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So… I’ve spent the first six months in 2014 trying to decide whether I wanted to do a thesis or not. In the graduate program for speech-pathology, this is optional, so we have a choice. I asked around; students who did do one felt incredibly gratified and fulfilled. Those who did not do one were happy they didn’t. So apparently it’s a win/win situation.

I’ve always believed that research is an integral part of any profession, especially in speech-language pathology. So much of our practice depends on current research. It’s a part of our Code of Ethics to consider future advocacy and evidence-based practice.

I sat down and came up with the following list:


  • Your resume is amplified by three thousand percent. Okay, well, maybe it just makes you look much more marketable.
  • It’s really fulfilling. God’s always on your side.
  • They open up areas you’d never dream about.
  • More networking opportunities because you work with professionals from different fields and different schools locally or globally.
  • Chances of getting a job increase.
  • You learn tons about gathering and conducting research.
  • People are more likely to take you seriously during and after working on said thesis.
  • You’re a foundation for future research.
  • You get to learn about something you’re really interested in!
  • Other issues are addressed through your research.
  • Major pride points when you’re done!
  • You get to present at conferences and everyone will offer you jobs (maybe.)
  • You may even get PUBLISHED.
  • You give others the opportunities to share in your successes (and non-successes).
  • Think of that Doctorate. Dr Liu? Yes.
  • You get great support from your advisors and your department.
  • It may be much harder to start if you decide to do one after you graduate.
  • More access to resources because you’re in school. Think of how many free articles you get thanks to the Library.


  • They’re definitely not as easy as they seem.
  • How will you ever decide what to do?
  • The Institutional Review Board is another process in itself.
  • Dat defense at the end
  • A doctorate really isn’t in store for you. Isabella Liu, M.S. CCC-SLP vs. Isabella Liu, PhD. M.S. CCC-SLP??
  • Funding is really hard to get. Both for the class, and for recruiting participants if you’re doing some controlled trials.
  • You’ll have to collaborate with other institutions if you need more resources.
  • Longitudinal studies are exactly what they seem… long.
  • You may have to start over from scratch.
  • You’re still in school and working jobs when you’re doing your research.
  • You have to sift through as much as you can of all existing research to compile your literature review, and not every 15 to 20 page article is going to be easy to read.
  • Outdated sources are still credible to a certain extent so you can’t automatically throw those to the side.
  • Your time will be eaten up by writing, writing, writing, reading, reading, reading…
  • You may not get a supervisor that’s always on the same page.
  • You reeeeaaalllllyyy don’t want to do one.

So… what do you think? It looks like the pros outweigh the cons. Some schools and departments make it a matriculation requirement, and I can see why. But when you have a choice, you’re faced with a tough decision that will eat up a lot of your time, but you have nothing to lose. I am reminded of the a quote from Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter lore: “Soon, we must choose between what is right, and what is easy.”

Guess that pretty much decides it, eh?


A lot of our values growing up have been shaped by movies and television and I’m not ashamed to admit it. This spring break, I’ve been catching up on a TV show called “Supernatural.” It’s about two brothers that fight evil forces in the world. The show is funny, graphic, and full of cool visual effects, but what I take away from it is not that demons or angels exist, but that family is one of the strongest forces one can have. These two brothers will really fight for each other, and I find that really inspirational. But the show also tells you that family doesn’t always have to be blood.

After each show, I think of my own family.  I think of my friends that make my family here. They fight for me in ways that I don’t realize. I also believe that God fights for me. And yet, it’s hard to remember that. On days when it’s hardest to see the light, it’s hard to see how many people are rooting for you!  But hey, they are rooting for you!

That really comforts me. Our inner demons can be vanquished by the power of community and love. It’s a refreshing and comforting thought. And I’m glad that Fontbonne is one of those fighter communities that really reaches out to you when you need it!


