More Student InteviewsInterviews with 2017 MSHF Scholarship Recipients:
I grew up in Marquette, Michigan, and despite my mother being a speech language pathologist, I did not know it would be my chosen career path until I began my undergraduate coursework in Ohio. Through a combination of classes and clinical internships, I fell in love with the profession and have become fully immersed in the incredible diversity of setting, population, and clinical approach it affords. Throughout my graduate-level externships at Michigan State University, I have particularly enjoyed how I am able to utilize dynamic problem solving, interpersonal skills, and creativity to work toward goals in treatment and create meaningful relationships with clients and families. It is immensely rewarding when individuals I have worked with have shared how activities in therapy have made life better. I feel so lucky to be in a field where that is possible, and I am never bored! Now that I have completed my Master’s degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, I hope to eventually return to my hometown in the Upper Peninsula to practice; ideally working with children in a school or outpatient treatment setting. Pictured here, left: l-r: Diane Gilfoy and Gabriella Gilfoy.
I am from Jackson, Michigan, and attended Michigan State University where I obtained my Bachelor's Degree of Science in Psychology. From here I went right into my Master's program at Michigan State University in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. The diversity this field offers is unlike any other. I have found a passion for working with individuals across the lifespan. The education I have received at MSU has equipped me to begin a career where I have the opportunity to spread a positive light into people's lives at their most vulnerable time.
Group Photo, 2017 MSHF Scholarship Recipients: l-r: Kimberly Brief, Christine Forest, Caleb Wilson, Garbriella Gilfoy, Katie Stevenson, Justin Gripentrog, Cory Marchesi, Jordan McCarthy, Lindsay Bitterman, and Heather Balog, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, MSHF President. In front: l-r: Elise Drager and Kelsey Hines.
I am from Lake Orion, Michigan. During my years at my undergraduate university, I was not sure what I wanted to pursue for my career. I decided to pursue Speech-Language Pathology at Wayne State University after I researched nursing, counseling and teaching - as I realized I could combine all three professions into one! I am excited to go into the public schools to work as a speech-language pathologist. I want to work in an elementary school and help make a difference in the lives of children. I hope to always make speech and language sessions fun and productive, and have treatment sessions that students look forward to attending each week. I want to thank MSHA and the scholarship board for the foundation award this year. It will be extremely helpful to use towards supplies for my speech room.
(Pictured left, l-r: Christine Forest and Kimberly Brief)
I grew up in Alma, Michigan. I decided to become a Speech-Language Pathologist because I enjoy helping others and thought it would be a rewarding profession. I have had many wonderful experiences since deciding to study speech-language pathology. I completed my undergraduate degree at Central Michigan University (CMU) with a minor in American Sign Language. I also attended graduate school at CMU. Before completing my program, I decided I want to work with children. I taught dance classes throughout my graduate program in a dance studio and in special education classrooms. This experience solidified my interest in working with kids! I recently accepted a speech-language pathology position in the schools with the Gratiot-Isabella RESD.
Katie Lynn Stevenson
I am Katie Stevenson, a 2nd year Doctor of Audiology Graduate Student at Wayne State University. I was born and raised in Michigan and currently reside in the Downriver area. Audiology has been something that has been close to my heart for most of my life. Exposed through personal experiences with my father’s hearing loss, my interests in audiology trace back to my early childhood. As a result, empathy and compassion for individuals with hearing impairment were instilled in me at an early age. Due to my father’s significant hearing loss, our communication with him was primarily possible through written notes. This changed when he underwent cochlear implant (CI) surgery in 2004. Since he received his CI, we have been able to communicate verbally as though his hearing were normal. My father’s successful CI surgery fascinated me, and it was then that I knew I would be an audiologist one day. Furthermore, what excites me about the field of Audiology is working with CI's and being able to make a difference in the lives of hearing impaired individuals the same way that I experienced as a young child with my father.
