Angelica Lai

August 19, 2022

Out of all the Linguistics courses at SFU, was there any particular lecture, topic, or professor that left a significant impression on you?

I took LING 220 - Introduction to Linguistics with Dr. Trude Heift during my first year at SFU. Her thorough and organized way of teaching the course made all the different areas of Linguistics very intriguing and make a lot of sense to me, which led me to pursue a major in Linguistics.

Dr. Henny Yeung played a major role in helping me move toward my goal of pursuing speech-language pathology. Through both his classes (LING 350 - First Language Acquisition & LING 415 - Neurolinguistics) and research lab (Language Learning and Development Lab), he has continuously given me encouragement and opportunities to pursue topics and projects of my interest.

What attracted you to the Speech-Language Pathology field?

I was initially attracted to the fact the speech-language pathology involves concepts from the fields of Linguistics and Psychology, both of which I enjoyed studying. Once I learned more about the scope of SLP, I liked how versatile the field is, in that I could potentially be working in a variety of settings with individuals of various ages and abilities.

How did you build a strong SLP application?

Once I started contemplating applying for a master’s program, I read a lot of the articles on the SFU Linguistics website about previous students who had ended up pursuing a career in SLP! This helped me gain an idea of the many different things that applicants can do in preparation for their application. I then made sure to be more deliberate about taking courses that were required prerequisites to apply, gaining volunteer experiences that could be related to the field in some way, and getting to know individuals (professors, SLPs, other professionals, etc.) that could potentially support me through the application process.

I had heard about how many previous applicants struggled with writing the statement of intent, so I made sure to start that a couple of months before the application deadline. I often felt that I sounded cheesy or ingenuine while writing about myself, but I did my best to put those thoughts aside to get words out first – many rounds of re-reading and revision would come later. A close friend of mine, who is a graduate student in a different field, was gracious enough to spend time reading over my statement and giving me feedback. Asking someone who worked in a different field to read my statement helped it become more comprehensible and appealing to a wider audience.

I was the most nervous about shadowing professionals and asking for reference letters. What I found helpful was being as well prepared as I could before I reached out and asked for help, so that I could feel at least some confidence from knowing I had tried my best. Preparation included things such as reading about certain professionals so that I could ask them meaningful questions, knowing some information about the programs for which I wanted to apply, and preparing information about myself (ex. resume, transcripts, statement of intent) to send to my referees.


  • LING 220: Introduction to Linguistics
  • PHIL 110: Introduction to Logic and Reasoning
  • LING 330: Phonetics
  • LING 401: Topics in Phonetics
  • PSYC 354: Development of Children's Thinking
  • LING 350: First Language Acquisition


Even before I decided to apply to SLP programs, I had a lot of worries when comparing myself to my peers. It seemed that everyone had greater accomplishments and more experiences, so I feared that I was moving too slowly and put off starting my application to avoid facing those thoughts. Looking back, I wish I didn't put off doing the things I wanted to try. I'd like to think that there's no one set way of accomplishing something, so everyone will move at their own pace and do different things along the way even if they're all trying to reach a similar goal.

In terms of asking people for help, I think that it's natural for most people to feel some degree of nervousness or uncertainty. You can't control every single outcome, so you might encounter people that will say no to you – but some people will be kind and willing to support your interests as long as your best and demonstrate a willingness to learn.