communication skills. I am enhancing logical thinking, problem solving ability, and increasing my cultural competency.  All of these secondary skills directly related to my degree are ultimately shaping me into a societal leader.

        7. Long term goals/ aspirations:

        My future plans include the ownership of a private practice in a rural location. Having a rural background, I envision building rapport and trust with my patients so that I am able to play an effective role in empowering and improving the quality of life of the rural patients with hearing impairments.

        8. What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

        I am most proud when I see someone’s face light up after they are fit with hearing technology and realize how much they have been missing. And I get to do it every day!

        9.What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

        The diversity! The university and patient population are so rich in people of varying cultures, who speak various languages and who have different experiences. I am so thankful that all these people are right at my fingertips and I have the opportunity to network with them, to care for them, and to learn from them.

        10.What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

        Financial debt. I just remind myself that debt is temporary, study hard, and improve myself daily so that I can provide services that people will seek out.

        11. Family life:

        My family is from very rural Kentucky. I grew up on a cattle and tobacco farm (even raising my own cows!). I have two sisters, a wonderful nephew and two nieces, and over forty first cousins...never a dull moment. My family is the most wonderful, loud, and rambunctious group, and each day I am thankful for their continued support.


        Fun Facts


        A talent you have always wanted:Mind-reading. If I could truly understand someone’s perspective, free from reserve, I feel like I could understand, empathize, and make more of a difference for them clinically.

        Favorite book: The Bible. It is my guidance, always.

        Favorite quote: Isa 40:31: “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

        Role Model:My grandmother and my parents.

        Favorite Vacation Destination: Colorado!

        If you were not in graduate school, what would you be doing now?  I would be somewhere helping others and making them laugh.