I grew up in South Lyon, Michigan and have always had a passion for communication. As an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University, I decided to pursue that passion and study communication and public speaking. However, I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to do in the field. When I came across speech-language pathology I was hooked. I loved that I would be able to help others and work in a field that was constantly growing and challenging me to think critically. I immediately knew that was what I wanted to pursue. Currently, I am in my third semester of my graduate program and I also work as a graduate assistant at Grand Valley’s Speech Lab. I aspire to work as a speech-language pathologist in a school setting and help children learn and grow to become effective communicators.
I decided to become an SLP for two reasons. First, I realized that speech pathology, together with my training in theoretical linguistics, would give me a chance to apply my skills to language work in Indigenous communities in a clinically practical way. I’ve already had the chance to experience this through my on-going thesis research, and it has been exciting and eye-opening! Second, I spent some time volunteering with SLPs at a neuro-rehabilitation clinic 6 years ago. The work that I had the opportunity to observe and take part in there was so compelling. I have loved language my whole life, and being able to see clients reclaim their voices and improve their communication changed the trajectory of my future. I'm so excited that this work has become my work! What a great career!
An Interview with Karen Murawski, M.A., CFY-SLP, Recent Graduate from Western Michigan University, a 2016 MSHF Scholarship Recipient...and other student reflections about receiving MSHF Scholarship:
What are your plans after graduate school?
I am searching for a clinical fellowship that focuses on working with children.
What area of the field would you like to pursue? What interests you? What age groups/populations would you like to work with?
What I love about our field is that the sky is the limit when it comes to what direction one wants to take his/her career. At this time, I am interested in working in a setting such as a school or outpatient facility and specializing in pediatric speech and language disorders. I find that I am able to connect with children in a way so as to build a positive and trusting relationship with them. Building rapport is one of my favorite parts of being a therapist. I enjoy the idea of building and sustaining a relationship with clients so as to watch them grow in their communication skills and encouraging them to reach their potential. At this time, I find working in a school is an ideal setting for me. This setting has limitless opportunities to provide functional therapy so children can be successful communicators in tasks they do everyday. In addition, I am interested in working with children with autism, cognitive impairments, and other developmental delays. I am passionate about being someone who opens the door to communication for these individuals because for many of them, this door has never been opened before. Overall, I hope to work in multiple settings with pediatrics so as to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable SLP with an ardent desire to continue learning every day and be a solid resource for children and their families.
Where are you from? Grow up? Influences in your life that pointed you toward this profession? What are your other interests?
I am originally from the suburbs of Metro Detroit. In high school, I realized that I had a passion for working with individuals with special needs after volunteering with the Special Olympics multiple times. After some searching and contemplating, I realized that speech-language pathology would be a perfect fit for my skills and desires for a career. I have always loved solving problems, thinking critically, being creative, writing, and taking care of others. All of these are necessary for being an effective speech-language pathologist. In addition, I was drawn to this career due to the variety of work we see in a day. I could be coaching an individual with autism on using a high-technology AAC device in one session and doing play therapy to expand a little one's expressive language in another. I am an active and creative person and this kind of variety in my work is what I thrive on. Lastly, I knew being an SLP would mean I would love my job because I'd be making a difference in others' lives and my clients would make a difference in my life.
I am passionate about learning and constantly building my tool kit to become the best possible resource for improving communication in children. I believe if a client is not improving, it is my job to figure out why and what else I can do to help them reach their potential. Also, I am passionate about being an advocate for my clients and their families in addition to working in an interprofessional manner so as to individualize treatment in a way that capitalizes on a client's strengths. I am a big believer in looking at what a child can do as opposed to what they cannot do. When we look at the child as a whole, involve other professionals and family members, and advocate for their needs, a child is that much more likely to reach their communication goals and be more successful in their every day tasks.
What were your impressions of the MSHA Conference?
I was impressed with the wide variety of options available to SLPs and SLP students at the conference. It demonstrated the variety in our field and provided opportunity for SLPs to either reinforce skills they use every day or maybe learn about a topic that was less familiar. It was exciting to be a part of a community of SLPs eager to learn and improve their practice to better serve the state of Michigan. I look forward to attending future conferences and utilizing it as a resource to continue building my knowledge and skills.
