UCM’s speech-language pathology program features an in-house clinic as well as 100% job placement for graduates and recently had a six-year student recognized as the Missouri Speech-Language and Hearing Association’s Most Outstanding Graduate Student.
Madisen Sherman became the fourth UCM student to win the MSHA award. Sherman is from Versailles, Missouri, and has studied in the speech-language pathology program for all six years of her college career.
“Oh, it was a big deal, it really was,” Sherman said. “Ms. (Kimberly) Stewart told me, ‘This is a really prestigious award, not very many people get it.’”
Nine Missouri schools each nominate a graduate student to be considered for the award. The nominee is required to submit a letter from a sponsor and three additional letters of support.
A sample of work in the form of a scholarly abstract, one-or-more chapters of a thesis or similar projects is also required. Stewart, a communications disorders instructor, said Sherman’s thesis was part of the reason she was nominated.
Sherman wanted to be a teacher for most of her life until she worked with a speech pathologist during her A+ tutoring in high school. She said she fell in love with the one-on-one and small group interaction as well as the variety of patients with whom she works.
“It was so much fun because every day was different,” she said. “Your different clients come in with different diagnoses, different strengths, different weaknesses, which was really fascinating to me. I tutored with her again during my senior year and absolutely knew that’s what I want to do.”
UCM’s speech-language pathology program is one of a few in the state that houses an on-campus clinic. The Welch-Schmidt Center for Communication Disorders enables students to treat members of the community who have communication or swallowing disorders. The students are able to diagnose and prescribe rehabilitation to patients. Sherman said the ability to gain experience on campus was a big draw to UCM.
“It’s fantastic. I know a lot of other universities have to send their students to other clinics, hospitals or schools to get experience,” she said. “Whereas here, we get the experience of the clinic side as well as still being sent out to do an internship. I feel like that gives us a wider variety of what we may experience in the real world.”
The Welch-Schmidt Center has 12 clinical rooms where students can work with their patients. Parents and instructors are able to monitor interactions from an adjacent room. There are also two audiologic suites where different hearing evaluations can be performed. The Scottish Rite Valley of Columbia helped fund an early childhood language and literacy lab.
Stewart said in addition to Sherman’s technical qualifications, her skills as a leader were just as impressive. Sherman served as the vice president of the National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association last year.
Sherman said the rotating nature of the clinic where students don’t spend a lot of time with individual patients is beneficial because it encourages collaboration.
“What’s nice is, later on, after I’ve had a client, the person who has them next semester might come to me and we’ll collaborate a little bit,” she said. “What did you find really worked well? What are they really interested in? How can I motivate them?”
Another reason Sherman chose to go to UCM was its proximity to her hometown.
“I’m an only child and my parents and I, we’re very close. So it was important to me to keep close to home but not too close to home,” she said. “So it has worked out really well and also works for the new job I’m starting.”
Sherman is graduating this summer and has accepted a position working at Western Missouri Medical Center studying literacy intervention and dyslexia. She’ll also be working with outpatient pediatrics.