What experiences in your program were most valuable to you?
I loved that my program allowed me to experience practicum hours at various sites while simultaneously learning in classes. The ability to build connections between what I am learning in the classroom and experiencing at my rotations was so valuable. During my neuroanatomy class, my cohort had the opportunity to go into the cadaver lab and have hands-on experiences to learn about the brain and the anatomy of speech mechanisms.
Did you work closely with a faculty member? If so, who?
I worked and continue to work closely with Mary Ellen Hood during the Post Baccalaureate Program. I have also been fortunate enough to work closely with Dr. Abby Rozenburg and Loryn McGill. During my time at Chapman, all of the staff and faculty were always willing to answer questions, explain concepts and provide personal experiences.
Were you involved in research or clubs or other activities?
I was the President of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). I gained experience working with students with Down Syndrome at the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County (DSAOC) and I completed hearing screenings at the Special Olympics of Orange County. During my post-baccalaureate program, I was a research assistant for Dr. Belinda Daughrity.
Are you applying to grad school or have already gotten a job in your field? Please share your goals and aspirations.
I completed my Chapman Post Baccalaureate Program in the summer of 2019 and was admitted to the Chapman Masters of Science Communication Sciences and Disorders program and completed the program during the summer of 2021. I started working as a speech and language pathologist at Los Alamitos High School in the Fall of 2021. I love my current job and have been able to work with amazing clinicians and students. My goals for the future include working per diem in a medical setting, specifically an acute rehabilitation hospital, and potentially getting certified as an orofacial myofunctional speech and language pathologist.
Anything else you’d like me to share or highlight?
In December 2022, I was able to publish a charcuterie cookbook called “Boards and Bites”. I started making charcuterie boards during my second year of graduate school as a creative outlet and was contacted by a publisher and decided to write a book. During my graduate school rotations, I realized how cooking and making recipes with my patients and students was a functional and realistic therapy activity that targeted executive functioning skills and always put a smile on everyone’s face.
If you are inspired by Melissa’s story – you can start your path to being a Speech Pathologist by learning more here (all majors are considered!): https://www.chapman.edu/crean/academic-programs/postbac-comm-science-disorders.aspx
Or by filling out this interest form.