Can you tell us a bit about your educational and professional background?
Before coming to the United States, I received my undergraduate degree in English from Shanghai Ocean University and had five years of diverse and multicultural working experiences in my hometown Shanghai, China. I graduated with a Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Teachers College, Columbia University in May 2019, and I also I received initial and bilingual extension certification in Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities. I am currently completing my Clinical Fellowship in the New York City Department of Education.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Washington postbaccalaureate program?
When I volunteered in a private practice in Shanghai, I had opportunity to observe high quality speech sessions from a well-rounded SLP who graduated from the UW CoreSLP program. Her empathy, creativity, and clinical insightfulness made me determined to apply for the UW post-baccalaureate program. Additionally, I chose UW for its high ranking, reputable faculty, and stunning campus.
Can you explain why you pursued a second bachelor’s degree instead of just completing the speech and hearing prerequisite courses for a master’s program?
As an international student whose native language was not English, I thought pursuing a second bachelor’s degree could better prepare myself with a solid foundation of knowledge in speech and hearing while also gaining more academic English skills.
Do you think having the bachelor’s in speech and hearing sciences made your graduate program application more competitive?
I think having a second degree in speech and hearing sciences to some extent can reflect an applicants’ academic and research competence as well as their commitment to this field, so yes, I feel that it did make my application more competitive.
Did you gain research or clinical experience during the program?
There were abundant research opportunities available during the UW post-baccalaureate program. I volunteered at the UW Child Language Research Lab, where I was kindly introduced to a professor in the UW Department of Asian Languages and Literature. Thanks to that introduction, I had chance to work on a research project on bilingual and bi-literacy learning among children in a Chinese-English dual language immersion program. I believe these research opportunities helped me stand out in the competitive graduate program applications.
Can you tell us about your experience with the faculty in the program?
The faculty in this department were exceptionally amazing. A lot of the professors have expertise in both research and clinical areas. More importantly, they were truly dedicated to helping students achieve their goals.
Was there a sense of community within your cohort?
Yes, there was! They were friendly and easygoing. Being the only international student in the program, I never felt obliged to change myself in order to cater to my peers or the American culture. Instead, I felt accepted and respected. Our cohort held study groups to help each other study, and we often organized memorable potluck parties to relax after exams.
What would you say are some of your biggest takeaways from this program?
This program provided me with an exceptional education and a solid foundation of undergraduate-level knowledge in this field. It also helped me to cultivate a strong cultural competence, which enabled me to provide culturally-sensitive services during my clinical rotations at graduate school
How did this program help shape your educational or career goals?
This program allowed me to explore myself and help me determine what areas I wanted to specialize in, as well as what graduate programs would be the best fit for me based on my background and interests.
Would you recommend this program to others?
I would highly recommend this program to anyone who seeks to study in a prestigious program with numerous research opportunities, and who wants to prepare themselves for a top-notch graduate program in this field.