Shinn-Cunningham Named President-Elect of Acoustical Society of America

Jun 2, 2023

2 min

By: Caroline Sheedy

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, the director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Neuroscience Institute and the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Auditory Neuroscience, has been named president-elect of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) which promotes the knowledge and practical application of the field of acoustics.

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

Known for her work in auditory attention, Shinn-Cunningham has been involved with ASA for most of her career.

"The Acoustical Society is the scientific society in which I grew up," she said. "All of my advisers and mentors came through ASA. I have very deep roots here and am proud to help lead."

Shinn-Cunningham has served as vice president of ASA and as a member of its executive council. She is also a fellow of the society and received a silver medal from the society in 2019 for her work in the cognitive and neural bases of speech perception in complex acoustic environments.

Shinn-Cunningham (right) with her mentor, Nat Durlach (left) and adviser H. Steven Colburn (center) at an ASA event in 2003.

She said she is excited to champion its recent diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

"I'm so excited to work with VP-elect Tyrone Porter to bring more people into the society. We want to ensure everyone is supported, encouraged and given opportunities to succeed," Shinn-Cunningham said.

ASA was established in 1929 and has approximately 6,000 members.

Shinn-Cunningham gave her first scientific presentation and learned a valuable lesson at an ASA conference.

"I was a second-year master's student and I was so terrified I barely got through my presentation. After my talk, someone asked me a question that absolutely stumped me. It was a long question about if I had considered certain niche papers," Shinn-Cunningham said. "My mentor, Nat Durlach, was sitting in the front row. He looked me in the eye, mouthed 'No!' and shook his head. I took his cue and said, 'No, next question.' Everyone loved it, and that’s still the advice I give to my own mentees. Just be honest, especially if you don't know something!"

Shinn-Cunningham will serve as president-elect for the 2023-24 term.

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