How did you become interested in becoming a speech-language pathologist?
During completion of my observation hours at the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) in Novi, Mich., shortly after I obtained my bachelor’s degree, I observed an SLP who truly ignited my passion for the field. At the DMC, I observed a session with a client who had not been able to verbalize “I love you” to his wife since his stroke. He had been working on this, along with a few other functional phrases, in his recent therapy sessions. I was privileged and truly blessed to witness this man’s excitement and emotion as he uttered those beautiful words to his wife, who was also present during the session. The emotion in the room was heartwarming. Even the experienced clinician had tears in her eyes. The man’s wife was ecstatic. In this moment, I was filled with hope and a deep sense of certainty that I had chosen the right career.
Tell us about your graduate school journey?
After receiving my bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, I spent a year volunteering as a youth worker in Dublin, Ireland. Following this unique and rewarding cultural experience, I worked as a nanny while I sought out the perfect graduate program to begin my career. I was pleased to be accepted into the M.A. program at MSU in the fall of 2014, and I have enjoyed the exceptional internship opportunities I have had in the program thus far. My first internship was with Grand Ledge Public Schools in Lansing, Mich., where I served a wonderful group of students in grades 1-6 with a variety of speech, language and social communication disorders. I followed this experience with a fast-paced and exciting summer internship at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Mich., where I gained experience in evaluating and treating patients with dysphagia. I enjoyed the great variety in experience and clinical knowledge that I gained from these internships.
Describe the clinical setting and population you are working with at your current internship?
Currently, I am a clinical intern with Practical Rehabilitation Services (PRS), where we provide home- and community-based cognitive communication therapy to individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. This clinical setting is unique in that much of our days are spent traveling and visiting clients in their homes and communities. With the support and guidance from a team of experienced supervisors, I have enjoyed the challenging and rewarding experience of providing functional therapy to clients and their family members as they adjust to life after a brain injury. I am growing in my clinical knowledge and skills as I learn about how to help clients gain independence in their everyday environments through compensatory strategies for memory, attention, awareness and executive functioning skills. I also have learned about the critical role of client and family/caregiver education and counseling in every therapy session.
How has your internship helped prepare you for your career?
My internship with PRS has prepared me for my career by providing me with countless opportunities to think outside the box of what therapy looks like and to take into consideration the individual interests and personal goals of each client. I have learned that by providing this highly functional and relevant therapy, the clients’ interest in therapy increases, and the likelihood for carry-over into everyday life improves. Working with a number of different supervisors at PRS has helped me to grow and learn from a variety of clinical styles as I develop and gain confidence in my own clinical abilities. I am looking forward to applying what I have learned to future internships and career opportunities.