The career path that I have chosen, Speech-Language Therapy, is rooted in my teenage years and my successful struggle to overcome a speech impediment. When my family moved from Puerto Rico to Florida when I was 15, I brought all the angst that immigrant teenagers of that age often have due to the insecurity and delicacy of this epoch of life. This angst is often exacerbated by low levels of ability in English as was the case with my family and me. Thus, already facing a challenging situation, my frontal lisp, at least for me, became a significant issue. The new girl, the foreigner who already spoke English strangely and haltingly, did not need a lisp on top of it as I tried to make friends in a new land and manage the transition from girl to woman.
I survived the jeers and bullying, and I credit much of my salvation and redemption to the bilingual speech-language pathologist at my school, who helped me overcome my speech disorder while struggling to adopt English as my primary language, especially at school. This bilingual SLP professional is my foremost role model. Following in her footsteps, I found my mission.
As I completed my bachelor’s degree, I was especially drawn to the clinical specialty of speech and swallowing. I began to shadow professionals in this area at the Head and Neck Surgery Department at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I remain forever grateful to these professionals for sharing their knowledge and expertise with me. Cancer patients evaluated and treated for swallowing disorders resulting from surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy were the foundation of my field experience in this specialty. In my spare time, I also volunteered at the Orlando VA Medical Center, gaining exposure to geriatric care patients with swallowing impairments following illness, trauma, or disease. When I joined the working world, my focus shifted to Pediatrics, and I worked as a speech-language pathologist assistant in the home health and clinic settings. Monthly scheduling, lesson plans, soap notes, meetings with parents and field professionals; most importantly, I treated a range of disorders: receptive and expressive, articulation and phonology, Autism spectrum and Downs Syndrome, etc.
I feel especially needed and called as a bilingual SLP professional because I have seen the great need in the area throughout my time in Texas and Florida. I look forward to continuing to study very closely the complex ways in which speech difficulties can be confused with second-language-learning problems, further placing a handicap on immigrant, Spanish-speaking children, most of whom are already at a grave social disadvantage in our society. While studying for the Master’s Degree in SLP at XXXX University, I look forward to learning from world-renowned experts in the field engaged in fascinating, cutting-edge research. Continuing to study and reach new levels of experience and knowledge are why I “tap dance” to work every day, striving to make a difference. The skills and experience I bring to my studies at XXXX University will enable me to excel as I give my all alongside scholars and fellow students. My ultimate professional goal is to open my multidisciplinary therapy center focusing on sensory integration.
I volunteer at XXXX’s Autism Speaks. Most recently, I have been incredibly proud of winning the Employee of the Month Award this past January 2018 on my job with Maxim Healthcare Services. I am driven by compassion for animals and people, and my hobbies include canine rescue, helping at the animal shelter, etc. I also scuba dive.
Thank you for considering my application.