Ms. Marissa Castaldo became interested in rehabilitation after her grandmother experienced a stroke. She explored various career paths before stumbling upon speech language pathology and quickly fell in love.
As a junior majoring in public health at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, the New Jersey native contacted communication sciences and disorders (COMD) associate professor Dr. Krystal Werfel about an opportunity to volunteer in the researcher’s Written Language Lab, which works to increase educational and occupational opportunities for individuals with communication disorders, particularly children with hearing loss and/or specific language impairment. She learned a lot more about the field, and the experience solidified her decision to pursue a career as a speech language pathologist.
Ms. Castaldo enrolled in the Arnold School’s COMD department’s Master of Speech Pathology program following her 2018 bachelor’s graduation and took advantage of the auditory-verbal therapy specialization it offered – knowing it would benefit her career. The experience has deepened Ms. Castaldo’s interest in working with children with hearing loss, and she plans to pursue a career in the field, possibly working on a cochlear implant team as well. Long term, she’d like to pursue a PhD in Speech-Language Pathology.
It is these long-range plans to advance the COMD field that led Ms. Castaldo to win one of just eleven 2019 Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers (SPARC) Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).Friday Letter Submission, Publish on September 20