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Resident receives top faculty award from MGH institute

Sofia V. Rohter
Vallila Rohter

Arlington resident Dr. Sofia Vallila Rohter has received the highest faculty honor for teaching presented at MGH Institute of Health Professions graduate school in Boston.

Rohter Vallila, an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and co-director of the Cognitive Research Group, received the Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“I can’t think of a colleague that would deserve it more,” says Dr. James Heaton, an adjunct professor of CSD at the MGH Institute. “Sofia has been a great asset for the Institute. Her research has been very strong and she has always taken her teaching very seriously. The students see her not only as a mentor but really as a role model. They all look up to her and see her as what they would love to become if they ever stayed in academia with speech language pathology.”

Valilla Rohter, who joined the institute faculty in 2015, received her Ph.D. in 2014 from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology program in speech and hearing biosciences and technology.

She teaches graduate courses on phonetics, acoustics, and the neural bases of speech, language and hearing. In addition to mentoring students in the school’s speech-language pathology and Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences programs, she works as a speech-language pathologist in acute care with the rehabilitation team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

“I think the key with her is that every activity, every video, every assignment, every lecture, it is very intentional and that makes it easy to buy into what she is teaching you because you know that it is directly contributing to your learning the concept that you need to learn,” said 2020 Institute SLP graduate Marissa Russell. “None of it is busy work, and she makes it as fun and engaging as possible. I have had a lot of teachers throughout my academic career and Sofia is easily one of the best I have ever had, and I have had a lot of great ones.”

Vallila Rohter is the 31st recipient of the Watts award, named after the nationally renowned physical therapist pioneer at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was instrumental in the creation of the MGH Institute and was the first leader of its physical therapy program.


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