Jessica Messersmith, PhD, has been award the Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology Award which is given to those who demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of care of pediatric patients. Dr. Messersmith started her career in Nebraska where she earned her PhD at the University of Nebraska and worked as a research assistant at Boys Town National Hospital. She then moved to the University of South Dakota (USD), where she has been faculty and now department chair. Her research and clinical area of interest are in cochlear implants, particularly pediatric cochlear implants. 

Dr. Messersmith has the desire to ensure that those children getting implants are receiving consistent care no matter where their care is housed which is why she also has worked on documents such as the Academy’s Cochlear Implant Guidelines

At USD she instructs AuD students in both the pediatrics class and the cochlear implants class, stressing evidenced-based assessment and treatment for children with hearing loss. Clinically, she sees cochlear implant patients, particularly children, regularly as part of her academic duties. In addition, she also takes students to serve children who use cochlear implants in the rural and underserved areas of South Dakota, including tribal lands within the state. In addition, she has worked to improve outcomes of the early hearing detection and intervention program in South Dakota.