By Erin C. Schafer and Ryan McCreery This article is a part of the January/February 2020, Volume 32, Number 1, Audiology Today issue. The American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF) is proud to present the 16th Annual Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology at AAA 2020 + HearTECH Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana, on April 3, from 10:15 to 11:45 am. The popular lecture series, sponsored by the Oticon Foundation, is one of the major highlights of the conference—and this year’s speaker is sure to draw a crowd. Ryan McCreery, PhD, a well-known and admired pediatric audiologist, will present this year’s session, which will be focused on the critical factors related to successful outcomes for children using hearing aids. Dr. McCreery is the director of research and the director of the audibility, perception, and cognition laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital. He worked as a clinical and research audiologist in hospitals and private-practice settings before returning to complete his PhD in Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His research interests center on improving the quality of life for children with hearing loss by improving our understanding of how to adapt hearing aids to the listening needs of children. As most audiologists will agree, it takes a special person to devote his or her career to pediatric audiology. What led you down this path? Pediatric audiology is a great way to use science to make people’s lives better. There were several experiences in my life that, in retrospect, make it seem like the perfect career focus for me. I have always been a scientist. As a kid, I would conduct experiments that mostly involved mixing chemicals from the garage and observing the effects of these toxic concoctions on local ant populations. I’m sure my parents were very concerned. In high school, I did a job-shadowing experience with a speech-language pathologist and found myself obsessed with how children learn to listen and talk. I enrolled as a communication disorders undergraduate at the University of Northern Colorado and worked in a classroom for children who were deaf and hard of hearing. The children mostly wore body aids and had significant communication challenges, but many were communicating quite well. At that time, newborn hearing screening was starting in Colorado, thanks to Marion Downs and others. I saw the potential for a career where things were going to change rapidly and wanted to try to contribute as a clinician to help kids with hearing loss achieve better outcomes. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!