March 15, 2022

Alumni Profile: Melissa MacAskill

Thinking outside the box and investing in her interests and skills led Melissa to a satisfying career in audiology


Following her undergraduate studies in linguistics and psychology (Carleton University, 2012), Melissa MacAskill pursued an MA degree at SFU to delve deeper into the subfields within linguistics prior to setting herself on a career path. Like many linguistics students, Melissa initially considered a career in Speech Language Pathology, but ultimately landed on audiology as the ideal fit for her interests and talents. To build on her MA in Linguistics (SFU, 2015), Melissa went on to the University of Ottawa where she completed her studies in audiology and is now employed as a clinical research audiologist at Fondation de l'AP-HP in Paris, France.

Melissa credits her MA in Linguistics to have provided her with a solid base from which to get the most out of her studies in audiology. Not only did she find a significant overlap in content, especially in regards to acoustics and phonological development, but also her engagement in a variety of research projects during her MA helped to develop strong research skills. The research skills gained during her time at SFU meant that Melissa felt comfortable getting involved in research projects during her audiology studies, helping to narrow her interests and strengths as a future audiologist.

Melissa's initial impression of audiology revolved around performing hearing tests and dispensing hearing aids, but she has learned there is so much more to the field! In her current work, she primarily sees patients with hearing loss that are followed in the ENT at the hospital adjacent to the Fondation de l'AP-HP. The foundation uses a wide range of clinical tools to evaluate hearing loss, speech perception, and other auditory capabilities, and focuses on finding new ways to evaluate patients and the efficacy of their treatment. A part of Melissa's work is to develop such methods, which includes testing the methods on research participants, utilizing her strong background in research methodology.

Melissa has fond memories of her time at SFU. She was very involved in the SFU community and enjoyed being surrounded by people who were passionate about linguistics yet who were taking their studies diverse directions. She encourages current students of linguistics to "think outside the box...if you have a special skill or interest there is almost certainly a way to leverage that within the field, and find an area of specialization that you really love."