Alumni panel plays a key role in diversity event in the Department
The Department hosted its first Career Exploration and Diversity Workshop on October 26, 2019. The half-day event was open to all majors and more specifically to students who value diversity and are passionate about the healthcare industry. The event was support through a grant obtained by Department faculty, Dr. Amber Franklin and Dr. AJ Olszewski through Miami’s Center for Career Exploration and Success.
"We want to expose more students on campus to our major, the opportunities, and the different settings they can work in," said Department associate professor Amber Franklin.
"I think there are a lot of students who may be interested in speech pathology and audiology but just aren't aware of these careers," said Department assistant professor Arnold Olszewski.
In the state of Ohio, the field of speech pathology and audiology lacks diversity. According to Franklin, 96.1% of practitioners are white, and only 2.1% African-American. In addition, over 90% of practitioners are female. "We are looking to promote the field among underrepresented groups, such as people from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds, men, and bilingual speakers," said Franklin.
We were fortunate to have four program alumni (pictured above) return to serve as panelists. Current students had the opportunity to ask questions about experiences in the field and discuss the diversity gap in the healthcare industry, career options, employment settings, and graduate school obstacles. Associate clinical professor Chip Hahn and Gregg Thorton, Esq, executive director of the Ohio Speech and Hearing Professionals Board, also served as panelists. The keynote speaker for the event was Danai Kasambira Fannin, PhD. Fannin is an associate professor in the communication disorders program at North Carolina Central University. In addition, she is the Professional Development Manager for the American Speech and Hearing Association’s Special Interest Group on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity.
Dr. Franklin and Olszewski hope to continue the efforts begun on this event by exposing underrepresented students from local middle-and high schools to the profession, hosting an annual diversity workshop, and supporting a student organization focused on multicultural issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders. If you are interested in supporting future diversity recruitment and retention efforts please contact either Dr. Franklin or Dr. Olszewski.