WSU grad students win national ASHA competition
One of Sarah Riley’s favorite aspects of studying communication sciences and disorders is helping people. It is something the Wichita State University master’s student looks forward to in her future career as a speech-language pathologist.
Riley was a member of the winning National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) Knowledge Bowl team, which tied for first place with the University of Iowa, at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention in November in Atlanta.
Other WSU members were graduate students Nathalie Lebrun, Stephanie Entz and Jenny Vaughn, who competed on a team with two University of Nebraska students.
“We had to answer praxis-like questions while competing against nine other teams,” said Riley.
In addition to earning a $1,000 prize from the Knowledge Bowl, WSU designed the winning NSSLHA 40th birthday T-shirt, illustrated by student Chan Luong.
“It was exciting to get Wichita State’s name out there,” said Riley.
Lebrun encourages all CSD graduate students to attend the ASHA Convention.
“It was a really neat and unique experience to be surrounded by clinicians from all over the country and different parts of the world who are as excited about the profession as I am,” she said.
Working toward career goals
Both Riley and Lebrun are working toward master’s degrees in speech-language pathology.
“I enjoy helping children and adults reach their communication goals,” said Riley. “Helping clients succeed is a wonderful feeling.”
At the beginning of the spring 2013 semester, Riley will start her practicum at Ridge Zeller Therapy in Phoenix. As an undergraduate, she worked for Rainbows United and Circle of Friends in Wichita.
Lebrun, who works at WSU’s Evelyn H. Cassat Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, said she likes how students, professors and clinical supervisors work together to develop treatment strategies for clinic clients.
“As part of our studies, we take academic classes and treat clients with a wide range of speech and language needs,” she said. “I love the unique challenges and opportunities that each client brings to the clinic.”
Riley, a Maize High School graduate, believes Wichita State is preparing her to meet her career goals by providing her with learning opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. She appreciates the chances she has had to work with a diverse clientele.
“Over the past year and a half, I have worked with clients who have autism, aphasia, fluency disorders and articulation errors,” she said. “This has helped me apply the information I learn in class to real-world situations.”
As a University of Texas graduate, Lebrun commented that one of her favorite aspects about studying CSD at Wichita State is the small class size. She is one of about 25 students in her master’s class.
“You know who exactly is in class when you pull into the parking lot at Ahlberg in the evening and see the cars,” she said.
About Wichita State’s CSD program
Communication sciences and disorders in WSU’s College of Health Professions includes two areas of study—speech-language pathology and audiology. It also offers American Sign Language and Signing Exact English courses.
The program’s goal is to provide students with academic and clinical education to prepare them for a career diagnosing and treating children or adults with communication or hearing impairments.
Wichita State’s CSD program offers a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in speech-language pathology, a clinical doctor of audiology degree and doctor of philosophy degree, which prepares students to be scholar-scientists.
According to Julie Scherz, associate professor and graduate coordinator, graduates from WSU’s master’s and doctoral CSD programs have had a 100 percent employment rate for more than three years.
“Our program is consistently among the top of the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of programs in communication disorders and sciences,” she said. “We’re really proud of our students and our program.”
Students also have the option to receive out-of-classroom experience by working at the Cassat Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at WSU’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex. It is a nonprofit organization that allows them to gain clinical knowledge under the supervision of a trained professional.
According to Scherz, WSU is a good option for CSD students because of dedicated and experienced faculty and staff, experience opportunities within the Wichita metropolitan area, and ongoing faculty and student research projects.
For more information on Wichita State’s communication sciences and disorders program, go to www.wichita.edu/csd.