2016 MSHF Scholarship Recipients' Reflections on the Award
Being a MSHF scholarship recipient is a significant honor. It means that people believe in me and my dreams of helping others as a speech-language pathologist. The scholarship has alleviated a portion of my financial burden which helps me further focus on my studies.
Warm regards, Shelby Garbini, Grand Valley State University
I would like to express my gratitude for your financial support through the MSHF scholarship. I am grateful and excited to have received this scholarship. It is because of your generosity that I was able to pay off the remainder of my tuition balance before I graduated this past semester. I am excited to have recently completed my degree with your help and I am now on to pursue a career as a Speech Language Pathologist. Thank you again for your kindness and support.
Sincerely, Angela Piccinato, Wayne State University
I am honored and extremely grateful to have been selected for the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Scholarship by the faculty at Wayne State University. The support the MSHF scholarship provided will help get me one step closer to achieving my dream of being an audiologist and having an impact on my future patient’s lives.
Shelby Swafford, Wayne State University
I am writing to thank you and the Michigan Speech Hearing Foundation for the 2016 MSHF Scholarship. It was an honor to be selected as one of two EMU students for this award. Not only is the generous check a practical help in purchasing textbooks, but selection by my EMU faculty is affirming. I plan to take up the challenge of best services for preschoolers' speech and language development upon completion of graduate school, and the Foundation's gift furthers the realization of that dream. Thank you.
Annette Shiley, Eastern Michigan University
I want to extend my deepest appreciation to the MSHF for this prestigious award and generous scholarship. Receiving the award and being recognized with other deserving students was an unexpected and delightful honor. The scholarship funds were deeply appreciated and immediately put to use. Due to the Foundation's benevolence I was able buy all of my books for summer classes, which as many of you know, is a huge deal! Again, I want to deeply thank the MSHF for giving me such great assistance and encouragement as I continue on the path to achieving my dreams.
Arista May, Eastern Michigan University
Thank you again for the honor of receiving the MSHF scholarship this year. I am thrilled to have had mentors who challenge and guide me as I have pursued the AuD.
Thomas Beebe, Western Michigan University
An Interview with a Past Recipients
From 2014, Justine Koglin, B.A., Graduate Student at Grand Valley State University
"Being nominated by the faculty with Grand Valley State University's Speech-Language Pathology Master's program to receive a scholarship from MSHA was one of the greatest experiences I have ever been a part of. The scholarship nomination was a complete surprise. This experience helped me to see that I am truly developing my knowledge and skills toward becoming a future clinician. Receiving this scholarship helped me to further develop as a graduate student and financially. I was able to use the scholarship money to purchase materials that I used for therapy and a classroom project. Purchasing these materials helped me begin to creating my own collection of therapy tools. I also used the scholarship money to purchase school supplies that allowed me to stay organized throughout the semester. Additionally, I applied some of the scholarship money toward attending my first MSHA conference this past March in Kalamazoo! I learned a great deal at the conference and cannot wait to go back next year. I am very appreciative to have received this scholarship. The effects of receiving such an honorable scholarship are feelings that I will experience for a lifetime. I am excited for all of the future students who will also experience these feelings of joy, pride, and thankfulness."
From 2015, Caitlin Montague, B.A., Graduate Student at Grand Valley State University
"I am a graduate student at Grand Valley State University studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I am blessed and honored to receive a scholarship from the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. I am learning to be an excellent clinician from my outstanding preceptors, classmates, and professors. My passion for speech-language pathology derives from my love for communication. I believe that people inherently and naturally want to connect with others. We make this connection through any form of communication. We use body language, gestures, and many different forms of shared language. SLPs help to shape and build communication between patients and loved ones. Our career is crucial to human connection.
In the future, I would love to work in a medical setting. I have a particular interest in cognitive communication, dementia, and dysphagia. I have a strong passion for working with elderly patients. I hope to get my PhD in the distant future with a research focus in dementia care and therapy. I am excited and inspired about the many opportunities within our career field and the future of our growing profession. I am extremely grateful for my parents, family, friends, professors, preceptors, classmates, and the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation for helping me along this journey. Thank you!"