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American Association of University Women awards fellowship to Johanna Price

Johanna Price, a Western Carolina University assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, has been awarded a fellowship by the American Association of University Women to pursue academic work and lead innovative community projects to empower women and girls.

The fellowship will allow Price to continue research that focuses on language development in children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her current project explores the written language skills of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Her work will examine the writing skills of girls diagnosed on the spectrum, thereby contributing to the development of sex-specific profiles of autism.

Johanna Price

“I am thrilled to receive this fellowship from AAUW,” Price said. “The organization does outstanding work to support women and girls, and I am honored that I was selected for this fellowship. My research, in turn, also supports girls. For years, autism researchers and practitioners assumed that girls were just like boys. However, we have begun to realize recently that because so many more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism, any differences that girls have may become ‘invisible’ when we don’t investigate girls separately. So, in this project, I’m exploring the writing skills of girls with ASD separately from those of boys with ASD, so that the strengths and needs of female writers with ASD are clearly visible.”

Price was one of 250 recipients of awards totaling $3.9 million. She received $6,000 to support eight  consecutive weeks of work on her project. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence, quality and originality of project design, and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions or fields of research.

The American Association of University Women is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has more than 170,000 members and supporters, including a WCU chapter.

“AAUW fellows and grantees have contributed so much to the world at large,” said Kimberly Churches, chief executive officer of the organization. “These trailblazers are breaking the mold in nontraditional fields and redefining what leadership and expertise look like. We’re proud to support them with the resources necessary to excel in their chosen fields.”

Additional information about the national organization can be found at For information on the WCU chapter of AAUW, contact Mickey Randolph, president of the chapter’s steering committee and WCU professor of psychology, at or 828-227-3359, or Carol Burton, a member of the chapter’s steering committee and WCU acting provost, at or 828-227-7497.

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