“Just Go For It!” A Conversation With Past Recipients of NSSLHA Member Honors

My name is Whitney Bauman, and I serve on the National NSSLHA Executive Council (EC) as vice president for programming in audiology. I’m also last year’s recipient of the Rising Leader in Audiology Member Honors award. Each year, National NSSLHA recognizes members who have gone above and beyond in accomplishing their goals. I would highly encourage others to apply for Member Honors, applications for which are due March 31! 

I connected recently with fellow recipients of 2022 Member Honors. They shared how the award inspired them, what made them a strong nominee, and offered advice for those considering nominating themselves or others. Here’s what they had to say!


Susana Hernandez, Excellence Award—Audiology 

Susana Hernandez

How has the award inspired you? This award has inspired me to continue serving my community as best as I can and continue to strengthen my skills as a culturally competent clinician.  
What advice do you have for someone who is considering a nomination? My advice would be to never doubt yourself and think you are not worthy of a nomination. Just go for it! 

Alicia Parsons, Speaking Out and Being Heard Award 

Alicia Parsons

How has the award inspired you? I have felt inspired to expand my advocacy efforts by volunteering and reaching out in my community to individuals with developmental disabilities. 

What made you a strong nominee? I am passionate about disability rights and neurodiversity-affirming practices. I took on a role as the Ohio State University NSSLHA Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, published an article about ableism in CSD for the NSSLHA blog, and participated as a panelist to talk about ableism in CSD with other students within this field.  

What advice do you have for someone who is considering a nomination? I advise to be an advocate when and where you can. Believe you can be a great contribution to this field by confronting social issues that are relevant in our field and standing up for what is right. 

Annemarie Slocombe, Legislative Liaison of the Year 

Annemarie Slocombe

How has the award inspired you? Receiving the Legislative Liaison award has inspired me to devote time for altruism. As I progress through my program, I am reminded that our field can inspire and empower our clients, their families, and other professionals. I admire community supports that value speech and language services and provide them to members of the community. 

What made you a strong nominee? I was a strong nominee because the community I live in provides related services at the county level. Public health initiatives help bridge the gap between providers and members of the community. I was able to join a team that was valued within the community. Within this framework, I learned the benefit of providing home and telehealth-based services to counteract barriers that impact service delivery models. 

What advice do you have for someone who is considering a nomination? If you are considering a nomination, please take the next step and apply! Remain confident in your experiences and take time to reflect on your impact as a student clinician. 

Gabriella Billups, Excellence Award—Speech-Language Pathology 

Gabriella Billups

How has the award inspired you? Receiving this award has inspired me by boosting my confidence in the impact I am making and encouraged me to make an impact beyond my university and into the field.  

What made you a strong nominee? My dedication to my NSSLHA chapter and the experience of our members made me a strong nominee. I wore whatever hat was needed to get the job done and tried to always do so with a smile and open arms.  

What advice do you have for someone who is considering a nomination? My advice for anyone considering a nomination would be to always lead with the passion you’ve developed for this profession and don’t be afraid to try/advocate for things yourself when no one else is interested in your ideas. I was not expecting this nomination, but I was passionate about inspiring and connecting others and that was reflected in my efforts leading to a surprise nomination.   


Each of last year’s winners demonstrated passion, commitment to service, and general excitement. When it came to my submission, I had held several leadership positions within my NSSLHA chapter, including president, faculty liaison, and advocacy committee chair. I also served as the audiology Student State Officer (SSO) for Ohio. In the application, I explained specific initiatives/events I coordinated that aligned with NSSLHA’s values, such as graduate school information nights, fundraisers, and community service events. Lastly, I explained my leadership goals for the future, and that I intended to apply to serve on the National NSSLHA EC. 

If you’re considering Member Honors, my advice is this:Don’t be afraid to apply! Be confident in yourself and your experiences! Additionally, don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles early on in your academic career. 

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