Communication is the focal point of making friends, resolving issues, and raising awareness across the globe. Inhibiting communication can have disastrous effects on our relationships and our ability to cope with what’s going on in the world. Imagine a world where there is no communication; there would be no transfer of ideas and civilizations would cease to exist. Here at Pacific, we also believe that communication is vital. Pacific’s Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) students work with the full range of communication disorders and study hard to understand the diagnostics of speech issues, and evaluate language and communication disorders to treat all patients from infants to seniors. One student who stands out is Brett Snyder ’14.
When asked why SLP? Synder exclaims, “So many reasons, so little time! The field has so much depth and variety that it perfectly matches my natural curiosity. On a more personal level, I enjoy SLP because of the satisfaction you get from helping others to have a better quality of life. Being able to work with clients and their families is very appealing to me.”
Synder first studied biology at the University of California, Irvine until he transferred to the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Taking a further interest in his culture, Synder changed majors from biology to Hawaiian studies. After graduating, Snyder returned to the Golden State to work in public education before he decided to enroll in Pacific’s SLP graduate program. Snyder appreciated the accelerated program, “I hadn’t majored in speech pathology as an undergraduate so the prospect of getting my masters completed in just two years was very exciting for me. Visiting the campus and meeting the faculty and staff face to face really sealed the deal.”
After coming to Pacific, Snyder realized that he had many opportunities to be successful in his career. Professors not only did their best to prepare him and his colleagues with knowledge and skills, but also prepared them for their future careers through internship and externship experiences. During the summer, Synder was able to volunteer at an autism camp and worked alongside several speech-language pathologists and students. He also attended the Annual California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) Convention to further his professional development. Throughout the convention, Synder was able to participate in networking opportunities with other professionals. Synder explains, “These experiences help us put into practice what we’ve learned in classes, help us to develop as professionals and establish networks.” Synder has also taken advantage opportunities to be involved with local and national organizations such as the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, as well as CSHA.
Though Snyder continues to have an interest in Hawaiian studies, he never regretted enrolling in Pacific’s SLP program. “I think my greatest achievement up to now is being accepted into Pacific’s grad program. Three years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be working on a masters degree. Several friends and relatives were understandably concerned about how successful I would be in majoring in Hawaiian Studies, so being where I am now makes me feel proud and validated in my decision to remain true to myself and pursue my interests.” Synder continues to feel at home with Pacific and reminisces about his memories here, “My best memory is the Department’s Christmas party skit. Hands down.”
Synder feels that speech language pathology has been the most intellectually satisfying profession as it requires him to be adaptable, observant, analytical, and introspective. Currently, his dream job is to become a speech-language pathologist and have a continually evolving career. He says, “At some point, I’d really like to travel and provide services to people across many countries. I would also like to open a clinic that offers all rehabilitative services under one roof. The clinic would be a teaching one, where professionals work with students to better prepare them for their careers. Essentially, something very similar to Pacific’s program. Finally, I’d like to become a professor or instructor to educate the next generation of SLPs.” In order to support future SLPs, Synder advises that they constantly stay ahead of the game, and always take the opportunity to do extra clinic observations. Most importantly he advises, “students should take the time to take care of themselves.”
By Alin Kim '14, BUS