Can you tell us a bit about your educational and professional background?
I attended Northwestern University for my undergraduate degree and graduated in 2015 with a degree in Human Communication Sciences. I spent most of my free time in undergrad working for the admissions office as a tour guide and coaching swimming for Northwestern to Benefit Special Olympics. During the summers while I was an undergrad, I completed business internships in PR and marketing. The summer before grad school I worked in a surf shop! I love that UW supported my diverse interests and experiences, and helped me utilize all those skills during my time in the program.
Why did you choose the University of Washington?
UW has such amazing features - an an urban location with countless internship opportunities, a variety of classes to support unique clinical interests, and a comprehensive degree that prepares you for your career. However, my favorite part was how truly phenomenal the faculty, staff, and students in this program were. Even after graduating, I feel nothing but support from the faculty, staff, and other amazing members of my cohort. I graduated from UW with confidence in my academic and clinical knowledge and a strong network of people to support me in my career.
How did the clinical rotations in the program help you advance your career or shape your goals?
I am working in the schools and I had the opportunity to intern in several districts with several different age groups during my time at UW. This left me prepared when I began my Clinical Fellowship. I was in the Core Program at UW and my roommate was in the Medical Program - between the two of us we had clinical experiences in 3 school districts, 1 nursing facility, 2 hospitals, the CHDD Clinic at UW Med, and upwards of 15 clients at our UW Speech and Hearing Clinic - that experience is so hard to beat!
Was there a sense of community within your cohort? Did your classmates support each other?
I became very close with classmates in my cohort. It was a diverse group of students who brought a variety of experiences to the program. If I needed help with something, there was always someone offering assistance, and I found myself doing the exact same for others. We had study groups for exams, grabbed dinner after classes, and shared resources and ideas for tough clinical cases.
What did you enjoy most about clinical training?
My favorite part of the clinical training was feedback from my supervisors. The supervisors at UW do a great job of tailoring support and feedback to where you are in the program. I promise they don't expect you to be perfect when you get there (which was a huge relief after my first clinical session!). They give you tips and ideas that are feasible to work on as you move through each clinical rotation so you see yourself grow and improve. Some of the biggest things I received support with in grad school are skills that I am now receiving positive feedback on during my CF. The supervisors at UW are phenomenal clinicians, but even more phenomenal teachers - and that is so important when you are growing as a student.
How did your training in evidence-based practice help prepare you to make determinations about the types of treatments and procedures you use and practice? How have you applied your EBP training to what you do now?
My EBP training has been so helpful in this job. While working, parents, clients, or bosses might ask you about treatments or evaluations that you may not be familiar with. It is so important that you find evidence-based research to support your responses to these questions. UW also taught me how to find evidence based research to support my evaluations and treatment plans. This skill is critically important as our profession continues to evolve.
Can you tell us about the quality of the professors and supervisors you worked with during your clinical rotations?
I realize I have talked about the supervisors and professors a lot already! It is hard to answer any of the earlier questions without mentioning them and, to me, this speaks volumes about their involvement in student success. Whether they are mentoring you through a masters thesis, setting up extra meetings to answer your countless clinical questions, or helping you make connections out in the working world - they have your back.
What is your overall evaluation of the CoreSLP program?
While I cannot deny that graduate school is tough work, I can promise this program gets you ready for the working world. I am new to this career and I don't know all the answers to the tough clinical questions or scenarios, but the Core SLP program has given me a tremendous foundation to build my career and knowledge on.