Professional Learning Experiences

Professional Conventions and Conferences

First and second year graduate students are encouraged to attend professional conferences, such as ASHA and PSHA conventions.  ASHA's annual conventions is held in different exciting cities each year, including Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego and Atlanta.  Professional conferences offer the most current information in field, new and upcoming products, and much more.  The conventions are also a wonderful networking tool for students and provides them with the opportunity to meet many new people and see many exciting and interesting things in the field.  The students also have time to enjoy the cities and company of their classmates.

Real-World Experiences

As part of the coursework, students have the opportunities for hands-on learning experiences throughout the graduate program.  Some of the field trips include:

Advocacy and Lobbying:  Like other health professions, speech-language pathology is governed by laws and legislation which impacts all aspects of our work.  As part of a seminar in legal issues, students and faculty members meet with their legislative representatives in Washington DC to advocate and lobby for current issues which impact the field.  Students discuss and study legislation in the classroom.  They then meet with ASHA staff representatives and learn about the bill and lobbying techniques in a short seminar at the DC offices.  Students then meet with senators and congressional representatives in their Capitol offices to discuss the impact of the pending legislation and ask for their representative support.  The trip proves to be a great experience and fun for all student and faculty alike.

Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh
: As part of the field trip to the Children’s Institute, the students attend a presentation on various aspects of working with multi-handicapped children with emphasis on swallowing disorders, go on a tour of the facility, and meet several of the employees of the institute.  This is a great experience to help students grasp a better understanding of facilities for children with multiple handicaps and see first hand the many wonderful things that they could potentially do at this type of institute.

NSA Meetings:  The National Stuttering Association (NSA) has its own Pittsburgh Chapter which meets twice a month.  As part of the Fluency Disorders course, students attend an NSA meeting to better appreciate how support groups work and the benefits they can provide for people who stutter.  Often, students can create a relationship with some of the individuals who stutter, and this serves as a great learning experience.

International Students: Each year students from abroad come to campus to learn about careers in health sciences.  This past year, students from Spain, Paraguay, Columbia, Ecuador, Honduras, Bahamas, Greece, Korea, Peru, Japan, and Turkey came and discussed speech pathology.  In the photo below, Julie (Class of 2010) talks about stuttering therapy to the international students in the Fisher Hall classroom.

LifesWork: LifesWork is a wonderful facility located on Forbes Avenue which provides counseling and employment for those individuals with disabilities.  Students in the program have the opportunity to visit the facility and attend a presentation on LifesWork and the many different aspects of the organization.  Additionally, students meet with individuals with disabilities from LifesWork and help them to complete a survey on their experience at LifesWork.  Not only do the individuals enjoy the students’ company, but the students gain experience in their counseling abilities as well.

Mercy Hospital:  Students also enhance their educational experience by attending a presentation on Dysphagia (Swallowing Disorders) and MBS Tests at Mercy Hospital.  The students additionally have the opportunity to watch an MBS Test being performed while they evaluate the various aspects of swallowing.