For many students who enter college, whether it is a community or undergraduate institution, they face a major dilemma during their first year in choosing their program of study. After graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Nicholaus Brock ’11 ‘12 attended San Joaquin Delta College to study art. Not long after, he decided to study psychology and then medicine before transferring to Humbolt State University to explore courses in wild life.

In 2008, Brock participated in the Quail Lakes Summer Day Camp, organized by Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton, where he worked with first through fifth grade students. Because he enjoyed it so much, he continued to be involved for an additional two years. It was also during this time that he was given an opportunity to participate in the Meadowwood Springs Speech and Hearing Camp in Oregon. There he worked as a student clinician providing therapy to children with speech and language impairments and discovered his interest in speech and hearing therapy.

“During my time with the Quail Lakes Summer Day Camp, I realized how much I enjoyed working with kids and I missed that interaction when I transferred to Humbolt,” said Brock. “My brother is a speech-language pathologist and I didn’t think that was the career for me until I attended the speech and hearing camp in Oregon,” he added.

Having already changed degree programs four times, he didn’t let this final course correction slow him down or weaken his self-esteem. He was looking for his passion and he found it at Pacific in Speech-Language Pathology.

Brock came to Pacific because he enjoyed the college community atmosphere but mainly because Pacific’s speech-language pathology program is “one of the top programs in the nation.” As an undergraduate, what he enjoyed most was his time in the clinics. “My first clinical was with two children and I was excited because I love working with kids,” he commented.

Today he has taken on more than just courses and books. Brock just completed his term as co-president of Pacific’s National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). