Passion for Speech-Language Pathology Runs in Family

Posted on: June 25, 2013

Obtaining a full-time job for the first time is an overwhelming feeling, especially when it happens on the same day as graduation! 

Recent alumna Audra Russell graduated from CAS this May with her M.A. in speech-language pathology. After the commencement ceremony, she listened to the voicemail that confirmed her new position in Midland for MidMichigan Health’s short-term rehab and nursing facilities, Stratford Village and Gladwin Pines. 

Audra’s aunt, Jean Russell, a 1978 alumna of the same program, was one of the lucky family members to hear the exciting news.

“My aunt has always been a great resource and there for me when I had questions or was struggling with school work,” Audra said.

Audra comes from a long line of Spartan family ties. She knew at a young age that she wanted to continue her family’s green and white legacy. Her great grandpa attended the Michigan Agricultural College (MAC), her grandpa attended Michigan State College (MSC) and her uncle and aunt met while attending MSU. 

Audra and Jean each had defining moments in their lives that directed them to the same profession. Jean first attended MSU pursuing a major in mathematics, but after trying an audiology and speech services course, she was “hooked.” She is currently employed in the Capac Community Schools, helping children who have communication difficulties.

“Michigan State University and the Communicative Sciences and Disorders department have been such an important part of my growing up, my career, my life,” Jean said. 

Audra developed her own personal connection with the profession while in high school. Her mother became ill and was in need of speech therapy. The relationship that developed between the therapist and Audra’s mother inspired her. Audra saw that the help of the therapist allowed her mother to overcome many challenges, and then realized that’s what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. 

When Audra learned she was accepted into the graduate program, her aunt was one of the first people she contacted. Since then she has shared her internship experiences and sought advice along the way. “She (Jean) has been such a strong support system for me and I am honored to be in the same profession as her,” said Audra.



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