National Fellowship Awarded to I-LABS Graduate Student

The National Science Foundation selected I-LABS' Lindsey Kishline for its prestigious National Graduate Fellowship Program.

The fellowship "recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students" and is considered one of the highest achievements bestowed on early career graduate students.

Kishline, a second year graduate student in speech and hearing sciences working with I-LABS' faculty researcher Adrian KC Lee, is interested in how people focus their attention on different sounds in noisy, distracting situations

"The ultimate aim of the research in the lab is to develop a next generation hearing aid that takes natural listening strategies into account," she said. "To do that, we need to better understand how people divide their attention in real-world settings, where there are different sounds competing for attention."

Her research at I-LABS will use magnetoencephalography (MEG) and EEG to examine brain responses to streams of sounds in people with normal hearing abilities. Kishline hopes to identify different brain signatures that show how people shift their attention when they hear a change in the stream of sounds.

The research "will provide broader insight into how we are able to pick out important sounds, monitor multiple speakers, and direct our attention in crowded auditory environments," Kishline wrote in her proposal to NSF.

The newly-awarded NSF fellowship provides three years of funding for Kishline's graduate stipend and contributes to travel expenses enabling her to develop collaborations with other scientists.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program began in 1952, a year after the foundation began. It is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind in the United States, and previous recipients include 42 Nobel Prize recipients, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Choo, Google founder Sergey Brin and many others.