Regional Councilor Garrett Nathan
Contact Garrett at NSSLHA.Region6@gmail.com.
Major: Speech-language pathology
Expected date of graduation: July 2016
University: Fort Hays State University
Area of professional interest: Adult language, neurogenic disorders
Connect with other students in Region 6: Region 6 Facebook page, ASHA Community Region 6
Interest Statement: My interest in national leadership initially developed when I became a member of my local NSSLHA chapter while attending the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. At the time, I wanted to pursue leadership in my national organization to enhance my leadership skills and become more involved within my profession. As a graduate student at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, my reasoning for pursing leadership in my professions' national organization has not changed, but has evolved over time. As I have grown professionally, I have understood the importance of developing strong leadership skills, networking with other professionals, and becoming involved with one's professional organization. I have gained these leadership ideals through meaningful conversation with my academic advisor and mentor, Dr. Fred Britten, speaking with members of the ASHA Board of Directors at the 2014 national conference, and through past leadership opportunities I have been given. As a graduate student in speech-language pathology, I wish to take advantage of the benefits of serving on the Executive Council of NSSLHA.
Serving as a Regional Councilor would not only benefit myself, but also the undergraduate and graduate students in speech-language pathology and audiology in Region 6. This position would allow me to strengthen my listening abilities, appropriately advocate and further my collaboration skills to serve all students within the seven state region. Personally, I believe this opportunity will benefit me, allowing me to further my networking and leadership skills within our national professional organization, ASHA. I believe becoming involved with NSSLHA will assist me in pursing my goal of seeking leadership at the national level once I become a fully credentialed professional.
I am not only interested in pursing national leadership for my own personal growth, but to also serve and impact student members in our association. As a member of the Executive Council, I would not only serve students in Region 6, but would also be serving all NSSLHA members across the nation. While being apart of my local chapter of NSSLHA at the undergraduate and graduate level, I have appreciated the sense of community with other students. As a Regional Councilor, I hope to promote the sense of community throughout chapters in Region 6. I want to express to both undergraduate and graduate students the importance of belonging to a professional organization and the numerous opportunities membership in NSSLHA provides. NSSLHA provides incredible opportunities for leadership development, professional and personal networking, and service learning. I wish to make further advances to our student organization by highlighting these opportunities to students promoting their significance to personal and professional success.
The Future of NSSLHA: I believe the NSSLHA organization is a great resource for students in the field of speech-language pathology and audiology. NSSLHA not only provides students with a sense of community, but also encourages student involvement, provides access to up-to-date research, and promotes academic success to all student members. I wish to see the NSSLHA organization further promote the numerous opportunities available to students. Students are able to participate in leadership development, service learning, and other learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Student's need to be aware of these extra-curricular opportunities due to the increasing challenge of being accepted into graduate school for both speech-language pathology and audiology. The skills students acquire through membership in NSSLHA could possibly allow individuals to be a more competitive applicant.
As a member of the NSSLHA Executive Council, I would like to see NSSLHA promote and actively focus on underrepresented students pursing either profession. Whether it is to recruit males or racial ethnic minorities, I believe as a national student organization, we need to educate, promote, encourage, and target future underrepresented students as members to our profession. If we acknowledge the lack of diversity within the profession and develop an action plan, I believe that our organization and profession will strengthen as a whole. I personally have seen the numerous benefits that underrepresented students in our profession offer to clients in our field. They strengthen our profession both clinically and professionally. Clinically, these students are able to offer diverse views, make different clinical judgments, and better suit the needs of specific clients in certain situations. Professionally, they may be able to offer differing views within our profession, thus enhancing the development of research and professional topics within our national organization. It may also assist in recruitment, retention, and leadership development of underrepresented students and future professionals.
By serving as a regional councilor, I will continue to be a voice for underrepresented students within the region and at the national level. In addition, I will encourage collaboration with NSSLHA to seek out methods of recruitment for underrepresented students across the nation to increase diversity, enhance clinical services, and strengthen our profession as a whole.
