The Plattsburgh State National Student Speech/Language/Hearing Association attempts to make meaningful connections a priority through volunteerism, networking and support.
The NSSLHA’s goal is to provide students interested in the speech pathology field, whether it be related to major or minor, with real-world insight. Members learn about autism, sign language, speech disorders and other topics that can go beyond the speech pathology major. It also offers study hours for members to assist each other in classes by comparing notes and class content because the speech pathology field requires a master’s degree.
NSSLHA President Kristen Singleman said the discussions and information affect a wide arrangement of individuals. The discussions aren’t meant for the sole purpose of helping future speech pathologists; they educate students and bring about new interpersonal skills.
“Everyone knows someone who has autism,” Singleman said. “ I feel like it really impacts a lot of people.”
NSSLHA explains these topics by offering PSU students a plethora of opportunities to meet professionals immersed in the field of speech pathology within a pre-professional condition, Singleman said.
The e-board invites speech pathologists to the club’s weekly meetings so they can speak with members about their experience and pass down helpful advice like interviewing practices and other skills not necessarily covered in classes. It is also no stranger to fundraisers. NSSLHA members perform songs and dance numbers in order to raise money for speech disorder patients. In addition, it also participates in fundraisers like the annual Alzheimer’s walk and Relay for life.
PSU senior and NSSLHA member Aubrey Stowell joined the club her sophomore year and said the club is a great way to meet friends in her major. She was informed of the club after an e-board member visited her class to tell them about NSSLHA. Stowell continued attending meetings to absorb all the knowledge she could.
The club runs on the passion of its e-board and members. NSSLHA Secretary Nicole Palmieri said most members have some kind of affiliation with speech pathology. Members connect with others in the club through an unspoken bond of relatability. They understand what speech therapy is and how it can affect anyone despite their age.
Palmieri’s cousin was born with cerebral palsy, a rare disorder that affects movement, muscle tone or posture. Since birth, he had to go to speech therapy for swallowing and other body functions. Later on, he started speech therapy.
“It really just opened my eyes to that profession,” Palmieri said. “Seeing how he started off compared to how he is now is a huge drastic change. I really wanted to help people in that way as well.”
Similarly, NSSLHA Vice President Julia O’Brien’s youngest brother went to speech therapy for his articulation and speech. Being from South Korea, he had to adjust to the difference in language after his adoption.
O’Brien enjoys the club because of the bonds she’s made throughout her involvement. Like others, she has a great interest in the field.
“I’ve always known I wanted to help people,” O’Brien said, “but I wanted some kind of challenge.”
Students interested in joining NSSLHA can attend its weekly meetings every Wednesday at noon in room 103 of Sibley Hall.