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speech-languge pathology

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?


This week I had the opportunity to meet with a private practitioner speech therapist. She talked with me about all the different places she has worked as a speech-language pathologist, and even let me observe a therapy session! I was super stoked because this was the first time I got to watch a therapy session up close rather than through a computer screen like they make us do at Fontbonne. I realized that I have definitely learned a lot about speech and language in my two semesters at Fontbonne. I picked up on voice and language errors and was confident in using speech therapy jargon with the therapist.

I definitely feel more confident in my choice of major now, and the experience has helped me reflect again on why I want to be a speech-language pathologist. I believe communication is very important — after all, how can society succeed without communication? How can people fall in love if they never speak with one another? How do friendships form without talking about experiences, likes, dislikes, etc?

Not to mention that studying how the voice works is amazing! It’s crazy how intricate the voice is, and there is a lot more science to it than one would think. I think my background in singing makes me particularly interested in studying the voice. So if any of you out there love to sing and think that the only way you can turn that into a career is by being a popstar…think again! You can be a speech therapist and incorporate singing into your therapy! It definitely helps some people and can be a lot of fun 🙂

Whatever major you are going into, be sure you look into what career that could lead you to. And always be sure you have good reason for why you want that to be your career. College can be kind of scary because you have sooo many decisions to make, but it can also be exciting for that very same reason!

Until next time,

Joanna 🙂


I want to first begin this blog by saying that this post is long overdue. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged on here…busy schedules and the hustle and bustle of college life can take over. However, it’s nice to be blogging again. It also helps that Spring Break has already begun!

Now, to explain how I ended up where I am today in my studies…

If you’d like to know how I ended up at Fontbonne University, feel free to read my past blog post on my personal story here:

As far as how I ended up choosing Speech Language Pathology as my major is a slightly different story. (You can learn more about the major here: It all started in high school, during that period of time where I was being pressured to start having my future plans all mapped out. Trust me; my path to “Speech Path.” was not as straightforward as one might think. I contemplated all sorts of careers/majors. At the beginning of high school, I had wanted to major in Engineering, but that quickly changed after a year or so. Then, for the longest time, I had my heart set on working in Music Business/Communications, but later reconsidered that decision. If anything, I knew that I wanted my future career to be involved with a good cause and that my career would positively impact society/the world as a whole. Non-Profit Organizational work or Environmental Studies were also on my radar.  Speech Language Pathology didn’t come in until my Junior/Senior year in high school, when I was on the Willowbrook High School Speech Team. Little did I know that this decision would affect my entire decision on a major.

Now, I should probably give a shout-out to my Dad, who had A LOT to do with my major decision. Since I had been so involved with Speech Team, my Dad thought it would be a good idea for me to look into “Speech” Language Pathology as a career. I had been absolutely AGAINST going into Speech Language Pathology, since that was what my Dad wanted for me and not what I actually wanted. However, looking at things from a realistic perspective, Speech Language Pathology made sense, because it’s a field that is fairly high in demand and the job security is supposed to be good. Plus, if I wanted to work in a school setting, I’d be able to have something similar to a teacher’s schedule; there were even various other settings I could be in as well. Therefore, it was difficult for me to argue against it, since a stable job is important to me.

Of course, since I’m currently a Junior at Fontbonne now and looking into Graduate Schools/My Post-Undergraduate Plans, it’s normal to doubt myself in making the right decision. I’m really looking forward to doing Pre-Clinic next semester to get a taste of what being a Speech Language Pathologist is like, since classes and schoolwork can sometimes make me dread the major (I’m the kind of person who likes to be out in the world doing proactive things and not just sitting in a classroom). However, the great thing about Fontbonne is that there is an on-campus Speech Language and Hearing Clinic where Students are able to do observations and work in the clinic. AND there is both an Undergraduate Program and a Graduate Program for Speech Pathology here (a Graduate degree in Speech Pathology is needed in order to be a practicing/licensed Speech Pathologist).

At this current point, I’m looking into Audiology for Graduate school, which is related to Speech Pathology, but I’m still open to getting my Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology as well (it’s one of those ongoing stories/debates with myself that I’d rather not get into right now). However, only time will tell.

Peace, Love, and Spring Break!

I’ll leave you with a picture of people playing in the Medaille Meadow during one of the Fontbonne Spring Events…


Alumni Posts

My Major

by Alumni Posts on February 21, 2012

in Academics

Figuring out what you want to do is always a tough decision. When I was a little girl I wanted to work at McDonald’s. Thankfully, your idea of a perfect job changes as you get older. Up until high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t even have ideas of what I would want to do. When I was high school, I had many ideas of what I thought I wanted to do with my life. I thought I wanted to be a teacher, a psychologist, or even a photographer. Honestly, those were careers that I was telling everyone because I was scared. I was scared because I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I finally figured it out the middle of my senior year. Not exactly the most convenient time, but it worked.

At that time, I had realized that I wanted to be a speech pathologist. I was in between that and special education. There was a chance that if I majored in Special Education I would not get a job right away. I decided it would be best for me to choose speech pathology. My brother had gone to a speech pathologist when we were younger and it had always been interesting to me. Since I had finally decided on my major, it was time to pick a college! What better place to go then Fontbonne! They are known around the country for my major, and it would be stupid of me to go anywhere else. I am still in my freshman year, so I may still change my mind, but I am loving this major so far. Every class has been so interesting, and I have never dreaded going to a speech pathology class. It really is the right major for me.



by Alumni Posts February 16, 2012

First off, let me say that my major is the main reason I chose Fontbonne Universty. I am majoring in speech-language pathology, and I know that Fontbonne has one of the best programs around! But, you may ask, how did you decide on majoring in speech-language pathology? Well, first of all, my brother is currently […]

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