As National NSSLHA’s VP for SLP Programming, I’ve helped plan student activities at the ASHA Convention for the past 2 years, and one of my greatest joys is creating a space where students can share their inspiration, passion, and excitement for our two professions.
But we also know that not everyone can attend Convention, so my fellow Executive and Regional Councilors and I gathered some of our biggest “non-clinical” ahas to share with you.
Enjoy Our Community
I met so many students and professionals who are in LOVE with audiology and speech-language pathology, and this experience united me with them. I’m excited to continue coming to Convention, my state association’s conference, and other professional conferences to build my network! —Leilani Melendrez, Regional Council, West
Convention allowed me to gain a solid sense of community. I’m blown away by the dedication, passion, and commitment demonstrated by the students I chatted with at the NSSLHA Lounge! —Jen Blake, Regional Council, Northeast
Meeting all the students in the NSSLHA Lounge was an inspiration! I was continually intrigued and impressed at the accomplishments of the students and just how active they are in their own NSSLHA chapters; the future of the profession is in good hands! —Mariah Benz, Regional Council, Central
The passion and excitement shown by the students, clinicians, and ASHA Board of Directors at Convention was contagious. I was reminded how lucky I am to have found the profession that fulfills me. Being able to share that with so many others who feel exactly the same way is affirmation that I am without a doubt, right where I need to be. —Chelsea Woodard, VP for Academic Affairs
For 4 days out of the year, I am surrounded by thousands of likeminded and motivated professionals and students. It’s a high energy and positive environment that I look forward to each year. Convention sparks my creative energy and I leave with new ideas and a different perspective. —Charlotte Miller, VP for Planning
This year, I gave my first Convention presentation. I was so nervous, but in the end, it was awesome sharing research that I’ve worked hard on. I was so proud! I definitely recommend presenting at ASHA or your state association. —Teigan Beck, President
For the first time EVER, I was honored to present my graduate research. Interacting with both students and professionals during this presentation allowed me to gain greater insight into my area of interest (AAC). —Mariah Benz, Regional Council, Central
I discovered a newfound confidence in myself when talking to professionals at Convention. Listening to a lecture with practicing clinicians, then having the opportunity to talk with them afterwards is an invaluable opportunity. Take that same initiative and find your own opportunities to ask questions and get advice from professionals in your community and network. —Brandon Roppel, VP for Programming, Audiology
Do not hesitate to begin conversations with professionals—they are all truly interested in helping you develop as a student and connecting you to any and all opportunities they think would help you grow. —Delphanie Wu, Regional Council, South
Learn New Things
We learn most when we take a step back and listen to others openly. Through the ASHA Leadership Academy, I learned more about my leadership strengths and how it’s my responsibility to find my additional strengths, seek mentorship and opportunities for growth, and further develop those skills. —Sarah Sleeter, VP for Programming, Speech-Language Pathology
One of the ASHA Honor recipients said, “Work hard without worrying who gets the credit, and you’ll achieve great things.” This struck my heart as something to live by. I do want to achieve great things for individuals with communicative disorders, and this piece of wisdom will help guide me for the rest of my career and life! —JJ Whicker, VP for Student State Officers, Audiology
One of the best parts about our profession is that we’re constantly learning so we can meet the culturally and linguistically diverse needs of our clients. At Convention, both in and out of sessions, I had the opportunity to strengthen these skills, and I’m truly grateful for that knowledge. —Michelle D’Mello, VP for Government Relations and Public Policy
As a second-year grad student, I got so much out of Convention. I attended sessions, asked questions, learned from other professionals, and motivated others to become student leaders. —Charlotte Miller, VP for Planning
My Personal Aha
As I reflect on those few days in Boston—a city steeped in history—I’m reminded of the quote from Hamilton: “This is not a moment, it’s the movement.” Yes, Convention was a moment, but our professions, our future, well, we’re part of a movement—a movement of passionate, engaged students and soon-to-be professionals, and I’m honored to be part of it with you.
Here’s hoping we meet in Orlando at Convention next year!