Audiology, Speech Pathology Students Don White Coats

By Ben Boulden

For the first-year students in the UAMS Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, the department’s white coat ceremony on Aug. 20 marked the formal beginning of the next phase of their academic lives. The students taking part were speech pathology students in the Class of 2023 studying for a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and doctoral students from the Class of 2025 seeking to become doctors of audiology.

This year, mask-wearing students gathered in person in a lecture hall on campus to take part in the ceremony.

Members of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) Class of 2025 also received their white coats.

Members of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.)
Class of 2025 also received their white coats.Image by Evan Lewis

Meanwhile, family and friends of the students watched from different locations via Zoom as Shana Williamson, M.S., and Bryson Howard, Au.D., helped students put on their white coats. Williamson and Howard are the department’s speech-language pathology and audiology clinical education directors and both are assistant professors.

“I’m personally sorry we couldn’t have each and every one of you (friends and family) in the room with us. It’s one of the highlights of our year to meet friends and family of our new students.” said Laura Smith-Olinde, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology as well as the director of the audiology program.

After Smith-Olinde opened the ceremony and before the students donned their coats, UAMS College of Health Professions Dean Susan Long, Ed.D., explained the meaning of the white coat in health care. She said it is a symbol of the person a student will become in the eyes of patients and their families.

“As you slip your white coat on today, I have three hopes for each of you:

  • You maintain an abiding regard for the highest standards of professional behavior.
  • You demonstrate the utmost respect for your patients and clients and their families who have entrusted their care or the care of a loved one to you.
  • You effortlessly show compassion through your patience, kindness and resolve to help others.”

As their names were called, each student walked to the front of the lecture hall, coat in hand, to receive their coats.

Once they all were wearing their coats, the students stood in rows behind their seats as they recited the Clinician’s Oath.

“We are here to help you on this journey,” Smith-Olinde said. “You will learn so much and on some days, you will think, ‘Oh, goodness, how am I going to get through today?’ But, somehow you always do. Feel free to call on us for help. That’s why  we are here.”

The students who participated in the white coat ceremony were:

Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.)

Class of 2025

Renee Alvarado

Alexandra Analore

Harshith Ayyadevara

Sydney Baker

Michaela Bell

Riley Duran

Alexandra Glasco

Holland Hardison

Lillian Jones

Molly Nabors

Kelsey Sherman

Kayla Turner


Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication Sciences in Disorders

Class of 2023

Wesley Adams

Caitlyn Berry

Caitlin Bumpass

Kaitlynd Dougherty

Abeer El-Anwar

Jacqueline Golden

Payton Harbert

Destiny Harris

Britten Hays

Gwyneth Hladik

Taylor Huggins

Alexis Jones

Anna Krizman

Moriah Manchack

Regan Moore

Sara Roberson

Christi Sanchez

JaVonnica Smith

Taylor Strain

Summer Stussy

Janitza Toyos

Sheila Vera

Olivia Young