DALLAS - Maria Kidron, of Elysburg, was named valedictorian of the Class of 2013 at Misericordia University during the annual Honors and Awards Ceremony in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall on campus.

Kidron, a graduate of Southern Columbia Area High School, is a daughter of Robert and Joan Kidron.

She earned a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in health science and a Master of Science in speech language pathology.

During her academic career at Misericordia University, Kidron was recognized by the Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association by being awarded the 2012 Dr. Robert Von Drach Memorial Scholarship, which is presented annually to an outstanding student from one of Pennsylvania's 14 SLP schools. It is given to a student who exhibits strong leadership abilities, outstanding academic performance, exceptional clinical skills and scholarship within the profession.

Kidron has also been a member of the department's National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association and of the Pennsylvania SpeechLanguage-Hearing Association Chapter since 2008. In her academic studies, she maintained a 4.0 grade point average while also gaining clinical and fieldwork experience at the Misericordia University Speech-Language and Hearing Center, the Hazleton Area School District's Office of Special Education Early Intervention Program at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Dallas; Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Danville, and at Shamokin Area School District.

"She was always so consistently prepared and adept in clinic that the parents and caregivers of these clients never failed to mention how pleased they were with her and how disappointed they were when the semester was over and clinic ended," said Dr. Hunter Manasco, assistant professor of SLP at Misericordia University. "I oftentimes tell my students that a sign of the highest level of success in pediatric clinics is when your children get better from all the work they are doing, but then do not want to leave because they were having so much fun putting that work in. Maria consistently achieved this objective when I watched her in clinic."

Kidron participated in numerous research projects with her mentors in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and helped to present their findings at state, national and international conferences including the 7th World Congress on Fluency Disorders at the Vinci International Convention Center in Tours, France.

Under the direction of Dr. Kathleen Scaler Scott, assistant professor of speech language pathology at Misericordia University, Kidron worked as a graduate assistant for a Misericordia University research grant-funded project on cluttering. She performed tests on research participants, transcribed speech samples, analyzed data and assisted with the development of materials for presentations discussing the relationship between cluttering and the working memory.