2024 ISHA Convention Recap

Published in the April 2024 ISHA Voice.

By Nichole Mulvey, ISHA Convention Coordinator

I hope you were able to attend the 64th annual ISHA Convention in February 2024! When I wrote the last article for the January issue of the ISHA Voice, I was anticipating what I HOPED the experience would be like. We have made a lot of changes to the annual convention over the last few years, working to meet the needs of the membership while honoring our fiduciary responsibilities. Admittedly, I was nervous that the sheer number of changes would make for a disconnected or disorganized feel for the event. I spend a lot of time at the registration desk during ISHA, problem solving, taking notes, and observing. I could not be happier with the convention experience this year! 

I have missed the in-person professional development and networking that had all but disappeared since 2020. I am assuming I am not the only one, as 900 other people also decided they wanted to gain CEUs through ISHA convention this year. Moving to just one side of the convention center allowed for quicker transitions from one session to another while also allowing many opportunities to browse through the 35 booths from 28 different vendors. Did you pick up something fun or useful? I also hope you stopped to rejuvenate with some coffee or other snacks offered throughout the day.

Friday was the dedicated student day, and you could feel the positive energy of those students who are just learning to love the field of speech-language pathology and audiology. They are also the future of our profession, and it was encouraging to see so many student volunteers, presenters, and attendees. The knowledge quest was packed with school pride and noisy students and alumni cheering on their alma mater. Outside the session rooms, several students shared their research experiences through poster sessions and engaged in conversations with SLP and AUD colleagues. The day was topped off with a fun tailgate party with music, prizes, food, and socializing.

Saturday started with a moving and empowering keynote speaker that challenged attendees at the awards breakfast to consider their perceptions and reactions to disability. All the amazing awardees were also celebrated and honored. New this year, a fundraising event allowed focus on student scholarships available through ISHA. As always, the food was amazing!

Both Friday and Saturday were packed with 17.5 hours of CE across various topics and tracks. Hopefully, the use of the app made finding sessions and tracking CE easy and efficient. Maybe you attended one of the sessions that was standing room only, or maybe your speaker invited you to the front of a smaller room so you could engage in conversation about the topic. Either way, the clinical focus of presentations by some of our very own colleagues provided amazing opportunities for growth.

I have to say thank you again to the many volunteers who work to bring ISHA together. If you walked past the registration area throughout the convention, you observed the foundation on which the convention was built. I want to send a special thank you to Leah Holman and Ciera Lorio, convention co-chair, for their tireless efforts in organizing the session schedules and to Debbie McGee, student volunteer coordinator, for organizing students to make registration and other aspects of convention run smoothly. Many of the Bostrom staff members were making the rounds throughout the convention center all day every day. I know they were all just as tired as I was when we made it home Saturday night!

And so, it begins…we are already thinking about Convention 2025. Please reach out to ISHA or me if you have ideas or suggestions on anything that could improve the attendee experience. We look forward to seeing you again in 2025 for the 65th annual convention. More details will be shared in future articles.

2025 ISHA Convention Planning Survey

ISHA needs to hear from you regarding plans for the 2025 Annual Convention! Your feedback will be considered as we continue exploratory conversations surrounding the 2025 Annual Convention. Please take a few moments to complete this survey

Nichole Mulvey is the ISHA Convention Coordinator. She is an associate professor and graduate coordinator at Eastern Illinois University.