This week we are highlighting Madison Roy ’23, a graduated senior who majored in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies. Starting in the fall, Madison will be attending graduate school at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions (MGH-IHP) for Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). Like most students, Madison debated which graduate program she would attend, but quickly decided on MGH-IHP after visiting the campus in Boston. Read the interview below to learn more about Madison’s decision to pursue this program.
Why do you want to pursue Speech-Language Pathology?
Madison: I want to pursue SLP because not everyone is afforded a voice of their own. I feel that it is my calling to help others find their voice and share it with the world.
I have always known that I wanted to help others in my career, but my 400-hour internship for my Human Services and Rehab studies major solidified my decision to pursue SLP. I completed an internship at a local preschool, working with children 3-5 years old who experienced difficulties communicating. My role as an intern was to assist the school’s lead Speech-Language Pathologist by meeting with students, completing assessments, and executing a treatment plan to help them learn and practice communication skills.
I particularly enjoyed programming and utilizing assistive communication devices with students, such as iPads, PECS books, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. It was rewarding to provide these students with the opportunity to communicate with others around them, even if it was through a device. How did your undergraduate career at Assumption prepare you for pursuing a master’s degree in SLP?
Madison: In addition to the hands-on experience gained through my internship, the courses I took for my major helped me develop the necessary skills and knowledge I need to work with children who have speech, language, or social-communication disorders. My courses provided me with applicable knowledge of the real world. For example, I learned how to interview patients and work with families through role-play activities.
Similarly, my education minor has given me practical knowledge of the education system, in case I work in a school one day. Not only did I learn how to work with special education students, but I learned extensively about the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process to help those students who are eligible for special education services. Gaining these applicable skills as an undergrad will set me apart from others as I will have a robust knowledge on treating a variety of different disorders and in different settings.
What skills did you gain during your undergraduate that will set you up for success in your graduate program?
Madison: First, I learned how to network with other professionals in the field. I had the opportunity to work alongside 3 Speech-Language Pathologists during my internship. Each specialized in a different population so I was able to learn how to work with a wide variety of ages, disorders, and cultural backgrounds. Networking is important in the field as you need to collaborate with many individuals (e: parents, teachers, and school administrators) to effectively treat a child.
During my undergraduate career, I also learned the importance of advocacy in this field. I was involved in advocacy work through the many clubs and organizations I was involved in at Assumption, but my internship at the preschool strengthened my vocation to advocate for others. I worked with many students who were struggling and potentially neglected at home. Understanding the child’s background, barriers, and other environmental factors that impact the child’s functioning helped me determine the best way to help the child.
Why did you choose to attend MGH-IHP to pursue Speech-Language Pathology?
Madison: As soon as I stepped foot onto the campus, I knew I wanted to further my degree there. The faculty treat their students like colleagues, and they genuinely want you to succeed in the field. They respect and trust us as professionals to give us clients as soon as we begin the program in the fall. They are also there to answer any questions we have and provide us with feedback so that we can grow into effective SLPs.
Also, MGH-IHP has many opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience. During my first semester, I will be interning in the school’s IMPACT center where I will be working with pediatric clients as the lead SLP. I will have the opportunity to interview, assess, and treat clients with the assistance of another student from my cohort.
Overall, this program will best prepare me for a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist because I am gaining valuable hands-on experience to practice all that I have learned throughout my undergraduate career.What are you looking forward to the most about graduate school?
Madison: I am looking forward most to collaborating with other aspiring professionals like Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Nurses, and Audiologists. I am also excited to participate in externships to practice the knowledge I gained in my courses thus far.
What are your next steps after graduate school?
Madison: After I graduate, I will prepare to take the PRAXIS exam and apply to clinical fellowships to gain the necessary hours for licensure. Thankfully, the faculty at MGH-IHP help students prepare for the exam and find fellowship positions.
I love working with children so I would like to see myself in a pediatric setting, either in the education system or at a hospital. I find it very rewarding to work with children because they have a growth mindset to overcome their challenges.
What advice would you give to a student who wants to pursue graduate school?
Madison: My advice is to keep an open mind and give yourself some slack. In graduate school, you’re going to make mistakes, you may need multiple tries before you succeed, and you may need to ask for help, but that’s okay. Graduate school is about applying all of the information you have gained throughout your career and applying it to the real world. Acknowledge your faults and mistakes and move on.
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