Dr. Ian Mertes is a new addition to the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. He was born in Kansas but raised in Sterling, Illinois. Dr. Mertes earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Northern Illinois University in 2004, and was a postdoctoral fellow the University of Iowa in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders.
Dr. Mertes’ research investigates the function of the normal and impaired hearing systems. He’s interested in understanding why individuals with normal hearing are able to carry on conversations in noisy environments like restaurants, while individuals with hearing loss struggle in these situations even when using amplification.  He uses a combination of objective measurements of the inner ear and brainstem along with measures of speech perception. Some of his research goals are to develop more sensitive tests of hearing ability and to contribute to improved interventions such as signal processing strategies in hearing aids.
The Department of Speech and Hearing Science, its top-notch faculty, and its variety of research is what welcomed Dr. Mertes to the University of Illinois. In his free time, Dr. Mertes enjoys playing bass guitar and spending time with his wife and 2-year-old son.

Dr. Matthew Browning is a new addition to the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism. He was a former Park Ranger for state, private, and national parks in Utah, Iowa, and North Carolina. His experiences there led him to obtain a Master’s Degree at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He then went on to complete his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech focusing on Forest Resources and Environment Conservation.
Dr. Browning’s research focuses on how different natural environments affect people’s quality of life and health. He most recently investigated ways to accomplish social and environmental goals of nature centers, particularly related to the values these places hold to different stakeholders. A nature center refers to a permanent building located in nature that facilitates educating people on the natural environment. Dr. Browning also examines how these buildings integrate people of different backgrounds and other economic benefits that come from these buildings.
The Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism drew the attention of Dr. Browning, as health and happiness is a key focus. In his free time, Dr. Browning enjoys doing yard work, traveling, and hosting events with his wife. He also plays classical piano and used to be a church organist.

Dr. Linda Trinh is a new addition to the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. She is a native Canadian, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. However, her education has allowed her the opportunity to live in different cities across Canada including Kingston, Victoria, and Edmonton. Dr. Trinh completed her Ph.D. in Kinesiology at the University of Alberta and returned to the University of Toronto to complete her Post-Doctoral research.
Dr. Trinh’s research interest is focused on exercise oncology particularly kidney,, breast, and prostate cancers. Her interest in this field began from wanting to design theory-based interventions with high risk populations; initially populations with diabetes. This interest shifted toward cancer survivor populations when Dr. Trinh became immersed with an exercise intervention for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with her Doctoral advisor. Currently, her research examines interventions to promote and maintain physical activity during cancer survivorship from a health and exercise psychology perspective.
The resources available to junior faculty and opportunities for collaborations in cancer within the College and University was an important factor in Dr. Trinh’s decision to come to Illinois. Outside of her professional life, Dr. Trinh enjoys long distance running and has been running ultra-marathons for six years. This semester, she is also teaching a special topics course on exercise oncology.

Dr. Laura Hahn is a new faculty member in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. She completed her Bachelor’s in Human Development and Psychology from Metropolitan State College of Denver and her Ph.D. in Education and Human Development from Colorado State University. Following this, Dr. Hahn completed a Post-Doctoral appointment at the University of Kansas’s Lifespan Institute studying early language in intellectual and developmental disabilities. She completed another Post-Doctoral appointment in the Psychology Department at the University of South Carolina where she was trained in biobehavioral approaches as applied to the study of infant development in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr. Hahn’s research focuses on infant development particularly as it relates to Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome. She is investigating early social, communicative and cognitive skills in children. Currently, she has on ongoing infant study on Down syndrome.
The University’s focus on disabilities and inclusivity and AHS’s approachable and friendly staff were major reasons Dr. Hahn decided to come to Illinois. In her free time, she enjoys running and going to new restaurants. Dr. Hahn will also be teaching a new course this semester entitled “Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Context” in the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department.