Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Graduate Student Panel

Good evening NSSLHA! Our meeting today covered upcoming events and featured our Graduate Student Panel. Below are the key points covered - don't forget to comment below :)

Membership Dues
If you haven't been able to pay dues for the semester yet which are $25, Andrea will be collecting dues tomorrow from 11am-2pm by the CMB. If you have any questions, please email her!

Austin Speech Labs: Tomorrow, 2/25, kicks off the first day of our 3 day bake sale. If you sign up for a shift tomorrow, it will count as a service point. Also, don't forget to print out your Volunteer Sign Off Sheet, which is located as a tab on the top of the blog, and have it signed off to turn in at any point in the semester. If you are interested in Amplify Austin, please email Diana Mendoza for more information.

Growing Roots: If you are interested in volunteering with children with disabilities, primarily autism, please sign up to volunteer every Tuesday from 5:45pm-8:30pm and the Pan Am Recreational Center.

Earplugs for SXSW: March 10-12 - We will be handing out ear plugs and promoting ear protection for SXSW in West Mall. Shifts will be from 11am-1pm so please sign up!

Jamba Juice Gift Cards: Must be purchased by next Tuesday! $10 for 8 buy one get one free punch cards. If you are still interested, please contact Gabby ASAP.
Bake Sale: Our 3 day bake sale will be taking place this Wednesday through Friday. If you volunteer for a shift on Thursday or Friday, these points will be counted for fundraising.
For contributions: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F51CpIR3EY7k62OWh0xr2NcSB8kuFBr57wxFQ3W1PTM/edit#gid=0 
For shifts:

Explore UT: Thank you to all of members that signed up! Be prompt for your shift and you will be receiving a t-shirt as a volunteer!

TSHA Update
Who: ENTs, SLPs, Auds, Deaf Educators, Various Texas NSSLHA ChaptersWhat:Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association Convention, Spirit Day/Praxis Bowl, DinnerWhen: End of Spring Break! March 19-21(NSSLHA is staying at hotel nights of 20 and 21/Thurs and Fri) Where: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio

Active Members
Registration and 1 Hotel night paid for by NSSLHA. $50 for additional night
Money for dinner, Riverwalk spending/TSHA shoppe, and gas for driver

Inactive Members
Registration $60
Optional Hotel $50/night. $100 total
Money for dinner, Riverwalk Spending/TSHA Shoppe, and gas for driver

Don't register alone - meet with Tyler next week March 2nd and 3rd and he will register NSSLHA as a group when you pay

Graduate Student Panel
Natalie Czimskey
5th year PhD student; Completed Bachelor's and Master's here at UT
Her advice and information:

  • Look at the way Master's programs are laid out at each school you're applying to
  • 1st year: usually doing full time classes and clinic (on-campus practicum working with real live clients)
    • under careful supervision
  • 2nd year: doing off campus practicum, either internship or externship; Working as a real life SLP under the supervision of an actual SLP 
    • advocate for your placements - working more independently 
  • There is no "here's how you do therapy" class - it is trial by fire
  • No matter where you go to graduate school, forget about the top ten graduate schools: Nobody cares
    • ASHA tightly regulates what classes you're taking and what hours you're getting regardless of where you go
  • Don't be afraid to explore or change your interests 
  • While you're doing your Master's, nobody can force you to do research that you don't want to
    • You do research because you want to 
  • MA PhD Program
    • The advantage that it affords you in some places is that you only have to apply once, they will usually let you to do a couple of things to let you work for your PhD when you're doing your Master's, however it doesn't really cut off time. Occasionally will only save a class or two but the real advantage is not having to apply twice. 
  • If you're wanting the option to teach, the only way to have that is to get a PhD 
  • Don't go into Master's program with a job - see how it is and then decide if you can't handle it
  • Start worrying about where you're going to perform well - if what you need is family support, go to school near your family, if it's because of personal relationships, then do it; it's okay to choose a personal reason for your future school
    •  Don't feel forced to go to a top ten school!!!
  • Graduate's school goes by so fast - the only reason school ever matters is for your first job
    • Experience is what's important!!!
  • Asking schools for funding 
    • There is not a lot of funding right now - this field is flourishing right now making our field more competitive, and schools know they don't have to pay you to go to school because someone else will come if you don't.
    • Once you get accepted to graduate school, an application to being an RA or TA will be sent automatically and you fill it out immediately. If you don't receive this form, you express your interest in these positions and you may be able to get involved. 
      • Never go somewhere that won't pay for your PhD.
    • Funding opportunities often go to out-of-state students first.
  • Don't forget to advocate for yourself!
  • Keep in mind that in your Master's program, you can negotiate more
    • If there's something going wrong or something's not working, you can advocate for yourself and offer solutions 
  • Audiology works a little bit differently
    • 4 year program - 3 years of coursework, don't get a degree so you're still in "student" status, then 4th year is a year long externship where you're supervised (some are paid and some are not), and then you graduate as a CCC-AUD
      • Sometimes you can continue to work in your externship position
      • At UT: Do more on-campus because of the audiology clinic 
      • programs are usually smaller and it's less competitive 
  • SLP:
    • 2 years of coursework, graduate, then you have a year long job (CFY) where you get paid, and then you submit for CCC and you're then certified 
      • Usually your CFY job is continuous as long as you have a contract
  • If you really want an experience somewhere specific, it usually needs to be within driving distance but advocate for what you want!
  • If the school offers a summer externship program, then definitely take it
  • If you go to a school in a large city, options for placements are broader 
    • Be near metropolitan areas
  • SLPAs
    • Need extra observation hours 
    • On the job training after that 
    • Talk about requirements 
    • Hard to find, especially in metropolitan areas 
    • However, an SLPAs will definitely get into grad school 
  • GRE scores last 5 years and you can only take every 60-90 days so plan accordingly 
  • *****ASHA Ed Find: great tool when looking at graduate schools *****
  • Usually GRE isn't a hugely determining factor but it really depends on the university you're applying to
  • Your statement of purpose is not just filling in the blanks. Schools are looking at how well you can write so it needs to look like clinical, concise writing 
    • Let it reflect your knowledge and what you have done to prepare yourself for graduate school outside of the classroom 
    • You can mention personal experiences as long as you're comfortable with it 

