Do you want to know why I became a speech pathologist? Back in 1999, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in business. I interviewed through the business school for positions and I was able to find a job outside of Chicago working for Kraft Foods. I moved to the suburbs of Chicago and I ended up working there for more than four years. Although I had several promotions, I was unfulfilled professionally at Kraft.
Kraft Foods had a relationship with Junior Achievement, which is an organization that gets business professionals into the classroom to teach kids once weekly over 6-8 weeks about business concepts. I was assigned a first grade classroom and I really liked being at a school and working with the kids. I wondered if teaching was something that I could do.
Then I read about the profession of speech pathologist in the newspaper. It sounded like a very interesting job and I was reminded of my husband’s buddy’s ex-girlfriend (did you follow that?) who was a speech path back in college. I decided to investigate the profession through a series of job shadows. It sounded like a way for me to make a difference in a tangible way. I mean, helping people communicate seemed like a great profession for me. I was also a language geek because I spoke fluent Spanish. Another aspect of speech pathology was I could have the flexibility of being able to choose an educational setting or a hospital/clinical setting, depending on my preference and needs.
Because I didn’t have my undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology, I took a year of “deficiency” undergraduate coursework at Northern Illinois University in 2003. Depending on the graduate program, deficiency coursework can be completed while enrolled in graduate school. For me, the year of undergraduate courses was a way for me to find out if the profession was right for me before committing to a graduate program.
The year at Northern Illinois University was awesome and the next year I enrolled at Northwestern University in Evanston in their masters program. I graduated in 2006 and haven’t looked back since!
So that’s my story! How did you hear about speech-language pathology as a profession?