Studying speech-language pathology is more than a major—it’s a mission. My younger brother, Adam, was the catalyst in my decision to major in this field. Adam has autism and struggles to communicate with those around him. My desire, and the guiding focus of my education, is to help people like my brother navigate a world not built for them. As I become closer with my fellow students, I have realized that nearly everyone in this major has a personal motivation for being here.
For my friend and fellow communication disorders student, Elizabeth Turley, this motivation is intrinsically related to her identity. Having overcome a speech impediment, she is driven to help others do the same. I interviewed her to get her perspective on the career path of speech-language pathology.
1. What inspired you to become a speech pathologist?
I was inspired to become a speech pathologist after being enrolled in speech therapy for thirteen years of my life. I have been in these kids’ shoes and understand how being in therapy feels; I want to help them succeed, just like my therapist helped me.
2. How has being a part of the McKay School/Communication Disorders major affected your life?
Being in the communication disorders program has opened my eyes to the great impact speech-language pathologists can have. I have realized that I can change the world one person at a time with the skills I am learning here.
3. What are your future career goals?
After graduate school I want to experience as many areas of the field as I can: schools, hospitals, private consultant work, etc. I don’t know where my niche will be, but my goal is to find somewhere where I can be genuinely happy and helpful!
4. Is there a way you’re hoping to connect your past experiences to your future career goals?
When I am helping kids in therapy, especially teenagers, I want to share my experience with them to help them understand that it is never too late to work hard and try to ‘graduate’ therapy.
When I asked Elizabeth about her story, I was inspired to deepen my own commitment to connecting personal motivation with practice. I am so grateful to be a part of this program, where both people and practice spur me to reach a greater potential. Although I still feel uncertainty about the future and my abilities as a therapist, a Les Brown quote emboldens me to press forward:
“When your why is big enough, you will find your how.”