The CSD department is proud to congratulate graduate student Katrin Gabriel, who was recently selected to be a participant in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Minority Student Leadership Program at the ASHA Convention in Philadelphia, PA. Katrin will have the opportunity to take part in a set of leadership-focused educational programs and activities at the convention, and interact with leaders in the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language, and hearing sciences.
We chatted with Katrin about how she came to study in the department here at NYU Steinhardt, and her plans for the future.
What drew you to pursue a degree in NYU Steinhardt’s CSD MS program?
I pursued the master’s program at NYU Steinhardt because I wanted to be in a program and live in a city that was culturally and linguistically diverse. I am grateful to be able to gain hands-on clinical experience with individuals across the lifespan utilizing a variety of research and evidence-based practice.
What are your favorite aspects of the program?
Studying abroad in Sweden was one of the best experiences I have had at NYU Steinhardt. This was a unique and fun experience, where I learned state of the art approaches regarding speech science and speech disorders from leading researchers in our field through a multicultural lens. Being immersed in a different culture has enhanced my cultural competence and raised my awareness of working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
Other favorite aspects of the program are the variety of course electives and interdisciplinary events that NYU offers. These elective courses and events have enhanced my overall clinical knowledge and competency as a clinician.
My most distinctive clinical experiences in the program have been working with individuals with Huntington’s Disease, assisting with voice modification for members of the transgender community and performing instrumental assessments, such as Modified Barium Swallows, on individuals with swallowing disorders.
What are some of the challenges you face in the field? What are some of the most rewarding moments?
Bridging professional divides in the work place is one of the main challenges I have faced in the field. All healthcare and educational systems share a common and primary commitment to providing the best care and education for each patient/student. However, inter-professional collaboration can also create challenges such as misunderstandings across disciplines. I believe interdisciplinary collaboration is essential and beneficial for providing the best care, but in order for this to be successful, the professional team must learn, understand, respect, and support all disciplines and others’ work. Another challenge I have faced has been that of juggling a high caseload of clients while having minimal materials.
Challenges aside, this field is filled with so many rewarding moments. Every relationship with each client has been meaningful to me. Creating person-centered sessions where the clients feel empowered and excited about their speech, language, and communication is always rewarding. Creating lyrics and performing a song with a client with aphasia was one of the most rewarding experiences, and was my first official experience with a client at NYU. This client had difficulty with word retrieval, writing and organizing his thoughts in order to deliver his communicative intent. I worked with this client for 2 semesters, which taught me me so much about the importance of creativity, and to take more risks in treatment sessions. Being with the client when they performed the song in front of the group was absolutely amazing.
What are your professional goals post-graduation?
I love working with both pediatrics and adults. I love empowering individuals to discover and (re)gain confidence in their speech, language, and communication. I hope to work with children, particularly with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in the educational or clinical setting; their perspective of the world is so interesting and I enjoy working on social skills and pragmatic concepts with these individuals.
With regards to adults, my interests include aphasia, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing difficulties. I also hope to work in the hospital setting (outpatient or inpatient) to provide the best plan of care for each adult client, including aspects like effective eating/swallowing strategies, exercises and goals for functional communication.
What do you think the importance of and place groups like ASHA have in advancing the field?
American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) promotes a better quality of life for children and adults with communication disorders. ASHA offers resources to guide evidence-based decision-making for clinical and professional issues, for current advancement in the field and provides a community of professionals where I can collaborate, learn, ask for advice and share insights on a variety of speech, language and communication topics.