Science Faculty Spotlight: Michelle MacRoy-Higgins

September 2, 2020

Michelle MacRoy-Higgin

What is your academic background?

I went to SUNY Geneseo for my Bachelor’s degree; I received a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as my New York State teaching certification as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Hearing Handicaps.  Then, I completed my M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Adelphi University. At Adelphi, I met Larry Raphael, who is a CUNY alumnus and Professor emeritus. As a graduate student, I worked with Dr. Raphael and Dr. Florence Myers on a research project that involved acoustic analysis of dysfluent speech. Dr. Raphael introduced me to the Ph.D. program at the Graduate Center. I always knew that I was interested in research, but the experience with Dr. Raphael really gave me the courage to pursue it. After I finished my M.S. degree, I completed my Clinical Fellowship (CF) to receive my licensure and certification as a speech-language pathologist. I started the Ph.D. program in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the Graduate Center shortly after completing my CF.

What are your current research interests?

I have always been interested in early language development and language delays in children. My dissertation focused on vocabulary acquisition in children who are late talkers. I have continued to examine aspects of development in this population (late talkers) to understand the nature of their early language delay, and to understand the influence of early language delay on literacy acquisition in order to best help children with language delays and their families.  

What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

One of my greatest accomplishments was writing the book Time to Talk: What you need to know about your child’s speech and language development. This book was a collaboration with Carlyn Kolker, a professional writer. We worked together to provide an easy-to-read and research-based resource for parents, caregivers, and teachers about early speech and language development. Throughout the years, parents have asked me where they could find information about developmental milestones and how to get help. Until my book, Time to Talk, there had not been a comprehensive resource available for parents.

What advice would you give to prospective students who may be interested in applying to the Graduate Center?

I would advise prospective students to plan to dive into a topic that they are passionate about. I think the best way to keep making progress towards finishing the Ph.D. is by setting small and attainable short-term goals.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy outdoor sports with my family - swimming, hiking, and playing softball.