American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2023 Conference

A group of eight Freed-Hardeman University Communication Sciences and Disorders majors had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend the National American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference. While at the conference, the students were exposed to various ASHA speakers, exhibits, and discussion that highlighted recent advancements in the field to which they are studying to practice. The students participated in session debriefs, in which critical analysis of how early exposure to careers, graduate education, and research at the undergraduate level influences their program of study.
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Networking and research were two primary goals for the students that were fulfilled through participation in a Career Fair and Graduate School Fair. While at the Career Fair, each student received assistance in creating a resume and spoke with an array of prospective employers. The Graduate School Fair allowed the students to research various graduate and/or PhD programs to learn more about their program goals, curricula, clinical experiences, and research opportunities. Each student left the conference with a network map of professionals from across the nation that will enable them to advance their future education and career goals.

As part of their obligations to attend the ASHA conference, the students will conduct presentations at FHU’s 2024 Scholar’s Day, as well as, at the Tennessee Association of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists convention.

Faculty: How did you see your students grow or change? 

Meagan Spencer: Most of these students had never been to a large city outside of Nashville, so it was neat to see them grow both personally and professionally. They learned how to navigate, street safety, and talking with researchers and professionals on their own. They were very tired, but very excited at the end of each day. We would have dinner and do a round table to share the day’s sessions and activities reports. This activity further encouraged our students to participate in some of our state level research and advocacy activities such as helping pass a new occupation license bill in Tennessee, exploring research in the honors college and other ELI opportunities, and pursuing some of the graduate schools to which they applied.

Students: How did participating in the project benefit you?

Elizabeth Roberts: We got to see all the different job opportunities for SLPs and audiologists and speak with different companies about them. I really liked hearing about various experiences that people have had in their careers and even in grad school. Going to the sessions was interesting because we had not been exposed yet to some of the advanced practice techniques and it was exciting to learn about additional skills and certifications. New Orleans is a lot different than Henderson. I had never been and learning to navigate a city and new culture was interesting.