WRD Student Spotlight: Elise Jackson

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This week, WRD was able to speak with current BA in WRD student Elise Jackson. She has plans to pursue a career in speech therapy after graduating from DePaul, and in this spotlight, Elise speaks about how the WRD program is helping her prepare for the future.   
Tell us about your career plans in speech therapy after graduating from DePaul.

After graduating from DePaul, I plan to apply to a handful of graduate schools in the Chicago area that offer a Speech Language Pathology graduate program. Right now, I hope to attend either Northwestern, which is my first choice, or Rush, which is my close second choice. Ultimately, I would like to focus on early intervention, which includes children roughly between ages 2-12, or post-trauma patients, such as stroke victims, or injured veterans.

Are you/have you been involved in any internships or volunteer opportunities to further your experience in speech therapy?

I’ve been involved with both paid and volunteer ESL programs in the past, and am currently looking for a new gig in that area! I also worked on writing, reading, and speech with nontraditional students and those with various disabilities. I feel that these experiences are akin to speech therapy, because I’ve found ways to incorporate many techniques used by speech therapists into sessions; for example, I’ve focused on mouth and facial muscle movements to improve pronunciation, tongue placement, and the like.

Why and how does your education in the WRD program influence or fit in your plans in speech therapy?

WRD has and continues to further my understanding of language as a whole. The topics covered in WRD represent what I would see as the end goal for many of my prospective patients: expressive, effective communication, regardless of their skill level.

What are the most helpful skills from WRD courses that you see being made useful once you graduate?

WRD also informs my perspective, and allows me to present myself in a professional, influential manner. My patients and clients will be my audience for much of what I write and say. WRD has taught me to recognize their perspective and how I can adjust mine to communicate as effectively as possible. Most importantly, WRD professors have taught me that these, and most WRD skills, are transferable. Any and all professions need the skills that WRD teaches, such as analyzing a rhetorical situation, learning how to become part of a discourse community, and learning how to know what you don’t know (a very underrated skill!). All of WRD propels a student into becoming a professional, capable graduate. 

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