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The CDF is pleased to offer the:

Rita Purcell-Robertson Scholarship ($4,000)

David H. Narburgh Scholarship ($2,500)

These scholarships are designed to recognize students who have demonstrated out-standing clinical potential. These awards will be granted to current or rising graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology enrolled in one of the following universities in Virginia: Hampton University, James Madison University, Longwood University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, or the University of Virginia. 

The CDF Scholarship has been renamed the Rita Purcell-Robertson Scholarship in memory of Rita, who was a staunch advocate for speech-language pathologists throughout the state of Virginia. Rita believed in preparing the next generation of speech-language pathologists through her work as a clinical supervisor, college professor, mentor to students and new professionals, and service to the profession through ASHA, SHAV, and CDF.  

The David H. Narburgh Scholarship was so designated to honor the singular, outstanding service of David Narburgh as member and President of the CDF Board of Trustees and as Silent Auction Chair from 1991 to 2001. From his perspective as a longtime clinician and administrator, David inspires and challenges scholarship recipients to embrace continuing education and networking across work settings as they enter the field.

 recipients of the 2018 CDF Scholarships

The CDF wishes to thank each of the scholarship applicants for their submissions. We wish all of the students well in the upcoming academic year. We expect to hear great things in the future from the newest cohort of SLPs and Audiologists as you enter the professions, becoming active participants and life-long learners.

Julia Spong, a student at the University of Virginia, has been awarded the has been awarded the Rita Purcell-Robertson Scholarship in the amount of $3,000.

Emily C. Speaks, a student at Radford University, has been awarded the
David H. Narburgh Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. 


Julia Spong

Julia Spong is a 2nd year graduate student in Speech Communication Disorders at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. After teaching with Teach for America in Memphis and a local Montessori school in Charlottesville, she became interested in pursuing a career as a Speech Language Pathologist. Her current clinical interests center around working with individuals who have experienced brain trauma or spinal cord injuries in either acute inpatient settings or outpatient settings. She hopes eventually work with pediatric post-TBI and SCI patients as well as advocate for preventive habits and increased awareness of how risks can present themselves in everyday life. Her long-term goals are to pursue a Ph.D. aimed at researching and developing methods for fairer assessment and diagnosis of childrenwith ASD, including streamlining the diagnostic process for the various experts who work with this client population. She currently serves as UVA NSSLHA’s Vice President, responsible for coordinating the chapter’s advocacy events, and also works in UVA’s NeuroVoice lab studying mirror neurons and the relationship between language and the brain. In her free time outside of the clinic, she loves reading, painting, and hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains.


Emily C. Speaks

I am Emily Speaks, a current 2nd year in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Radford University. As a graduate student, I have a graduate assistantship for the university in which I advise freshman pre-nursing students on the recommended coursework and application to the upper-level nursing program. In my spare time, I enjoy writing, reading, spending time on the river, and hiking the Shenandoah National Park that is conveniently located in the backyard of my hometown in Luray, VA.

Prior to attending college, while conducting a Governor’s school research project in a special education classroom, I found myself surrounded by big grins and little hands teaching me American sign language. The children were communicating in adaptive ways I had not previously been exposed to, and I knew I had found a career I was eager to pursue. This led me to apply with The Speech Garden Institute in the summer of 2015 where I was selected as an undergraduate intern planning and executing lessons with a literacy-based therapy approach.

At this point in my studies of communication sciences and disorders, I have developed a particular clinical interest in acquired brain injuries, how they impact an individuals’ communication abilities, as well as the post-injury treatment and recovery processes. This coming year, I will be participating in the New River Valley brain injury support group for adult survivors, led by two of my professors at RU. I would love to work with adults of this population in acute care or inpatient rehab settings for some time before hopefully continuing my education to earn a PhD and becoming a university professor and clinical supervisor, educating future generations of speech-language pathologists.

CDF Wall of Scholars

Rita Purcell-Robertson Scholars
 2018: Julia Spong, UVA
 2017: Elizabeth Rainville, ODU
 2016: Taylor Miller, JMU
 2015: Erin Griffin, UVA

David H. Narburgh Scholars
2018: Emily C. Speaks, RU
2017: Victoria Thomas, UVA
2016: Megan Bell, RU
2015: Claire Bridgeforth, JMU
2014: Nikki Davis, LU
2013: Lauren Michelle Harris, JMU
2012: Mary (Molly) Mattare, UVA
2011: Nicole Marie Gabriel, JMU:
2010: Ye-Kyung An, JMU
2009: Andrea Brewer, LU
2008: Catherine Hrivnak, UVA
2007: Kendall Carwile, ODU
2005: Jennifer Bertram, ODU
2004: Adrienne Lindsay Watson, JMU
2003: Tatiana Richardson, HU
2002: Jill Stubblefield, JMU

CDF Scholarship Recipients

2014: Julie Sadoff, UVA
2013: Whitney Morris, RU
2012: Rachel Ritter, ODU
2011: Elizabeth Schottinger, UVA
2010: Beth McHose, ODU
2009: Stephanie Martin, UVA
2008: Heather Donald, UVA
2007: Elena Jones, UVA
2005: Carrie Lopez, UVA
2004: Julie Kane, JMU
2003: Michelle Hilton, JMU
2001: Amy Stone, JMU
2000: Victoria Cardwell, RU
1999: Victoria Cardwell, LU
1998: Susan Aicardi, JMU
1997: Shiree Harbick, JMU
1996: Marie Duell, UVA
1995: Michelle Hebert, ODU
1994: Amy Tomlinson, RU
1993: Catherine Baer, ODU
1991: Joan Daley, UVA; Cynthia Hackworth, RU
       Deborah Kline, ODU; Melissa Laing, JMU
       Marissa Thomas, HU
1990: Jackie Batkins, JMU; Janice Buck, RU
          Lisa Jane McKenna, UVA; Victoria McIntosh, ODU
          Anna Parsells, HU