Kristi's Next Step
When Kristi Guzzo '06 enrolled in graduate school at the University of Rhode Island (URI), the toughest transition for her wasn't the academics, the large student population, or even the sprawling 1,200 acre campus. It was trying to make eye contact with the students she passed by on campus so she could say 'hi.' Krisiti couldn't help it; it's just what she was used to at Elms.
Like a cork in the ocean, Kristi has always managed to rise to the top in search of the next step in her career. After graduating from URI with her master's in communication disorders, she completed a clinical fellowship year at Mercy Hospital working with patients with brain injuries. Next she found a job as a speech language pathologist at Indian Orchard Elementary School. Three years later she became a speech language pathologist at Springfield's Warner School, where she oversaw two assistants.
While completing her certificate of advanced graduate studies at American International College, a professor recommended that she apply for a position in the Belchertown Public School System as director of student support services. The professor believed the interview would be good practice for Kristi. A week after the interview, Kristi received a call informing her that she was one of two finalists. An hour after the final interview, Kristi had the job.
Despite her career ascension, Kristi has always remained grounded in her Elms roots. When she received that last call, Kristi jumped around the apartment with her roommate and fellow Elms alumnus, Nicole Babeu '06. Their apartment is a few minutes from the Elms campus. Kristi drives by everyday and thinks of all the happy memories from her undergraduate years: sharing a dorm room with her best friends, Professor James accommodating for Kristi's busy softball schedule, and being able to make eye contact with passing students in the Quad who all knew her by name.
Kristi says that she chose a career in speech language pathology because she wants to help the kids that can't be understood. In her new position, she oversees all special education services, Chapter 504 services (for students with disabilities that don't require specialized instruction), English Language Learner services, home or hospital bound students, homeless services, and many other programs. She has less interaction with students but she still views the new role as positive. "At Springfield, I was helping about 120 students. Now, I'm helping 600. It's the same focus but on a different scale."