Acrylic painting depicting sounds waves, hair cells and neurons using sea imagery
"Auditory Transduction/Under the Sea" by Mannat Kalra; depicts sounds waves, hair cells and neurons

About spARO

The student, postdoc, resident and fellow chapter of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) is an inclusive group for any trainee participating in ARO-related activities. Our goal is to help trainees learn the ropes of a professional career in speech and hearing-related sciences. 

spARO is run by a Steering Committee, elected annually at the ARO MidWinter Meeting.  One, ex-officio, member of the Steering Committee serves a second year, and acts as a non-voting representative on the ARO Council.  In addition, spARO provides representatives to each ARO Committee that meets at the MidWinter Meeting.  Given current levels of demand, these positions are typically filled by volunteers, although they will be moved to an election system if they become more competitive.

For more information regarding spARO, please also refer to our official facebook site:

Call for Writers: JARO Research News

spARO is looking for writers for our new section spARO research news highlights. Articles authored by spARO members are ~400 words viewpoints/summaries of JARO articles. The viewpoints are published on the JARO and ARO websites, see below:

This is a great opportunity to hone your writing skills. As you write, you will be paired with an experienced editor for feedback on your article. It is also a fantastic chance to contribute to science and a useful data-point for your CV.

If you are interested in writing please provide your name, email address, and details of the JARO article you would like to review using the below form and you will be contacted soon.

spARO Upcoming Events

ARO-spARO 2020 Science Fair

Are you interested in SciComm, outreach, inspiring young minds, or building bridges to the hearing impaired? Are you interested in improving your presentation skills? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you! We would like to invite you to submit a science demo for the ARO-spARO 2020 Science Fair - There will be awards for the top demos!

The ARO-spARO science fair will be held at The Tech in San Jose, CA, a short 5-minute walk from the ARO convention center, on Saturday January 25 from 3 - 5pm. For more information about the museum, see:

During this event spARO members have the opportunity to present a science fair demo. Demos will be stationed throughout the museum and are targeted to upper elementary children and older.  We will be publicizing the event broadly to schools and the museum marketing lists as well as two local schools for the deaf.  Thus, please keep in mind while designing the demos that some attendees will be deaf or hearing impaired. While the submission of demos that include sounds are certainly welcome, we would also appreciate the submission of demos that can be fully enjoyed by the deaf and hearing impaired. We will organize a webinar in December to help presenters with their demos and to help make their presentations as inclusive as possible. Links to the demo submission form and some demo ideas can be found below.

Deadline for submission is November 1, 2019.

We are pleased to offer two award mechanisms this year:

  • First, submissions can include a statement of need and budget to have ARO help fund demo supplies. 5 awards available, $100 each, named as ARO Outreach Education Award.
  • Second, the public will be judging the best demos. The top 3 will receive an award as well: ARO Science Fair Award (1st, 2nd and 3rd places receive $100, $50 and $25 respectively).

To submit, please use this link: Demo submission form
For example demos, see: sample demos

We look forward to your ideas!


Other 43rd Annual MidWinter Meeting,Tentative Schedule of Events for spARO:

Mentoring Sessions
The mentoring sessions offer a variety of topics for discussion to help students and post-doctoral fellows to successfully advance in their career in science. During ARO, 8-10 mentoring sessions are held comprised of topics such as “Job Search and Independence”, “Work-Life Balance”, “Getting Grants”, “Clinician Scientist”, “Career in Industry”, “Mentor-Mentee Communications”, and more. Two mentors fitted to the topic will attend each session to share their experience, while one spARO member will be present to initiate and facilitate the discussion. The format of the mentoring sessions is based on Q&A between attendees and the mentors. Anyone who is interested in the topic is welcome to join the discussion group.

spARO Townhall
During the Townhall, spARO members will be updated on what the spARO Steering Committee has been working on the past year. Information on upcoming events will be provided and members are invited to provide feedback on past events and to share their thoughts and ideas on potential new initiatives.

Mentorship Program Social
This social is organized for participants of the ARO-spARO mentorship program and offers mentors and mentees to meet and chat in person during the MidWinter meeting. This is a unique opportunity to further these mentoring relationships and allows mentors and mentees to meet in an informal setting.

For those currently not enrolled in the Mentorship Program: a call for applications for the 2020-2021 cycle will be sent out after the ARO 2020 MidWinter meeting in San Jose.

Young Investigator Lunch

Join us for the 2020 Young Investigator Luncheon, featuring the 2019 ARO Young Investigator Awardee, Dr. Srivatsun Sadagopan. Dr. Sadagopan will briefly discuss his research as well as reflections on his career trajectory. He will also provide insight into how to successfully navigate the early stages of a scientific career; please come prepared with questions that you would like to ask the speaker. This event is free for spARO members and lunch is provided. Due to a limited number of luncheon tickets, you must register for the event in order to attend (a registration link will follow).

About the Speaker:
Dr. Srivatsun Sadagopan (Vatsun) is an Assistant Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Vatsun received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, where he carried out dissertation research on the cortical encoding of complex sounds with Dr. Xiaoqin Wang. Following his Ph.D., Vatsun was a postdoc in two labs studying visual processing. Vatsun returned to the questions that interested him as a graduate student when he established his independent lab in 2015. His lab aims to understand how the brain extracts and categorizes behaviorally meaningful signals from the highly variable and noisy acoustic inputs we receive in realistic listening conditions. His lab also uses single-neuron electrophysiological recordings, computational modeling, optogenetics, and behavioral techniques to address these questions in animal models.

spARO Student/Postdoc/Medical Resident Social
The Annual spARO Student/Postdoc/Medical Resident Social is a great, low-key opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones! Come talk science, non-science or whatever gets you going while grabbing a drink, EANAB and light snacks on us!

Science Café
More information will follow

Science Communication Workshop
More information will follow

spARO Steering Committee

2019-2020 spARO Steering Committee:

Chair-Elect: Kim Noij, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA
Exiting Chair: Nicole Jiam, University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Mentor: Catherine Weisz, NIDCD at National Institutes of Health 
Social Media Representative: Kirupa Suthakar, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA; Warren Bakay, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Mentoring Panels Representatives: Tyler Hickman, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA; Cathy Sung, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL
Mentorship Program Representatives: Kim Noij, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA; Tanvi Thakkar, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI.
Members at Large: Richard McWalter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 

ARO Committee Representatives:

Long Range Planning: Kirupa Suthakar, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA
Diversity and Minority Affairs: Karen Barrett, University of California – San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
International: Patrick Atkinson, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Program: Grace Kim, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Publications: Mary O'Sullivan, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Travel Award: Cathy Sung, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL
External Relations: Benjamin Shuster, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

spARO Annual Reports

2017 spARO Annual Report - 40th Annual MidWinter Meeting - Baltimore, MD - February 2017

2016_spARO_Annual_Report - 39th Annual MidWinter Meeting - San Diego, CA - February 2016

2015 spARO Annual Report - 38th Annual MidWinter Meeting - Baltimore, MD - February 2015