What made you choose Georgia State University and the College of Education & Human Development over other schools in the area/country?
I was drawn to Georgia State University’s department of Communication Sciences and Disorders primarily for the faculty and clinical instructors. I had the privilege of earning my bachelor’s degree from Georgia State and I began to familiarize myself with the program for aspiring speech-language pathologists. I quickly became fascinated by the expertise and admired the research of the various faculty members in the program. The Georgia State University department of Communication Sciences and Disorders enables students to have a diverse practicum experience due to it’s physical location in metro-Atlanta and the faculty does an outstanding job at providing clinical experiences both on and off campus. The decision to attend was an easy one and I was honored to have been given the opportunity.
Why do you want to become a __________?
I want to become a speech-language therapist because I am passionate about helping individuals find a way to best communicate their wants, needs, desires, and emotions, as this is a fundamental human right and need. As a speech-language therapist, I want to advocate for and empower all individuals with communicative deficits and help them access ways to connect with their family, friends, and loved ones. Finally, I am driven by the words of the great Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, “The one who has the most blessed life is the one who supports others during his life”. I could not think of a more fulfilling and rewarding career.
What fascinates you about research? Or not? What has surprised you about what you’re learning/have learned?
What fascinates me about research specifically in the field of speech-language pathology, is how rapidly it is evolving and growing. At the very foundation of all treatment that we study and implement, evidence-based practice is the guiding principle in our clinical decision-making. As a student in the field, I have learned about pioneers of the research in our field and I am intrigued at how far we have come and expanded on various areas. I am particularly interested in advancements in the research of bilingualism and bilingual language acquisition in typical and atypical development.
Is there a professor you’d like to give mention to that helped you along your journey?
I have mentioned that I truly admire the work and research of the entire faculty of professors and clinical instructors in the department. I am honored to have been taught by Dr. Schober-Peterson; enrolling her classes and learning from her expertise has truly enabled me to strive to become the best speech-language therapist I can be. Dr. Schober-Peterson’s commitment to her students, the program, and dedication to our journey of becoming speech-language pathologists is remarkable.
How do you explain what you’re doing in school to your grandmother (or someone who is not in your field of study)?
Speech language pathologists (SLPs) are experts in communication. SLPs are therapists who specialize in speech, language, pragmatic, fluency, voice, and swallowing deficits and/or disorders. SLPs work in a variety of settings (schools, private clinics, hospitals, nursing facilities, and more) to provide early intervention or rehabilitative services related to communication difficulties. We work with all ages from birth to older adults and aim to assist individuals in being able to effectively communicate their wants and needs to their communicative partners.
What tips can you give a student just starting to help them be successful?
I would give the following tips to future students:
- Find the best way for you to stay organized.
- Prioritize your health and rest; burnout is inevitable if these aspects are given less importance (in my experience).
- When you reach a bump in the road, (maybe a challenging class or a grade you cannot recover from), remember why you started and why you joined the program you are in and KEEP GOING!
- Do not be afraid to ask questions for clarification, ever.
- Find joy in the journey!
Is there something we don’t know about you that you feel would inspire a new student?
I am a minority in the field of study I have chosen to pursue. In fact, According to the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association “ASHA” (2020), 92% of all speech-language pathologists identify as White, and only 8.0% of all speech-language pathologists in the United States identify as minorities. Of the 8%, just 3% identify as Asian. As an American born, Pakistani girl I was excited to join the field and ready bring my unique ethnic background and experiences to the table. I hope that I can inspire fellow aspiring speech-language pathologists of racially diverse backgrounds to go on this journey and share their novel perspectives with the world.
Do you have a favorite place downtown to eat? Study? Hang out?
Some of my greatest memories from undergrad and grad school at Georgia State University are at Anatolia (to eat and hangout) and the Brookstone Cafe (to eat and study).
How do you explain your cohorts to your outside friends? Or even what a cohort is?
Your cohort is the group of students who are enrolled to the same program as you and begin and complete courses (typically) at the same pace. Essentially, your cohort will ideally become your support group, your peers, your friends, and eventually your colleagues. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful individuals in my cohort; we helped each other along the way and made some life-long friendships.
Give us either a favorite quote, a song lyric or poem, or something a professor said to you that you find inspiring.
Favorite quote: “How foolish is man! He ruins the present while worrying about the future, but weeps in the future by recalling his past!” – Ali Ibn Abi Talib A.S..
This quote reminds me to find joy in the journey and be present in the moment!