BECOMING A SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST (SLP) - ALUMNI PROFILE
Szera started her degree in Fall 2014 and convocated in June 2018.
She majored in Linguistics, minored in Learning and Developmental Disabilities, and completed a Certificate in Speech Sciences.
She had also been involved in the Language Learning and Development lab, the Center for Research on Early Childhood Health and Education, and the Linguistics Student Union.
What attracted you to SLP?
I’ve always like working with kids and hoped to find a career where I could help people do something, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to help them do. I remember having a phone interview with an SLP after I graduated high school and thinking that the work she did seemed like something I could see myself doing. At SFU I really enjoyed courses that covered communication disorders and language development so I started looking into Speech Pathology more seriously. I shadowed an Audiologist and an SLP that worked regularly with a child and their family and I appreciated the trust and relationship building aspect of their job as well. In the end I decided that I wanted to help people with communication.
What do you think made your SLP application successful?
I wrote a lot of drafts and asked people to read them over and rip them apart! I did a lot of soul searching down at Career Services appointments and got to know myself really well over the three weeks that I wrote the letter of intent. Every week I left with a long list of things to edit. It was so helpful and made my application a million times better. I also asked Rita to read it over and share advice. Her knowledge about the application process and her knowledge of my academic journey at SFU were indispensable! Because Rita knew me and about some of the things that I’d been up to over the years she was able to tell me when I was selling myself short or when I needed to kick it up a notch to really show that I was an excellent candidate.
What advice would you give to new undergraduates who aspire to be SLPs?
Start thinking about program prerequisites early. Look in to the schools. Get to know your professors. Volunteer. It’s important to be getting experience throughout your degree. It makes filling your application so much easier. Do things you enjoy and that you can pull threads of into your letter. When it comes to the application, get help, start early. I did it pretty rushed with the bulk of it down in the three weeks before the deadline. This is stressful. Do not do this.
Out of all the linguistics courses at SFU, was there any particular lecture, topic, or professor that left a significant impression on you?
I really had a great time throughout my undergrad, I encountered many excellent professors and took a bunch of really interesting courses! In particular I enjoyed First Language Acquisition and literally any Syntax course with Keir Moulton. I also can’t thank Henny Yeung enough for the instruction and support he’s given me through my time in his lab.