Regional Councilor and Council Vice President Danielle Utianski
Contact Danielle at NSSLHA.Region9@gmail.com.
Major: Communication Science and Disorders
Expected date of graduation: May 2013
University: University of Texas at Austin
Connect with other students in Region 9: Region 9 Facebook page, ASHA Community Region 9
I joined NSSLHA because: My 3 years in NSSLHA, 2 of which being at both the national and university levels, have shown me the tremendous benefits that NSSLHA provides its student participants. Indeed, there are monetary benefits to becoming a national member as an undergraduate student, as well as academic benefits, which include direct access to journal articles and research, but the most pivotal benefit offered are the resources in professional development. Even as an in-field student currently going through the graduate school application process, I had many misconceived notions about the field of speech-language pathology when I entered the major that were settled with NSSLHA's assistance. Through ASHA's S.T.E.P. Mentoring Program, I have had the chance to consult with a successful individual practicing with a specialty and in a setting of which I was unfamiliar. This provided perspective of someone who has gone through the processes in the field, while teaching lessons that far surpassed what is taught in a lecture. It reinforced how important it is to seek information beyond the classroom and how willing the speech and hearing community is to share their knowledge. Webinars, access to ASHA community forums, volunteer opportunities, and essay contests relating to the field that allow students to curtail costs of living further demonstrate NSSLHA's support to student success and the benefits available to students who take advantage of them.
I applied for a position on the NSSLHA Executive Council because: Attending the ASHA Convention for the first time this past year allowed me to see firsthand the culmination of the NSSLHA Executive Council's hours on conference calls and time in meetings. Experiencing the hard work invested by students across regions that built a friendship through their common bond of their field was inspiring. As a volunteer at convention, and taking part in NSSLHA's 40th anniversary, I had the chance to meet and talk with members of the council and was able to see their passion for the board and the speech and hearing professions paralleled in everyday conversation. Seeing the amount of involvement they had in collaboration with ASHA, in organizing advocacy events, and running NSSLHA Day at Convention, made me eager for the opportunity to share my excitement about NSSLHA and my future profession. I have acted as an unofficial liaison for my university to national events and programs through NSSLHA for the past two years and would enjoy the chance to take that role in a more official capacity. Student support given through the national NSSLHA chapter is essential in creating students who are not only excited, but also educated, about their future careers. Essentially, I am applying for the Executive Council for the chance to contribute to an organization that played a fundamental role in my journey as an "#SLPeep."
My two year term on the council will be successful if: I would like to see a greater involvement of local chapters with one another. This would allow students to advance professionally in developing networking skills, create a stronger and broader support system outside of their comfort zones, and encourage pride in not only their university, but also their region and the NSSLHA organization as a whole. At my home university, very few people understood or sought to research the benefits of being national member of NSSLHA. Social media is such a large aspect of life today and further involvement for students to "actively" tweet or post on regional Facebook groups, and create events that people outside of their chapters can take part of, will allow utilization of these tools to create action. Action towards building awareness of what NSSLHA stands for and advocates will give students a stronger forum to share their voice. I also think it is important to emphasize the importance of integrating equal representation of undergraduate and graduate students at the university level, as I feel that it will provide a learning opportunity for both parties in developing mentorships. I feel this relationship, that I was able to experience outside of my university, is one that could offset the frustrations and concerns experienced through the application process for grad school for others as well.
Regional Delegate Max Pell
Major: Speech-language pathology
University: Stephen F. Austin State University
Area of professional interest: Augmentative and alternative communication
I joined NSSLHA because: The biggest benefit NSSLHA gives to students is the invaluable assistance and resources with transition, both educationally and professionally. NSSLHA strives to provide support for members across the nation transitioning between undergraduate and graduate school, and from an educational setting to a professional setting—whether as an SLP-A, an SLP, an audiologist, etc. Also, by allowing NSSLHA members to access ASHA journals and other professional resources, it serves as an important introduction to research, evidence based practice, and academic writing. NSSLHA also greatly succeeds in the realm of engaging students in practical advocacy by encouraging participation in a political process directly affecting the professions. Through programs such as Virtual Advocacy Day, members gain an active role in a political process which affects varying aspects of both professional and educational life (i.e. therapy caps and student loan forgiveness, respectively).
I applied for a position because: I am applying for a position on the NSSLHA Executive Council because I have profoundly enjoyed watching my own chapter grow and hope to build bridges between chapters on a sub-regional level to promote camaraderie and open communication, thus empowering and strengthening individual chapters and NSSLHA as a whole. This would be my first position on a national board, should I receive it, but I feel that my passion for the organization and willingness to learn from and connect with the current Executive Council will provide me with the tools necessary to be a great leader in the organization.