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Regional Councilor Chelsea Walker

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2015-2016 - Chelsea WalkerMajor: Speech-language pathology

Expected graduation date: May 2015

University: University of Georgia

Connect with other students in Region 3: Region 3 Facebook page, ASHA Community Region 3

Interest Statement: Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to grow as a student and future professional through NSSLHA. After a year of watching older members benefit, work hard, and take the organization to new levels, I followed in the footsteps of my role models by applying for the chapter's executive board. I was elected vice president in April 2014. From the moment I accepted the position, I made a pact to myself and the organization to hit full speed running by not only exceeding expectations in my job, but being a positive role model as were the ones who encouraged me to apply for the board in the first place. One of the many things I have learned through being a leader in such a professional organization is that leading by example carries a lot more meaning than 3 words and 16 letters could ever represent. I wanted to take you through the steps that led me to being vice president because I know that experience is what set the precedent f or how I will be a successful regional councilor. I have come to realize that leaving an organization better than you found it has nothing to do with the number of people you have impacted. The influence of having an impact on even one member speaks volumes because in the best case scenario, that one impacted member will be inspired to be the best helping professional, impacting a number of clients, as well as impact another member to continue the domino effect. If I had to choose the one reason I am most interested in this position, it would be just that: having the ability, through building relationships with chapters and other councilors, to inspire members, in turn growing the field, better serving clients, and advancing NSSLHA altogether. I am willing to put in the time necessary to grow these relationships, rethink my plan when a better one is presented, answer questions competently and realistically, and properly manage my time to serve and fulfill my duties. While I am very excited to potentially serve NSSLHA chapters in Region 3 as well as the executive council as a whole, I am thrilled to learn from such successful people. Regional councilor will provide another pathway for me to meet and network with a variety of people from all over the country, collaborate with ones who have different views than my own, and learn more effective leadership skills to bring into my future.

The Future of NSSLHA: First and foremost, I would love to see NSSLHA chapters at all schools, regardless of whether or not a college has an undergraduate program for communication disorders, speech-language pathology, audiology, etc. In order for this to happen, the importance of NSSLHA must be showcased and we must have people willing to act as consultants in helping colleges start their own chapter. This goal is attainable and I would be honored to help begin this movement. My chapter at the University of Georgia has never attained NSSLHA Honors until (hopefully) this year. While there is plenty of information on how to attain such Honors, having a mentor help follow the steps involved as well as providing monthly or yearly opportunities for chapters to further their efforts in attaining Honors is critical. This would be a great goal for regional councilors; planning advocacy, career awareness, and fundraising events while also encouraging chapters to go for Honors will help push every chapter towards making Honors a standard rather than an option. If attaining Honors becomes a standard, the word about NSSLHA would get out through career awareness and advocacy events (in turn sparking new chapters at schools) and more money for NSSLHA Loves would be raised. Ultimately, regional councilors could have an immense impact on the visions I have listed above by simply answering questions, working together to help fulfill national NSSLHA duties, and helping chapters see the ease of attaining honors if approached proactively. The members of NSSLHA are future professionals in the field of communication disorders. Altogether, these efforts will expand NSSLHA and encourage chapters to engage in activities that will further enhance member's experience in such a way that they are inspired to continue being an active, contributing member in the field and moreover, ASHA.

NSSLHA Benefits: When you look at a list of the benefits of joining NSSLHA online, there is a clear-cut list. However, if someone were to ask me what the benefits were, I would not immediately direct them to the list. Instead, I would briefly describe how NSSLHA has benefitted me over the past 2 years as I will do for you below:

The NSSLHA Experience at the ASHA Convention allowed me to extend my network with students and professionals, learning more about different areas of interest as well as opportunities to steer our NSSLHA chapter in new directions. While I did learn many career options through networking at the ASHA Convention, it inspired me to go out and promote career awareness in my community as it had been done for me. Simply making the community aware that there are careers as this one out there could grow our field immensely. Through NSSLHA, I had the opportunity to go to the Georgia State Capitol for the day and meet with legislators. While there were no issues in particular to discuss with them at the time we met, the relationships we began building there will be of use in future times of need. Becoming the vice president of NSSLHA has absolutely changed my life. Now, as I apply for this position, I see another opportunity (of many) NSSLHA provides for students to be leaders. Even if one is a member of NSSLHA and not in a designated "leadership" position, we are all leaders. We are leaders building a community of future professionals. That statement is empowering.

I have had the opportunity to learn about and give to a national philanthropy as well as a local philanthropy. Through NSSLHA Loves and UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic, I have had a helping hand in providing financial support for people needing therapy for their communication disorders. As this year was the first year for the UGA chapter to apply for Honors, it has opened my eyes to the room for growth at a local and national level. Knowing there is an opportunity for chapters to attain Honors has acted as an accountability agent in continually striving for excellence. There are always hidden benefits to being fully engaged in a professional organization. While I have found many "hidden" benefits along the way, the most noteworthy one I have come to notice is the value in being surrounded by people who cherish the same things you do while also having a different perspective. There is peace and encouragement in moving forward to achieve your lofty goals when you have soon-to-be professionals, professors, students, researchers, future clients, etc. standing around you as a NSSLHA body continually showing you why you chose to set that goal. Words will never be enough to describe the appreciation I have to be a part of an organization that continues to provide me an enriching experience that will forever be the reason I am who I am today and will be in the future.

Regional Delegate Katie Lesesne

2015-2016 - Katie LesesneContact:

Major: Speech-language pathology

Expected graduation date: May 2015

University: University of Georgia

The Future of NSSLHA: NSSLHA does a fantastic job at bringing together students during NSSLHA Experience at the ASHA Convention each year. I would love to see more opportunities like this and promote such events to ensure all chapters and officers are aware and more likely to participate. For example, strengthening the online community for executive members at different schools could be beneficial to helping chapter presidents collaborate with officers of different chapters on bigger projects. It would also help everyone to share all of their chapters' progress.

In addition to relationships amongst chapters, I would also love to promote relationships between NSSLHA members and executive council members. I would do so by personally contacting officers and making myself available to all. Furthermore, the ASHA Convention is an incredible tool that could streamline these sorts of connections. I would love to personally contact officers at different universities and encourage their officers and members to attend the Convention. I learned and benefited greatly from my experience at the ASHA Convention and NSSLHA Experience and believe this is an event officers should be required to go to.