NSSLHA Benefits: NSSLHA is an organization for and operated by students who value their concerns within the profession. Members of NSSLHA are offered various benefits of being a part of the organization. I believe the greatest benefit of being a NSSLHA member would be the resources available to students. However, many members do not understand the vast number of resources that a student membership offers.
Membership to NSSLHA offers academic resources, such as full access to ASHA journals, discounted rates to the national convention, and access to ASHA portals. These numerous resources provide an opportunity to learn outside of the classroom and become knowledgeable about current topics within the profession. NSSLHA also offers members with professional resources to assist them as they begin their career. For example, these resources include the NSSLHA-to-ASHA membership conversion discount, technical assistance from ASHA, and professional liability insurance as students begin professional practice. Whether an undergraduate or graduate student, these academic and professional resources allow members to take full advantage of their NSSLHA membership.
NSSLHA members are given the opportunity to attend the luncheon as part of The NSSLHA Experience at the National Convention. This past year, I participated in this event and was amazed by the number of students from all over the nation. When I was at the luncheon, there were two members at my table from the New York City area. During the luncheon, I was able to learn more about their graduate program, their clinical experiences, and how they operate their chapter. In return, they were very interested to hear about my graduate program, clinic caseload, and how our NSSLHA chapter operated. Conversation with these two individuals allowed me to gain new ideas as a professional, develop contact with fellow student members, and establish a potential professional network.
At the NSSLHA luncheon, I was impressed by the diversity of students, from all over the country. An improvement for future luncheons might be to encourage members to develop professional contact with individuals they do not know. For example, this opportunity may happen if students are given a certain color on their admission ticket. Upon entering, students would find the appropriate table that corresponded with the color on their ticket. Members would then be encouraged to sit with individuals they do not know, thus promoting the establishment of relationships, opportunities to share ideas, and encourage future networking within our profession.
My recommendation is not vital yet, I believe a simple modification could enhance the organization and membership experience as a whole. As a member of the Executive Council, I would be willing to help promote and establish positive change to strengthen our organization. These collaborative efforts for improvement will only function to better the organization and ultimately benefit the members. I would look forward to being involved in this planning should I be selected as a Regional Councilor. I am reedy to accept the challenge.
Regional Delegate Jessica Salley
Major: Speech-language pathology
Expected date of graduation: May 2015
University: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The Future of NSSLHA: As our field continues to grow, it is imperative that NSSLHA students advocate for our profession. By empowering students with opportunities and support, they will become the leaders of our field. In connecting chapters, both regionally and nationally, students will unite to share ideas and serve their community. This can be accomplished through more involvement of the Executive Council in individual local chapters and regular NSSLHA bulletins highlighting major events within the regions. These bulletins can inspire university chapters to expand from their traditional events. I believe that in connecting local chapters, NSSLHA will become stronger on the national level. NSSLHA could become more active in preparing students for their future careers. With a large scope of practice, there are many options for audiologists and speech-language pathologists that students are unfamiliar with. NSSLHA could provide information to mentor students earlier in their education, helping both students already dedicated to the field and ones unaware of it. By exposing the emerging trends and smaller niches, students can help meet the needs of the field and the community. Students applying to graduate school will also be more prepared in their career aspirations to find a program that matches their interests. As the PhD shortage becomes more recognizable and urgent, I believe NSSLHA's future can involve advocating for research at the undergraduate level. I was encouraged by a professor my junior year to complete a research project and I now have hopes to earn my PhD. If NSSLHA created a wider range of information and opportunities, such as student researcher spotlights, research blogs, or question and answer articles with current researchers, students would be drawn to this integral part of the field. Most importantly, I believe NSSLHA's future should meet the needs at the local, regional, and national level. This would entail engaging with local chapters and being mindful of trends within the field. Students will continue to feel supported and encouraged by NSSLHA to pursue their careers and lead the field.