🏊‍♀️ Bravence Wins Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Senior captain Mackenzie Bravence, who is researching vocalizations in children with autism spectrum disorder, was recently named the recipient of the Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence through KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research.

In the pool, Bravence competes in both the freestyle and backstroke. Bravence has been named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team in both years she has been eligible, and was a member of the 200-yard medley relay team that finished second at the 2022 Big 12 Championship. Bravence is majoring in speech-language-hearing with a minor in applied behavioral science and certificate in learning and communication in children with autism.

“Children with autism are often less communicative in their vocalizations than their typically developing peers,” Bravence said. “My project looked at an intervention to increase communicativeness in their vocalizations. The long-term goal of this line of research is to increase the effectiveness of the interventions used with children with autism who are not yet talking.”

A poster titled “Increasing Quality of Child Vocalizations to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Examining Communicativeness” about her research can be found online in the 2022 Fall Undergraduate Research Showcase.

The Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence was established at KU Endowment in 2020 through the contributions of David (c’74) and Chris Courtwright (c’83, j’83).  The Courtwright Award seeks to recognize undergraduate students with majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences whose research and creative work stand to make meaningful contributions to their fields of study.

Courtwright Award finalists are selected from applications for the Undergraduate Research Awards each semester. This is the fourth iteration of this award.