Charity Musings

by Isabella on March 10, 2014

in Uncategorized

This morning, my friend Jes and her father loaded almost 10 bags of gently used clothes and goods into my room. Why? Because I’ve been collecting such donations for the past three months to send to my aunt, who works with the local government in Antique, Philippines, with Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief. I am relieved and overwhelmed by the charism of our community. Why relieved? Because I didn’t think I could pull off this project! Being in graduate school, my time is taken up by my practicum and classes, so there’s little time for promoting this widely. But thanks to word-of-mouth, ODK (Omicron Delta Kappa) meetings, Campus Ministry, and the International Students Alliance, here I am with nearly 5 boxes of goods to send. My next challenge? SEND THEM! :)

But then, that got me thinking. Fontbonne has such an inherent recognition and drive for service to the dear neighbor. When I spoke to Mr. Stevens this morning, he brought up how many “charities” still profit from… charity! CEOs receive colossal salaries, and clothes get thrown on the wayside, and food ends up spoiled beyond the can’s expiration date. How are we to trust that we can give rightly? Our cynical world can be quite nit-picky on whether we can trust charities to do good.

I think just being here, we are taught about giving service and recognizing service; how service can be given locally and internationally, and our student organizations take so much pride in it that students also learn how fun it can be. Whether it is giving one person a minute of your time to help them, by planning a benefit concert for Human Trafficking, or going to Kenya. My teachers showed me how to recognize and respond to ways of helping where is needed. It’s certainly helpful that, rooted in the CSJs, we can pray and trust the God will lead us rightly.

With Fontbonne Day coming up, and registration open, I hope you are encouraged to serve in ways you’ve never served before, because the challenge is fun, and you can trust yourself to know what to do!


No Matter What

by Isabella on March 7, 2014

in Uncategorized

I enjoy how I learn so many new things everyday just being here. For example, after living in St. Louis for 5 years, I’m still in awe of how much snow we’ve had. It’s already March and still, the flurries are being spooned on us as if someone up there is pouring flour into this bowl we call earth. What is the name of that groundhog that sees his shadow? I think we need a new animal if we’re getting six weeks more of winter.

I also learn that no matter how rough of a day you’ve had, someone will always cheer you up. Following my heavy schedule today, I was determined to stay mad and grouchy at how little time I had to relax. Yet my companions at dinner made me laugh so much I can’t help but laugh my guilt away now. My friend Sean is a master imitator and performed several renditions of Disney songs in the style of Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Johnny Cash. This was followed by some wonderful trips down  memory lane of old, obscure TV shows that only a few know about, such as Flight of the Conchords. Just revisiting all their songs with Willian, and letting Yuri and Yara listen and laugh with us, helped my mood immensely.

In fact, being at Fontbonne has that effect. No matter where you go, how terrible or dark you feel, or how lethargically your life passes, someone will always come by like a ray of light and shine. It’s very refreshing. And you keep learning that laughter will always be a grand medicine.



by Isabella February 10, 2014

I’ve lived in St. Louis for almost 5 and a half years away from my native Taiwan. I have my days when I feel like a gypsy, but I find they are counterbalanced by the warmth of the people in St. Louis. This notorious weather cannot stop me from enjoying the “littleness” of Fontbonne; being [...]

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The First Week!

by Isabella January 21, 2014

I know I’m writing this rather late, but it’s the beginning of the long weekend, and the end of my first week of classes. I can’t imagine how many of us are relieved we’ve gotten this far. The first week, full of syllabi and introductions, fosters an idea of the remainder of the semester. Of [...]

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Remember Who You Are

by Isabella November 6, 2013

On my Facebook page, my cover photograph is a still shot of Simba looking at the sky after Mufasa’s starry figure has just left him. The last words he said to him were, “Remember Who You Are.” I think that recently, I have personally forgotten a lot of things that are important for me. In [...]

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Yes and No

by Isabella October 28, 2013

Yesterday morning, I went to the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes along Forsyth, hoping to hear Fr. Carl Scheble’s homily. Fr. Carl was not celebrating, but Fr. Sean Martin of Saint Louis University did. I thoroughly enjoyed his homily because two comments stuck out. His first comment was: we are not perfect. God knows [...]

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Blue & Maize meet Purple & Gold

by Isabella October 18, 2013

One of the best things about being in a small school is that sense of welcoming warmth everyone experiences from finding supportive friends, no matter where you are from. Ultimately, they become your family. I was amazed at how easy it was to bring two of my “families” together. From my homeland, Justin is a [...]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.