March 16, 2023

vendor fairOn Thursday, March 16, the Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) faculty and staff at Columbia College organized a day for prospective, current, and former students to celebrate the impact that Speech-Language Pathologists have on their communities. Keynote speakers of all walks of life joined the day to share how they have personally been impacted by the profession. Also part of the day was a vendor fair with local agencies and practices with which the prospective students were able to network. 

Keynote speakers included broadcast journalist Fraendy Clervaud, Dee and Van Gulledge, and Lauren Lyons, PTA. Fraendy Clervaud overcame a childhood speech impediment, went on to become a broadcast journalist, and wrote a children’s book inspired by his experiences. In tandem with his journalistic career, Fraendy travels to schools and speaks to children about the intricacies of growing up with a speech impediment, so that they can better understand the importance of leading with kindness and offering patience and understanding. Dee and Van Gulledge spoke regarding their experience with Speech-Language Pathology following Van’s stroke and how their lives were jointly impacted by the determination and encouragement they received through Van’s treatment. Lauren Lyons, PTA gave birth to her son Gregg 16 weeks early. Through Gregg’s remarkable journey of development, Speech-Language Pathologists have been there every step of the way, from learning to swallow to making speeches to his fourth-grade classroom! 

Faculty at Columbia College and especially the SLP program are deeply invested in their students’ experiences here and are committed to offering a diverse selection of opportunities to build and broaden their professional networks even before graduation. By organizing events and initiatives like these, Columbia College prepares students to enter the workforce with professionalism and adequate preparation. “Days like SLP Day,” according to Provost of Columbia College Dr. Kristine Barnett, “are ‘get to’ days. A lot of days are ‘have to’ days, but SLP Day is one of those days that I GET to come to work and be a part of something special for our students.” 

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