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Chai wins $25,000 competition grant at New Mexico State University

Michael Childs

September 23, 2014

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Alumna Zhen Chai, an assistant professor in the department of special education and communication disorders at New Mexico State University, was among only three faculty members campus-wide to receive a 2014 Launch Grant of up to $25,000.

The NMSU faculty members selected to participate in technology commercialization through the Launch Proof of Concept Program will receive mentoring, market analyses, demonstration-validation services, access to investment networks and up to $25,000 in cash investment in their technology. The support allows campus inventors to work on technology development while exploring commercial markets for the products of their research.

Chai (PhD '12) will use the grant to help develop "Touch Sound," an iPad application that incorporates constant time delay procedures to improve sound structure awareness skills in children with disabilities or those who are at risk for reading difficulties.

"I am very excited about getting this grant," Chai said. "I believe with the help of this Launch Grant, every child who needs help to improve reading skills will benefit from 'Touch Sound' in the near future."

Chai's application was first developed in her dissertation at UGA. That research was recently published in the Journal of Special Education. Cynthia O. Vail, professor and associate head of the department of communications sciences and special education, was her major professor.