- Hometown: Maywood, NJ
- Major: Masters of Science: Speech-Language Pathology
- Graduation Year: 2014
Why did you choose this degree program?
I first became interested in speech-language pathology in high school when I found my “speech book”. I received three years of treatment to make my speech more understandable. I explored this career through numerous observation and volunteer opportunities at hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers near my hometown throughout high school and undergraduate education.
What inspired you to pursue your career choice?
The AdlerAphasiaCenterin Maywood, New Jerseyfirst confirmed my aspiration of becoming a speech-language pathologist. The AdlerAphasiaCenteris a clinical day program for individuals with aphasia, a language disorder typically acquired from stroke. I first learned that communication has the power to influence quality of life when I served as a communications volunteer for the center’s technology and drama groups. My experiences and friendships made with the members at the center have inspired me to help those in need.
Why did you choose URI?
I chose URI because it had an accelerated bachelor’s-master’s program for speech-language pathology. By focusing my studies on core communicative disorder courses, I will complete my bachelor’s and master’s in five years, instead of six years.
What has been the best part of your studies at URI?
The best part of my studies at URI has been the multiple learning opportunities in different clinical settings as an undergrad and graduate student. I was able to apply what I learned from the coursework and translate it into real clinical experiences beginning as a freshman with URI’s Gateway Café, a social group for adults with acquired brain injury (e.g., Traumatic Brain Injury, Aphasia, Tumor). Because I began clinic as a freshman, I have fulfilled personal interests in speech-language pathology by focusing on special interest clinical groups (e.g., Stroke, Parkinson’s disease) and gain experience in research through my master’s thesis.
What’s been the best part of your whole experience at URI?
When I was a freshman, my sister, Christine, was a senior at URI. She also studied speech-language pathology. Christine made my college transition much easier by providing me with academic guidance and filling me in on all the URI hot spots, like the Mews. I wanted to be a “Christine” to new students, so I served as a URI Mentor and a Resident Academic Mentor (RAM). Meeting new students and connecting with the faculty helped me learn more about myself as a person and as a student. Being a helpful resource for new students has greatly impacted my college experience.
What has surprised you most about URI?
All the new construction has definitely surprised me the most! It seems as if a new building has opened each year I’ve been at URI – new freshman/sophomore housing, pharmacy building, and my personal favorite, the new gym! As a group aerobics instructor, I am pleasantly surprised with the new gym facility and all the different programs they provide. I’m ready to start teaching my classes in one of the new group exercise studios!
What do you think of the faculty at URI?
I have had great experiences with faculty members of many different departments, including Communicative Disorders, Education, Psychology, Biology, and more. The faculty members make a conscious effort to know each of their students personally and challenge their classes. They assign innovative projects that interest students and make us think “BIG” and outside the box. For example, I had to make a Facebook page for Hamlet during a lesson plan assignment for an education class (one of my professional electives). It was very fun and really made you take the perspective of the character.
What do you consider the biggest strengths of your particular program at URI?
I believe one of the biggest strengths of the Communicative Disorder’s department is the accelerated bachelor’s-master’s program. The coursework and clinical experiences have stimulated and challenged me more than other classes I have taken. Class sizes are small, which make lectures intimate and much more interactive. Structure of the classes (normal development, pathologies, assessment, and treatment) help students learn what is normal, what is atypical, and how to best treat clients using scientific evidence. Plus, URI has a speech and hearing clinic right on campus, which makes getting involved in the major very convenient and possible at any level.
What kind of internships, experiential learning opportunities, or real-life experiences have you had?
I have had many meaningful clinical experiences through the URI’s Speech and Hearing Clinic.
- Gateway Café: group treatment for individuals with acquired brain injury
- Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT-LOUD): Level I Efficacy voice treatment for individuals with Parkinson’s disease
- Stroke Research Team: investigating an intensive articulation treatment for individuals with dysarthria (a motor speech disorder) secondary to stroke
- Treatment Efficacy Studies: comparing the efficacy of two different treatment options
- Master’s Thesis: providing an intensive articulation treatment for an individual with dysarthria secondary to Traumatic Brain Injury and determining the impact of the treatment on the individual’s speech and communication
- Summer externship at the Adler Aphasia Center: 200+ hours providing group treatment with adults with aphasia
What’s your “Big Idea”?
My “Big Idea” is to one day open a private practice speech-language pathology facility with my sister, Christine, a fellow speech-language pathologist.
What would you say to someone undecided about where to go to school for your particular major/program?
I frequently give brief tours and advice to prospective speech-language pathology students. I always suggest students to meet with the chair of the department and other students because they will be your backbone throughout the program. It is important to know whether coursework and clinic are completed simultaneously throughout a program or whether coursework is completed before clinic. For me, completing coursework and clinic together allowed me to instantly apply what I learned in class and consolidate the concepts in a real clinical experience. I would also suggest the student to check out campus life and surrounding towns. Everyone needs a break from work. With URI, I can go for a run at the beach, go out to dinner inNewport, or do some shopping inProvidence.