Danielle Utianski 
2nd Year Graduate Student
Her advice and information:

  • Coursework simultaneous to clinic work 
    • Use ASHA EdFind: outlines every accredited program as to what they're specialty areas are if you have a particular area of interest, how they're doing it in terms of coursework and clinic, and also what your expectations of the university are and if they fulfill your needs 
    • Don't freak out if you don't have an area of interests
  • You can do a thesis or comprehensive exams at the end of the program
  • Intradepartment for first year students application - don't initially have to apply to MA PhD program; some schools have the first semester to submit an "informal" application 
  • People who are able to work most successfully while going to school are usually working as RAs or TAs
    • Try to find a job within the department that allows you to work towards what you're doing
    • Don't work more than 20 hours weekly!!!
  • Don't work your first semester - try and work the summer before to save money 
  • Thinking about what's important to you will affect why you choose a specific school 
    • Be open to the idea that you can go somewhere else
    • The decision can kind of be made for you and don't fight back
    • Find a program that meets your personal goals 
  • As soon as you get accepted:
    • contact graduate program coordinator
    • go to graduate school of the university that may offer scholarships that apply to all graduate students
    • contact financial aid: if you are getting at least $1000 of support from either department or private scholarship, you get an in state waiver
    • tuition reduction: working for certain hours at the university 
  • For those of you graduating, NSSLHA and the ASHA foundation gives scholarships for master's students 
  • Really have to be okay with putting yourself out there! 
    • As an approach to graduate school: it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when
    • Don't be disheartened by how long it takes you to get to where you want
  • Be willing to do the work if you want to work an externship that your university hasn't worked with 
  • Cater to schools that attend to your strong suits 
  • Don't write passion, SHOW passion

Ryann Akolkar
First year master's student - did leveling program
Applied to 19 different grad schools!!
Her advice and information:

  • If you're slightly interested in research, keep that critical thinking and integrate it into your practice because some schools may not emphasize that. Find professors in your school that gauge your research interests 
    • Before you apply, make a connection with the faculty and build a relationship before you even get there 
  • Why do you want a PhD? What's the advantage?
    • If you're not geared towards teaching or research, then it's really not for you. 
  • If you have applied and you're waiting to hear back, don't freak out!
  • Find out what your deal breakers are and always put yourself out there and be polite and together!
    • Make sure your materials give you credit to things you have done including volunteering and researching! Pull whatever you need to and write your statement of purpose with direction and focus. Ask yourself why what you're writing matters. 
    • Own it!!!!
  • Don't be afraid to write your professors to ask for funding - you don't know until you ask (politely
  • If you don't see a job posting, you call and make an opportunity!
  • Make sure you've got one foot in the field at all times - either through research or volunteer work 
    • If you're not getting observations here, find them somewhere else independently and especially someone who can build a relationship with
  • Email professors with similar interests to show what you're geared to 
    • Contacts are what's really important
  • Don't write passion more than once in your statement of purpose
    • Show your imrovements and don't make excuses 
See you at our next meeting, March 10th! :)


  1. Leeah Kohley

  2. Frances Ulep

  3. Rosa benavidez RNB589

  4. Will signups for SXSW be posted at a later time or am I missing them somewhere?

    1. We will be posting those as the event approaches! :)

  5. Shelby Callaway

  6. Monica Nevarez

  7. Ally Karpel

  8. bkv225
    bethany valadez

  9. Nicole Pena

  10. Katie Eastman

  11. Caroline Cranford

  12. Hannah Hullender

  13. Do I just go to the Pan Am recreational center to volunteer for growing roots, or is there a google doc as well?

    1. I'm not too sure about that but please email Diana Mendoza :)

  14. Kelly Curtis

  15. Rachel Whittemore

  16. read it
    -nisha george

  17. Lindsey Wineholt

  18. Great!
    Lauren Kelley

  19. Great tips! Magdalene Gonzales mcg2388

  20. Very helpful!

    Alyssa Ives

  21. Danielle de la Rosa

  22. Ariana Garza

  23. Caroline Dawson

  24. Alison Barry

  25. Alberto Garcia

  26. Mary Mellencamp

  27. Alisa Borrego

  28. Lanize Flores

  29. Crystal Omondi

  30. Bianca Chavez

  31. Elise Boutin

  32. Heather Grosenbacher

  33. I just realized my comment didn't go through on my phone:(
    Super helpful tips!
    Lauren Ross

  34. Mikayla Thomson

  35. Emily Zinsmeyer edz95

  36. Leslie Rodriguez lmr2693

  37. Alyssa Lucio arl955

  38. Georgina Elizondo gae327

  39. Jacqueline Silva

  40. Bhabika Joshi

  41. Megan Gonzalez