Last week marked the BC Speech Language Pathology Center’s annual meet and greet where graduate students ate pizza and spoke about SLP. PHOTO/ M.A. Rahman
By M.A. Rahman
Published: September 12th, 2018
Brooklyn College students and faculty affiliated with the BC Speech Language Pathology Center met last week for their annual meet and greet which exhibited copious amounts of pizza and enough faculty devised horseplay to make even some of the most reserved students break into a guilty grin as they participated.
Speech Language Pathology (SLP) is the field concerning people with limited communication abilities as well as the ailments that cause such conditions. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) states that speech pathologists “prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.”
The aim of the meeting was simple – to get SLP students to become better acquainted with one another. “It can be so hard to get first year grads and second year graduate students together,” Professor Bergen, Director of the BC Speech Language Hearing Center, explained, emphasizing the numerous projects and collaborations that require students to engage with one another throughout the semester.
A career in SLP is not typically the response one expects from children when asked what would they like to do in the future. According to many graduate students at Brooklyn College, they have had their eye on a particular career choice, usually inspired by their own past experiences, since childhood.
One student said she felt compelled to get involved in this program after seeing firsthand the troubles that one of her younger siblings, born with a speech impediment, faced to get around day to day.
Another felt similarly, noting the lack of courtesy or outright ignorance people had when interacting with someone dear to them with limited communication abilities.
“My grandmother had a stroke, so seeing her try to still work around after it definitely had an effect on me,” said Christina Cannon, a first year SLP graduate
According to Professor Beaumont-Bowman and Bergen, the SLP course offered at Brooklyn College is extensive and offered to graduate and doctoral students on both the clinical side and educational side. Scholarship programs are offered and used by as many as 40 percent of the SLP graduates at Brooklyn College.
Desmond Rivera, a second year SLP graduate student, was one of the more unusual faces at such a meeting; he was one of only three male students in a room with well over fifty students.
Discussing this peculiarity, Desmond notes that it seems to come down to a simple matter of perception: men may view such an occupation (SLP) akin to other female-dominated careers like teaching and nursing, but in Desmond’s view, no job today should have a certain gender associated with it.
According to Bergen, there are certain attributes he finds in his students that he sees are needed for such a career choice, saying, “It’s not a course for anyone. You need to have care. It’s good if you’re smart, but you have to be empathetic.”