Student Spotlight: Abby Pounds ’22
Abby Pounds ’22 decided to attend her father’s alma mater, Hardin-Simmons University, to pursue a degree in communication sciences and disorders after witnessing her grandfather’s experience with speech therapy following his Parkinsons’ diagnosis. Abby has always had a heart for working with children, so when she discovered that speech pathology provided a unique avenue for doing just that, she was hooked.
“When I started this degree, I initially wanted to work with kids,” shared Abby. Throughout her time at HSU, Abby learned there is so much to the communication science and disorders field beyond working in schools. “Speech pathologists are in hospitals working with adults with brain injuries, in nursing homes with the elderly, and in the NICU with feeding newborns,” she shared. The diversity in work placement and patients speaks to the impact speech pathologists can have.
Abby’s favorite part of the communication sciences and disorders program at HSU has been the hands-on experience. The summer before each student’s senior year, they are given the opportunity to gain 25 hours of clinical experience. This past summer, Abby and her class worked with children with autism at HSU’s Houston-Lantrip Center for Literacy and Learning.
Additionally, Abby thanks Mrs. Becky Saterbak, Department Head of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Assistant Professor, for her positive experience at Hardin-Simmons. “Mrs. Saterbak was really clear in her lectures and never hesitated to answer my questions,” stated Abby. “She helped me with interview prep, critiqued my personal statement, talked me through the application process for master’s programs, and advocated for me. Without her classes, I wouldn’t be as confident as I am about this career field and about going into graduate school.”
Mrs. Saterbak is among many women who have inspired Abby as she has explored this career field. Abby shared that watching women from different backgrounds learn to thrive in different areas of the field has empowered and encouraged her to follow their examples.
“You have to be relational to be able to connect with somebody and help them pursue getting their voice back,” stated Abby. “Sometimes, speech pathologists are some of the only medical professionals afforded enough time to sit down, listen, and form a connection with a patient. Often, speech pathologists can notice when counseling should be recommended and offer empathy where it is needed.”
Throughout her time on campus, Abby has been involved as a tour guide for prospective students, an intern for the Baptist Student Ministry, and has been involved in First-Year Experience and Student Engagement as a First Year Mentor and Steering Committee member.
The senior will complete her undergraduate degree this May and will continue her education down the road at Abilene Christian University. Following her master’s degree, Abby hopes to enter the field as a speech pathologist.
“I feel like I’m learning something new every day,” Abby joked when asked about what the Lord is teaching her in this season. “God has been teaching me about contentment as I’ve waited to hear back from graduate schools. Sometimes there is so much pressure to figure things out. I’ve been learning that contentment isn’t just being okay with where you’re at; it’s a trust in the Lord that He’s sovereign and good. Because of that trust, there is joy and peace that overflows regardless of our circumstances.”