The man who once captured the heart of anyone he encountered was now lying in a hospital bed, void of his most valuable asset. My beloved grandfather had suffered a cardioembolic stroke, and predictably, the sheer absence of his speech shed light on the extraordinary value it held in his life. I stood helpless and scared, watching alongside my family members, as his recovery seemed out of the question. Unknowingly, this experience laid the groundwork for the career goal toward which I have been working ever since. Visiting my grandfather in the months to follow allowed me to understand the work and compassion of the medical speech-language pathologist, who successfully enhanced his outcomes related to communication, cognition, and swallowing. For the first time, I was exposed to a profession that fused my love of language and neuroscience with my desire to improve the lives of those around me.
Fast-forward 7 years and I have graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and will begin my clinical fellowship at Fulton County Medical Center next month. Each and every day, I feel thankful to be pursuing a career that allows me to integrate my passion for language and science with my desire to improve the lives of those around me; giving frustrated and scared clients of all residences and heritages the chance to regain their most valuable asset—communication.