Speech-Pathology Career Question

Hello! I’m a post-bacc student studying Speech-Language Pathology with the University of Akron and I was wondering about how you entered into the speech-pathology occupation. What was your main inspiration/reason forย  studying SLP? Who were your role models in the field?

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Speech-Pathology Career Question — 2 Comments

  1. Great question! I am a person who stutters, so that was my entry point. I grew up not knowing anything about speech-language pathology. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I learned about SLP. I wanted to help other people who stutter, and also educate others about stuttering — particularly the psychosocial aspects of stuttering. My role models were Fran Hagstrom, Rod Gabel, Tommie Robinson, Jr., Noma Anderson, Kristin Chmela, and J. Scott Yaruss. If you don’t know these individuals, I encourage you to google them.

  2. Hello! This is an excellent question as my colleague Derek stated. And agreed, the individuals he listed- if you don’t know them, google them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats on your studies!
    Question 1: For me, I became a speech-language pathologist because I have a brother who is a person who stutters. He has stuttered since the age of 6, and has never received speech therapy nor has he wanted to. ๐Ÿ™‚ The passion I have for advocacy in the stuttering community is the same passion that I had when my family would talk about my brother’s stuttering when he was not around as being something concerning (not knowing better) and it hurt my feelings/I wanted to defend him.
    Question 2: I LOVE this question! My greatest mentor, is someone I call my “speech mom.” She is a person who is still the chair of the graduate program where I went to graduate school, and no matter where I go or what I do, she will always be my first mentor. Her name is Dr. Suzanne Swift, and she is at Eastern New Mexico University here in the United States. She teaches many graduate and undergraduate courses, amongst them being the graduate stuttering course at that university. She showed me the ropes…. and put more of the glimmer/spark in my eye. She also motivated me, encouragement throughout my graduate journey and always told me I could do it. I will never forget that. You will never forget your first mentor either. My second mentor would be Dr. Nan Bernstein-Ratner. I first met Nan face-to-face in my late 20’s, about 8 years ago. I was setting up my poster presentation for my graduate research project that I had to with the best supervisors ever at Eastern New Mexico University at the International Fluency Association (IFA) Conference in Tours, France and was so excited to be presenting internationally for the first time ever. I was with my husband, and next to me comes Nan, briskly putting up her poster next to mine. I realize who she is and almost became star struck, realizing that one of her research studies was listed as the first reference on my poster. I introduced myself, and said, “Hi, I’m Stephanie Lebsack, and you are the first reference on my research poster.” She said, “Nice to meet you.” and then she had to leave in a hurry. I TOTALLY had a face palm moment!!!! My inner monologue was saying, “Steff!! You honestly just said to her, ‘hi my name is Stephanie, and you are my first reference?!?!?!’ come on!!” HAHAHA. Nan is one of my greatest friends now, and as you can see we are on a first name basis. I giggle every time I think of that and I actually am not sure if she remembers it (I haven’t asked.) I have several other great and wonderful mentors in this field, that I now call friends. By participating in this panel, you are already doing what you need to do- showing you care and look at you- at the international level!! That’s a big deal. Get involved, advocate for people who stutter and be a world changer. You’ve got this!

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