Speech-Language Pathology Organization Honored at a National Level for the Ninth Time

The Ƶ student chapter of National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) receives Gold Chapter Honors

  • IL - Downers Grove
  • MWU Clinics
NSSLHA executive board in white coats.

The Ƶ NSSLHA executive board from left to right: Anna Ulanski, Tori Bailey, Alexa Arquiza, Meredith Connelly, and Ashley Robinson.

The Ƶ chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) was awarded Gold Chapter Honors by the National Speech Language Hearing Association for the ninth time due to the organization’s community outreach, advocacy through legislation, professionalism, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The chapter is under the direction of faculty advisor Judy Ball, CCC-SLP, Clinical Assistant Professor, Speech-Language Pathology.

“The significance of Gold Honors is that our chapter is recognized for our dedicated effort year after year to go above and beyond by meeting many qualifications including advocacy, service, social events, DEI representation, and professional standards,” said Speech-Language Pathology student Rachel Lauver (CHS-Downers Grove SLP ’24) and vice-president of the University’s chapter of NSSLHA. Rachel also received an excellence award, NSSLHA Rising Leader of the Year award for 2024 with an accompanying scholarship. 

Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) student Tori Bailey (CHS-Downers Grove SLP ’25) and president of the University’s NSSLHA chapter said, “We are so excited to have achieved this honor, and we would not have been able to accomplish this without the support from our program faculty and staff, and especially not without our chapter advisor, Ms. Ball. I am truly so grateful to be a part of such a supportive and welcoming program.”

The Ƶ chapter of NSSLHA held several activities over the past year including a Reading Rockstars event with interdepartmental collaboration between faculty and students in the Departments of Speech Language-Pathology and Physician Assistant Studies. Children from infants to nine years old had 12 stations of books and materials to promote literacy. NSSLHA also collaborated with Physical Therapy faculty and students for the Parkinson’s Health Fair. They took part in the Chicago Walk for Apraxia, an event dedicated to raising awareness about the condition which affects individual’s ability to speak, execute gestures ad movements, despite having the desire and physical ability to carry out these actions. They also organized a community event to provide information about stroke and aphasia, a language disorder that occurs due to damage to parts of the brain that process various aspects of language and communication. The NSSLHA chapter also organized an event to discuss social injustice scenarios in SLP and the incorporation of DEI best practices. NSSLHA also won the Illinois Speech Language Hearing Association (ISHA) student ethics contest with an Instagram reel showcasing the positive contributions of artificial intelligence (AI) to the field of Speech-Language Pathology. 

 

NSSLHA members gather for a group photo.
Members of NSSLHA planned a variety of community service and informational events over the past year, along with legislative advocacy work. 

 

Additionally, NSSLHA hosted two “Take Action” days for the SLP program, where organization members wrote letters to Congress regarding current issues concerning Speech-Language Pathology and related fields. “One specific issue we advocated for was the bipartisan Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which protects healthcare workers including SLPs and Audiologists from workplace violence. Through NSSLHA’s Take Action webpage, current issues are easily accessible, and students can send letters directly from the website,” Tori stated.

A significant amount of planning and preparation goes into NSSLHA’s events, with Ms. Ball meeting weekly with students. Ms. Ball shared, “In my experience it’s very exciting to see our students grow in confidence in their leadership and their understanding of the importance of continuing to grow themselves professionally and give back to the community.” She shared that participation in NSSLHA and all the processes involved in the events have several benefits for students. “I think that it helps them to develop their leadership, interprofessional, personal interaction skills, and how to work with a committee.” Ms. Ball also shared that during interdepartmental collaboration events, the departments teach each other about their healthcare fields, and they learn from each other. 

The University’s chapter of NSSLHA strives to offer community service, outreach, advocacy, and additional opportunities for students. Organizations like NSSLHA provide further opportunities for students to enrich their classroom learning as they develop into patient-centered healthcare professionals.  

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