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Through an immersive learning course at Ball State University, senior Sydney Lange of Ferdinand is working to develop thickened beverages to help people who have difficulty swallowing.

The goal of the class is to find the best recipes for thickened liquids to help people with the condition called dysphagia to get nutrition and not risk inhaling food or drink. The students’ work is in collaboration with their community partners, Meridian Health Pediatrics of Muncie and St. Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis.

“The group that I am a part of has been mixing infant formula and cereals to find recipes that meet the desired standards of our community partners,” said Lange, a graduate of Forest Park Jr./Sr. High School. “The goal of this project, as a whole, is to benefit the community partners by conducting research that clinicians are not granted enough time to perform.”

Led by Mary Ewing, a clinical lecturer of speech pathology and audiology, 16 students are using various stirring methods and recipes while collecting data that they will present at the end of the semester. The students are gaining hands-on experience while obtaining essential knowledge.

Working toward a degree in speech pathology and audiology, accompanied by minors in autism spectrum disorders and psychology of human development, Lange would like to become a speech-language pathologist, and she has a desire to work within a school setting.

“Ball State has offered me many opportunities to build confidence in my skills by challenging me in my academics, granting me undergraduate clinical experience and giving me the honest truth behind the responsibilities of a speech-language pathologist,” Lange said. “I can say with confidence that I have been well-prepared for life off campus and could not have imagined getting my education elsewhere.”

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