Name: Allyson Oesch
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Graduation Date: May 2017
Company: Kentwood Public Schools
Location: Explorer Elementary
Amount of time at internship: January-April 2016
How did you become interested in becoming a speech-language pathologist? As an undergraduate student, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the health professions realm, however, I was uncertain as to the direction that I would lead. My initial interest sparked when I took a phonetics course with Dr. Eulenberg at Michigan State University. I was drawn not only to the science of language but the opportunity that augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices can bring to those with limited communicative abilities. With an innate desire to help others and the versatility within the field, I knew immediately that a career in speech-language pathology was the most rewarding and suitable role for me to fill.
Tell us about your graduate school journey: After I received my bachelor's degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from Michigan State University in 2010, I returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and took some time off to gain experience in a clinical setting. I worked for more than 2 and 1/2 years as an Activity Therapist at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. I spent most of my time organizing events that supported socialization and overall psychosocial well-being. I also was able to assist with feedings and food acceptance monitoring for large, food-related events at the facility. I observed those without the resources to the share their stories, those who had lost their voice due to traumatic events and I watched as they used their eyes and smiles to communicate. I knew then and there that help was needed for these men and women. Their willpower, perseverance and bravery inspired me daily to return to school to achieve a vocation in speech-language pathology. I was beyond grateful to receive an acceptance into the renowned graduate program at Michigan State University and began the start of my SLP journey this past fall. I am thankful for the opportunity to attain a clinical aptitude that will shape my ability to support others in their communicative goals, especially our military heroes who hold a dear place in my heart.
Describe the clinical setting and population you are working with at your current internship: I am currently placed at Explorer Elementary in Kentwood, Michigan. With the guidance of my supervisor, I am assisting children from the ages of pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. Our primary goals for our students are centered on language, articulation, fluency and voice. Explorer offers both a dynamic and diverse academic setting with more than 63 languages spoken within the school. We work with children in both group and individual pull-out therapy sessions and service those from an array of abilities ranging from cognitive impairments, developmental delays and emotional impairments. I am looking forward to getting to know the children and assisting them towards their communicative and language goals throughout the semester.
How has your internship helped prepare you for your career? My internship already has supported me in my career by providing me with the exposure to evaluations and treatment resources commonly used within the school setting. I am also learning the process of documentation, eligibility requirements, and personalizing goals and objectives for each student. The internship also has exemplified the power of encouragement and compliments through new and challenging tasks. I am looking forward to the skills and knowledge I will acquire throughout my time at Explorer Elementary and their application into future placements down the road.