By Kate Hunger
All 15 students in the first cohort of the speech-language pathology master’s program graduated on time, passed their national exam on the first try and landed jobs within two months of graduation.
Two-thirds of the class had lined up jobs before graduation, said Associate Professor Fang-Ling Lu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, speech-language pathology program director and interim chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Carolyn Perez is a member of the inaugural cohort. She is working at her dream job as a clinical fellow speech-language pathologist at Methodist Hospital for acute care patients. She credits her ability to perform at the level required in her job to the medical focus of the speech-language pathology program.
“I am super proud to have been part of the first cohort,” she said. “Even though we were the first and there were only 15 of us, we were able to lay a foundation for those coming after us.”
“I am on the tenth floor at work,” she said. “Everyday I look out and I see the school, and it’s a friendly reminder to me. I’m really proud to be able to see that every day.”
Perez was drawn to the program because of its medical focus.
“It took two things I loved, working in speech pathology and also the medical aspect of it, and married the two together,” she said. “That was what made me choose the program.”
The second and third classes of speech-language pathology students have 36 and 38 students, respectively. The Department has four full-time faculty members with varied abilities, skills and research areas, and is seeking a fifth faculty member, Lu said.
The program is “moving in the right direction,” she said, noting how dramatically the student population has grown since the first cohort began classes in the spring of 2018.
“We have 74 at this moment in the program,” Lu said. “From 15 to 74.”