Meet our newest faculty member

Audra Sterling HeadshotAudra Sterling isn’t new to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, having spent the past three years in a postdoctoral fellowship at the Waisman Center. But Sterling is a new faculty member in the College of Letters & Science, having joined the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders this fall as an assistant professor.

Before arriving in Madison, Sterling earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Notre Dame and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at the University of Kansas.

Welcome, Audra! Tell us about your research.

My research focuses on the language and cognitive development of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, specifically autism, fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome. The long-term goals of my research seek to explain the contributions of both biology (e.g., genetic syndromes) and environment (e.g., influence of parenting) in the development of language and cognition in children with developmental disabilities.

Why are you excited to join the faculty at UW-Madison?

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is one of the best in the country and has a rich history of child language and developmental disability research. I’m thrilled to join the department and carry on in that tradition. This university truly has an interdisciplinary focus, which allows researchers to collaborate with faculty in other disciplines.

What courses do you teach?

I am teaching undergraduate Child Language Disorders (CD440) and a graduate level class, Language and Learning Disorders of Children (CD703).

What can students expect in the classroom?

I try to make my courses as interactive as possible, incorporating discussion, group work, videos and real life examples within a lecture.

What do you do outside of work?

I’m married, and my husband and I have two dogs. I love running and most outdoor activities. I’m a big college sports fan, especially Notre Dame football and Kansas basketball … and now Badgers sports!

Who’s your go-to artist on your iPod?

Brandi Carlile or Coldplay.

What’s your favorite food?

Anything Mexican! I also love Swedish Fish and have a big container of them at home.