During her undergraduate program at the University of South Carolina, Ms. Emily Metze volunteered with Team Therapy, a family-centered pediatric therapy clinic, and fell in love with the field of communication sciences and disorders. “I immediately knew I wanted to be a speech-language pathologist that worked closely with other types of professions, such as physical and occupational therapy, to provide the best care to my patients,” Ms. Metze says.
[Photo: Ms. Metze]
While preparing her graduate school applications, Ms. Metze spent time during her gap year working as an applied behavioral analysis therapist at Carolina Coast Behavioral Services. In this role, she provided behavioral therapy services to pediatric patients with special needs, such as autism and seizure disorders, and partnered with classroom teachers to create appropriate environments for patients. It was excellent preparation for the collaborative, interprofessional practice setting she would join when she began the master of speech pathology program in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health communication sciences and disorders department.
Halfway through her two-year program, Ms. Metze has already taken advantage of the department’s research and clinical expertise and opportunities. Working in the written language lab with assistant professor and literacy/language expert Dr. Krystal Werfel, Ms. Metze has been conducting research on children with hearing loss.
“Dr. Werfel has been the most influential mentor I could imagine,” says Ms. Metze. “She has increased my knowledge about the hearing loss population and research tremendously and takes time to ensure I understand what she has taught me and assures that I can use the knowledge in my clinical practice.”
Ms. Metze also looks up to Ms. Gina Crosby-Quinatoa and Ms. Jamy Claire Archer, clinical instructors with the USC Speech and Hearing Research Center. “They both specialize in hearing loss and have taught me how to work with people who have amplification or are preparing to receive amplification,” says Ms. Metze.
Outside class and clinical settings, Ms. Metze is already preparing for the services and leadership roles that come along with becoming an academic researcher in the field. This past year, she represented her department on the dean’s student advisory council for South Carolina and held the title of vice president for her department’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. She will serve as president for the student-run organization during the 2017 – 2018 academic year.