Checking in with doctoral students, Emily Laubscher and Kaitlyn Clarke

As we continue to recruit for the AAC Leadership Project, we believe it is important to highlight the varying backgrounds of our students.  Although some students enter the program with minimal clinical experience, others work for years before making the decision to further their education.  

Today, we are featuring two of our second year doctoral students on the grant, Emily Laubscher and Kaitlyn Clarke.  Both Emily and Kaitlyn share similar backgrounds as they worked clinically for years before deciding to enter the doctoral program.  

Emily worked for 5 years as an SLP in various settings including private practice, a school for children with complex communication needs, and an outpatient AAC clinic.  At the AAC clinic, she conducted AAC evaluations and provided therapy, mainly to individuals with ASD.  She additionally had opportunities to be involved in research and to gain some teaching experience.

Kaitlyn worked clinically as an SLP for 7 years in settings such as early intervention, outpatient therapy, behavioral support schools, and clinical research.  She was primarily focused in pediatrics, specifically with individuals with ASD and neurodevelopment disorders. During those 7 years, Kaitlyn also taught as an adjunct instructor at a local university.  

Now that Emily and Kaitlyn have completed the first year of their programs, we checked in with the pair to gather their thoughts on why they applied, what they’ve enjoyed thus far, and their advice to others. See their answers below!

Why did you apply to the grant?

  • Emily: The program and the grant provide an opportunity to develop the skills I need in order to conduct high quality research and provide pre-service training to future speech language pathologists.  The program is structured to ensure that I develop basic competencies, but it is also flexible, allowing me to tailor the experience to my specific interests and needs.
  • Kaitlyn: I applied to the program to better develop my research and teaching skills. The grant provides me with wonderful opportunities for education, collaboration, and research!

What have been your favorite part of the program?

  • Emily: My favorite part of the program has been working with the many outstanding faculty members both within and beyond the department of CSD.  I feel extremely lucky to be able to learn from such knowledgeable and supportive mentors.  
  • Kaitlyn: I have really enjoyed learning from so many of the greats in the field of speech-language pathology, as well as experts in outside fields!

What are your future goals, post-graduation?

  • Emily: I hope to work in a setting where I can conduct research and provide pre-service training for future speech language pathologists.  
  • Kaitlyn: After graduation, I hope to work in research and teaching at the pre-service level. I hope to spread my love for the field to the next generation of SLPs!

What would you say to others who are considering applying for the grant?

  • Emily: If you love AAC and want to develop your research and teaching skills, this program is a wonderful and unique opportunity!
  • Kaitlyn: You won’t regret it! The opportunities that are provided to you through this grant for expanding your knowledge and skills is immeasurable!

Many thanks to Emily and Kaitlyn for sharing their experiences and advice!

The AAC Leadership Project is a doctoral fellowship program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education (H325D170024). If you would like more information, click here.   

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