January 07, 2021

Passion and Perseverance Bring Linguistics Alumnus to the End of Her Masters Program Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Growing up with a younger brother with non-verbal Autism played a defining role in Chantelle Adamson’s decision to become a speech pathologist. The SFU linguistics alumnus remembers having many SLPs go to her home to do intensive therapy with him. “I saw the impact that they made in his life by giving him a means to communicate through augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and providing him with a voice.” It only took her second year as an SFU student to solidify her decision that this career path was the right one for her.


Years later, Chantelle has officially completed her Master of Speech Pathology degree at the University of Queensland, Australia. Sadly, for Chantelle, like many other graduating students, the COVID-19 pandemic has paused any convocation ceremonies and celebrations. Having said that, Chantelle is still celebrating her accomplishment, and acknowledges her greatest success to be “completing my master’s degree through a global pandemic!” Expanding on this, Chantelle emphasizes that her largest hurdle during the pandemic has been the “need for adaptability and flexibility,” specifically for both her courses and clinical placement. She notes that she struggled with the transition to online course delivery. She very much missed the opportunity to interact in person with her fellow peers and instructors. She recounts the high levels of discipline and motivation that she practiced in order to maintain her success as a student in the program. Chantelle faced similar challenges for her clinical placement, as Metropolitan hospitals in the Brisbane area were suspended in March due to the risk of COVID-19. This too transitioned to an online platform and she had to undergo her telehealth therapy sessions via Zoom. Demonstrating attributes of a truly ambitious student, Chantelle still chooses to look at the positive side of things and admits that as challenging and stressful as this cohort of her program was she is grateful to have had the chance to learn a new service delivery model.

Now that Chantelle has completed her degree, she is planning on moving back to Canada. She is currently in the process of completing her registration with the College of Speech and Hearing Professions of BC, and in the meantime, will reside in Brisbane area to gain some clinical experience before returning home.

When asked if she can offer advice to any SFU students who are contemplating pursuing speech pathology as a career, Chantelle is honest: “Applying to Speech Pathology programs in Canada is hard work! I tried for many years and was either waitlisted or not offered a spot.” However, acknowledging this, Chantelle also firmly believes that “you can find a way to get to your dream career if you put your mind to it,” and she is a true testament of this. She also suggests that although academics are important, varied volunteer work is just as much so. “If you are given opportunities for volunteering to work as a speech pathology assistant, take them!” She explains that not only do you gain the experience and are able to get a true feel of what it would be like to work in this field but also, many of the volunteer opportunities may transition into paid positions.


Article Written by Michelle Beninteso