Jacquelynne (Jackie) Christina Rodriguez received her M.S. in 2016. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Georgia and is originally from Augusta.
What made you choose the College of Education & Human Development, in particular, as well as Georgia State University?
I was very interested in the graduate research opportunities available at Georgia State University and was working at the Urban Child Study Center. In addition, Atlanta is a large diverse city that offers multiple opportunities for clinical practicum experiences. I knew that the College of Education & Human Development’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program would offer me a plethora of unique experiences that I would not have otherwise received if I chose to attend a university in a smaller town.
Why did you choose the program you’re in?
I was initially interested in becoming a physical therapist. However, I shadowed a physical therapist and I wasn’t very interested. I then saw a documentary called, “Hear and Now” about a woman whose middle-aged, deaf parents underwent cochlear implantation surgery. The documentary opened my eyes to the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology.
Speech-language pathology was the perfect field for me because it married two of my passions: languages and helping others. As a speech-language pathologist, you don’t have to specialize. There are so many different paths to take in terms of the patients that you can work with and the settings that you can work in.
The CSD program is great because it’s a smaller program that allows you the opportunity to get to know your peers and the faculty. The faculty and staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
What are your research interests and career goals?
In addition to studying speech-language pathology in my undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia, I also studied Spanish. I spent six weeks studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I also interned with an Argentine speech-language pathologist. I am very interested in multi-lingual language development and how speech and language disorders affect bilingual Spanish and English speakers. I am also interested in African American English and treating clients of diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds.
I want to be a medical speech-language pathologist. My ideal job would be one in which I could work in a medical setting with bilingual adults and children. I am also interested in working in a traveling capacity (both nationally and internationally).
Who has had the biggest influence on your academic and/or career trajectory at the College of Education & Human Development and why?
Mary Rambow — She was my first-semester clinical supervisor. She is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. She challenged me to apply the knowledge of what I learned in the classroom but also allowed me to make my own decisions as a clinician and take the lead in the therapy room. I am so grateful to her. I hope to one day possess the same wealth of knowledge that she has!
What clubs, activities or hobbies do you have outside of the classroom?
I am currently the Vice President of CommunicAID+Nation. I am also a member of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Georgia Speech-Language Hearing Association. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy volunteering, Zumba, exploring Atlanta, traveling and going to concerts.
What do you like best about attending a downtown university?
The opportunity to be around so many different types of people. My undergraduate institution was in your typical college town where everything is rather homogeneous. I was constantly surrounded by college students and people with the same goals as myself. However, at Georgia State, I am in the heart of Atlanta where everything doesn’t revolve around college life. It’s a nice change of pace from the laid back, sleepiness of Athens. I really enjoy people watching and experiencing all of the diversity in Atlanta. It makes me excited to soon become a professional and begin venturing out in the world.
What has been the biggest challenge in your work as a student?
Therapy — Watching a speech-language pathologist provide therapy and trying it yourself are two very different things.
Although I was knowledgeable in the coursework, nothing could truly prepare me for the challenges that come with creating a productive therapy session that keeps the client engaged and motivated. Therapy is truly a form of art and that’s what makes it so amazing.
I am learning that no matter how many years of coursework I have under my belt, my job as a speech-language pathologist will always challenge me to be a quick thinker and creative. That’s why I love my future job.
What is your favorite quote?
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi