An International Perspective

by Corey Fawcett

In the world of communication sciences and disorders, news travels far and wide. Around 9,720 miles to be exact, in the case of Francisco Lopez Caballero and Lais Rocha de Barros Oliveira. That is the combined distance they traveled to be in Memphis, from Barcelona, Spain and São Paulo, Brazil respectively.

"I followed Dr. Moncrieff's work before I came here," Rocha said. "And then my advisor from Brazil got in touch with her." Rocha is a PhD student at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, which sponsored her 6-month research trip. Although her background is more relevant to the field of speech-language pathology, she has received extensive training in both SLP and audiology. She will be here until March, working on her thesis about auditory processing disorders alongside Moncrieff.

Rocha says that learning from Moncrieff has enriched her work. "She's helping me a lot. She has a different point of view on my research," she said. "I'm also learning so much more about amblyaudia."

Caballero's work here revolves around investigating the frequency following response, a signal that he says is highly relevant to clinical conditions like APD. He's working with Dr. Bidelman, with whom he was put in touch by his advisor.

Caballero, who has also traveled extensively within Spain and to Finland, Austria, and Canada to attend conferences as a PhD student, will get an international diploma once he returns to Spain in December. The diploma is awarded to students who spend three months doing research in another country. He expressed frustration with the amount of resources that are delegated to scientific pursuits in his country.

"In Spain, nobody invests in science. In ten years I'll either be poor or working in another country," he said with a laugh. Caballero says that, although he doesn't think he will live in Memphis long term, he has developed a fondness for the city and its inhabitants. "I've met many amazing people here," he said.