Sarah Girouard ’18 is attending graduate school to become a licensed speech-language pathology expert.

Helping Kids Find Their Voices

“Communication sciences and disorders and speech-language pathology assistant” is a mouthful to say, with its jumble of consonants and vowels, nouns and conjunctions. It’s fitting, then, that Sarah Girouard ’18 is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in CSD and an associate’s degree in SLPA so she can help children overcome linguistic challenges.

Photo of Communication Sciences and Disorders student
As Sarah started her senior teaching practicum at William E. Norris Elementary School in Southampton, MA, her “heart exploded” when she saw how diligently her speech therapy students practiced their exercises.

“Communication is so vital to our society,” she said. “That’s why I chose this field. Working with children, you know that what you’re doing is helping them for the rest of their lives.”

'Working with children, you know that what you're doing is helping them for the rest of their lives.'

The Graduate School X-Factor

CSD/SLPA majors at Elms have the rare opportunity to accumulate 100 hours of clinical practicum experience before graduating — something that not every college senior has the luxury of listing on their grad school applications. Students like Sarah also complete a rigorous senior seminar class that involves authoring a research paper, facilitating 30 minutes of class discussion on the paper topic, leading a group activity, and presenting the details of the research for 75 minutes. Participating in this type of immersive learning and scholarly dialogue was more beneficial than Sarah initially realized, as it made her grad school applications stand out.

“To be at a school and do a clinical practicum in undergrad is unheard of,” she explained. “It sets me apart from other applicants.”

Pairing her robust clinical experience with her keen expertise on central auditory processing disorders, Sarah was accepted to the prestigious master’s program in speech-language pathology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Not only will she expand her knowledge at her No. 1 school of choice in fall 2018, she will also start the program with a leg up on the rest of her UMass cohort — 75 of her clinical practicum hours will count toward her graduation requirements.

'I wouldn't trade my education for the world. Now I'm able to pursue my dream.'

When Sarah graduates from the two-year program, she will be eligible for a certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology, or CCC-SLP.

“I wouldn’t trade my education for the world,” she said. “Now I’m able to pursue my dream.”

Do you have an interest in speech, language, and hearing? Do you consider yourself a creative problem solver? CSD and SLPA majors at Elms blend their strengths in these areas to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Contact us or schedule a campus visit to learn more.