White Coats On, Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology Students Start New Academic Journeys

By Ben Boulden

At the department’s White Coat Ceremony, each student walked to the front of the auditorium, and two faculty members held up the coats as they slipped their arms into the sleeves for the first time. Seven of the students at the gathering are studying for a degree in the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program, and 25 are in the Master of Science (M.S.) in Communications Sciences in Disorders program for speech-language pathology.

Gregory Robinson, Ph.D., a member of the department’s faculty and director of the Ph.D. program in Communications Sciences and Disorders, said, “Every time you hear someone mention white coats, I want you to think of them instead as cloaks of compassion. That is what they really should mean.”

Dana Moser, Ph.D., director of the Speech-Language Pathology program, said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 21.3% growth in employment between 2021 and 2031.

“So, you’re entering a great profession,” she said. “The path ahead of you will have many challenges, but it will be worth the journey. You’ve been given a tremendous opportunity to enter a profession with a long history of helping individuals to improve their communication abilities and participate more fully in their own lives.”

Speech-language pathologists have a scope of practice that encompasses types of human communication from speech and language to social and cognitive communication as well as feeding and swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathologists provide diagnosis, prevention, assessment, and intervention services across the lifespan.

Charia Hall, Au.D., director of the audiology program, explained the origins of the profession as a clinical field for the treatment of military veterans returning home from World War II, and that like speech-language pathology has only grown more varied with time.

“Audiologists have a wide scope of practice that each of these students will have the opportunity to learn all about and to become a part of areas such as evaluating and diagnosing hearing loss, and prescribing and fitting hearing aids and other amplification devices,” she said.

“They design and implement hearing conservation programs for different businesses, provide hearing and rehabilitation training, and assess and treat patients with auditory processing disorders. They are in operating rooms as part of clinical teams during ear surgeries and active members of cochlear implant teams for patients,” Hall added.

“Please remember that today’s ceremony is not about that coat,” College of Health Professions Dean Susan Long, Ed.D., said. “That coat is about you, and more specifically, it’s about the person you become for your patients, their families and your clients. When you entered into health care, you made the choice, a very good one, to shift your focus to the people that you’re going to be serving.”

Audiology faculty and students gather for a photo after the August 2023 White Coat Ceremony.

Audiology faculty and students gather for a photo after the August 2023 White Coat Ceremony.Evan Lewis

Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) Audiology Program, Class of 2027

  • Blair Casey
  • Cameron Hafner
  • Maliyah Mendoza
  • Braidyn Milner
  • Mireya Rodriguez
  • Madison Smedley
  • Kendall Wilson

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communications Sciences in Disorders, Speech-Language Pathology Program, Class of 2025

Students an faculty get together after the White Coat Ceremony for group photo.

Students and faculty of the master’s degree in Communications Sciences program get together after the White Coat Ceremony for a group photo.Evan Lewis

  • Meghan Aikman
  • TaCoriah Barnett
  • Karli Boatright
  • Danie Broussard
  • Veronica Catron
  • Anna Cree
  • Mia Gaines
  • Avery George
  • Lauren Goff
  • Connor Konecny
  • Bethanie Leddon
  • Savannah Lindsey
  • Jasmin Martinez
  • Maddie Lowery
  • Ashton Patrick
  • Payton Patrick
  • Esmeralda Sanchez
  • Raven Sanders
  • Nyah Scott
  • Jaden Stead
  • Kelly Vasquez
  • Daisy Velazquez
  • Mallory Walley
  • Kamya Willis
  • Colleen Zaller