By Kate Hunger
After working in higher education for several years, Victoria Garza felt something was missing. She came to an article about speech-language pathology in a newsletter from her alma mater that spoke to her.
“I felt like I had missed my calling,” she recalled.
So Garza, whose bachelor’s degree is in English, researched speech-language pathology as a second career option and entered a two-semester leveling program. She applied to be part of the first cohort in the School of Health Profession’s new master’s in Speech-Language Pathology program.
“When I got accepted, I cried,” she said, “I jumped for joy.”
Garza and the other 14 students in her cohort finished their first semester in May — which is recognized as Better Hearing & Speech Month by the American Speech-Hearing Association.
Garza, who hopes to work in a hospital setting after graduation, was drawn to the new program at UT Health San Antonio because of its medical focus. She’s been impressed with the faculty and the learning experiences she’s had so far – including observing a wet brain lab.
After the program welcomes its second cohort of 30 students in Fall 2018, admission and matriculation will be on an annual basis beginning with the third cohort in the Fall of 2019, said Fang-Ling Lu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, program director and associate professor.
The MS-SLP program is in the process of hiring a fourth faculty member and recently established a campus chapter of the National Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), a student-led organization with chapters at more than 325 colleges and universities.
Lu noted that the program is a member of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders and has been expanding opportunities for students to gain observation and clinical experience.
“The program has established a broad network of clinical affiliation sites that will provide SLP students excellent community-based observational and clinical practicum experience,” she wrote.
For Garza, the program is making her new dream possible.
“It’s everything I thought it would be and more,” she said.