Dr. Ben Munson
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Springville, New York and was raised in Buffalo, New York. After a brief stint at Tufts University and some time away from school, I finished my BA in linguistics, political science, and Russian at University at Buffalo (then called SUNY at Buffalo) in 1992. After a few years in and out of a graduate program in linguistics at UCLA, I settled into a graduate program at Ohio State, where I earned an MA in speech-language pathology in 1997 and a PhD in Speech and Hearing Science in 2000. I came to the U a few weeks after defending my dissertation in 2000, and I haven't left since! I have been active in teaching, research, and service in my 16+ years in Minnesota. I enjoy having students at all levels work in my lab. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, cooking, eating, doing DIY home projects, and volunteering in a variety of local organizations.
What is some of the research you are currently engaged in?
I'm currently in the sixth year of a longitudinal study looking at relationships among speech perception, speech production, and vocabulary growth in children. In the next phase of data collection, we are taking direct articulatory measurements of speech production in children using ultrasound. We are also examining gender differentiation in children's speech.
I continue to pursue a variety of long-standing interests in the development and processing of socially meaningful variation in speech over the lifespan.
What are your favorite classes to teach?
My favorite classes to teach are SLHS 3304: Phonetics (an undergraduate class) and SLHS 5602: Speech Sound Disorders (a graduate class). Those classes are closest to my areas of research, and I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm about the topic with students.
What do you feel sets our department apart?
I think that our collegiality is a big bonus for students and faculty alike. There isn't much petty drama that gets in the way of everyone having a positive learning experience. I also like the fact that we are an applied discipline. What we do isn't very far removed from making a positive impact on people's lives in the community.
What is your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?
I enjoy the distinctive neighborhoods of the Twin Cities. I enjoy that the city is big enough for me to maintain a balance between work and non-work life. I think that I would be very unhappy working in a small town that revolves around a university or college. I enjoy being in a city that has access to a large, international airport.