SCSD Speech-Language Pathology Boot Camp

On September 20, the School of Communication Science and Disorders hosted its annual Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Student Boot Camp. For the past 5 years, the school has run this program that allows first-year graduate students to practice their skills on their peers in a relaxed and comfortable environment. During boot camp, the students work through two different simulations, the first being a hearing screening. Students take turns administering hearing screenings like they would on a real patient. The second part of the camp allows students to practice an oral mechanism examination, which is something that examines the structures and muscles that we use for speech and swallowing. While none of this is graded, each pair of first-year students is under the supervision of a second-year. “The second-years are able to fall into a mentorship role for the brand-new graduate students,” explains Ellen Nimmons, an instructor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders.

“I think it’s really beneficial to be able to do this boot camp because it gives us hands-on experience. These are things that we’re going to be doing once we get out of grad school and are actually in the field and a lot of schools don’t offer an experience like this,” says first-year grad student Caitlin Fechtel. “A lot of times schools just offer observation but we actually get to do it, get feedback on it, and learn how we can improve.”

Kelsey Paulk, a second-year grad student got the opportunity to serve as a mentor for this year’s boot camp. “I’m not in the hot seat this year so it’s really interesting to be on this side and guide the first-years in a way that’s constructive but also comfortable because I’m not a supervisor that’s grading them. I can sympathize with them in how terrifying it can be, but I can also see how far I’ve grown. I wouldn’t be scared if I were sitting where they are now because I’ve gotten so much practice in this program,” she says.

If you are interested in the School of Communication Science and Disorder’s Speech-Language Pathology Program, you can view their undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs here.