CSD Graduates Admitted to Top Choice Graduate Programs
Graduate School for speech-language pathology (SLP) is highly competitive, and this year, six of the seven graduating seniors from Hardin-Simmons University in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) who plan to attend graduate school were accepted into their top choice school. The student who did not apply to graduate school works as a speech-language pathology assistant. Dr. Becky Saterbak, the department head of the Communication Sciences and Disorders department, said this has never happened since her time at HSU.
“Students are not only prepared academically, their experience at HSU with their leadership, volunteer, spiritual formation, and student life has also prepared them emotionally and ethically for the field of speech-language pathology,” Saterbak said.
According to Saterbak, to be chosen for SLP graduate school, students must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, a competitive GRE score, and a desire to help others improve their speech, language, or swallowing difficulties.
Saterbak says the strengths of HSU’s undergraduate program include “personalized attention and rigorous core classes combined with clinical experiences. A unique feature in the undergraduate department is that we provide clinical observation hours through partnerships with local institutions such as schools, hospitals, and early education centers.”
Elyssa Davis ’23 was one of the students accepted into graduate school, with her choice being Baylor University.
Davis is glad to have had the hands-on experience at HSU to prepare her for grad school and said she had gained 75 observation hours when grad school only requires 25.
“We do speech camp during our time in undergrad where we get to give therapy to kids for free, and you learn so much. It’s important to experience things hand on,” Davis said.
Davis mentioned that Baylor’s SLP program focuses on research, which she is highly interested in. In addition, her fiancé is currently studying at Baylor.
“You can learn and sit in class, but it’s hard to apply that in real life. Saterbak lets you apply what you’ve learned. She pushes us, and it’s hard at the moment, but it’s super worth it,” Davis said.
Dallie Ferrell, another senior from the CSD department, said she has always wanted to help others, especially kids.
“My mom had a stroke when I was in 8th grade, and watching all the therapists, especially the speech therapist, impact her recovery inspired me to want to do the same for others,” Ferrell explained.
Ferrell will be attending Texas Women’s University Distance Learning Program, which allows her to complete her graduate program online through TWU at Region 14 in Abilene.
“I completed speech camp in the Summer of 2022. It was one of the best experiences I had as an undergraduate student at Hardin-Simmons,” Ferrell said. “It allowed me to grow as a person, an undergraduate clinician, and to grow closer to my peers, who I know will be some of my biggest supporters and helpers as we go through graduate school and become speech-language pathologists.”
Although Ferrell is unsure what she will do after grad school, she said she enjoys working with the pediatric population and wants to find a job where she can work with children.
“My ultimate goal is to be a school-based SLP and help coach. I know God has a plan for me and will put me exactly where I am meant to be, so I will see where he takes me in the next couple of years!” Ferrell said. “During my 3.5 years at HSU, I grew in my faith tremendously, made some of my best friends, and established a strong foundation of people who provided me with opportunities and experiences that going to any other university would not have provided me with. Because of these people and my family back at home, I have made connections around Abilene that I will carry with me throughout my journey,” she said.