It’s a First: UM Graduate Student Earns Top Speech-Language Fellowship

MISSOULA – For the first time ever, a University of Montana student has earned a highly competitive Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities’ Speech-Language Pathology Fellowship at Oregon Health & Science University. 

Kathleen Cotter of Helena will graduate this spring with a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. This fall, she will join the LEND team at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

Kathleen Cotter
Kathleen Cotter

At the hospital, Cotter will engage in interdisciplinary training while treating children with craniofacial disorders, feeding challenges, autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental delays and disorders. She also will participate in family mentoring, research, leadership, instruction and other opportunities.

“Kathleen made significant contributions to UM during her graduate studies,” said Jennifer Schoffer Closson, a clinical educator in UM’s School of Speech, Language, Hearing and Occupational Sciences. “As the vice chair of the Interprofessional Education Student Interest Committee, she helped bring students together across campus to launch several meaningful programs.”

 Cotter helped build and implement a program called Youth Engagement Through Intervention-Support Through Education and Planning (YETI-STEP). This program trains parents on communication and behavior. She also was a student director for the summer 2019 YETI Camp, a day camp for children with autism and related disorders that focuses on social skills, behavior and language development.

 This past semester, she co-presented on language and behavior at the Montana Conference for Exceptional Children. In addition, she engaged in student teaching, research and helped build a simulation lab for new graduate students.

The LEND Fellowship in Speech-Language Pathology is a full-time position that lasts one year.

“This fellowship will really help Kathleen further hone her clinical skills and leadership abilities,” Schoffer Closson said. “The recognition is truly a credit to what she’s accomplished and to her potential.”


Contact: Jennifer Schoffer Closson, assistant clinical professor; UM School of Speech, Language, Hearing and Occupational Sciences, 406-243-5261,