Spotlight Alumni: Karena Lindstrom
Can you tell us a bit about your educational and professional background?
I received my original undergraduate degree in Anthropology from San Francisco State University. After earning that degree, I began working in an elementary school in San Francisco. I had the opportunity to work closely with our school SLP. I found her work to be interesting and inspiring, which lead me to seek out opportunities to enter into the SLP field.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Washington postbaccalaureate program?
The UW is a highly ranked school within this field so I knew that the professors would be top-notch. The curriculum was comprehensive, I felt confident that the coursework would not only prepare me for graduate school applications, but also for my future SLP career as a whole. The location was another factor, Seattle is such a great city!
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?
I didn’t just want to get the classes I needed for graduate school applications. I wanted to engage with the material and become truly prepared for the challenge of graduate school and prepare for my future career.
Do you think having the bachelor’s in speech and hearing sciences made your graduate program application more competitive?
I like to think getting that second degree set my application apart from those who just completed prerequisites. I think it showed an added level of commitment to this field that may not have been reflected if I had simply got the necessary prerequisites.
Did you gain research or clinical experience during the program?
There were numerous research opportunities available while I was a postbac student. I volunteered in two labs while I was in the program which was an educational and valuable experience. I was also able to gain clinical experiences, mostly through volunteering in the community. The UW SPHSC department does a great job of making those clinical and research volunteer opportunities known to students.
Can you tell us about your experience with the faculty in the program?
The faculty in this department is exceptional. Each professor that I encountered was passionate, knowledgeable, and approachable.
Was there a sense of community within your cohort?
My cohort became very close over the course of the year and I forged strong friendships with some members. Our cohort went to happy hours, lunches, and even picnics (though only in the summer when it wasn’t raining!).
What would you say are some of your biggest takeaways from this program?
Upon completion of the UW PB program, I had an exceptional undergraduate level knowledge of speech and hearing sciences and was fully prepared for graduate school. I also left this program having made invaluable friendships and connections.
How did this program help shape your educational or career goals?
This program allowed me to gain acceptance into several of my top-choice graduate programs. It also gave me the knowledge and skills I needed to begin graduate school with confidence.
Would you recommend this program to others?
I would absolutely recommend this program to those who are seeking an exceptional education in this field, one that will over-prepare them for graduate school and set them up for a successful career.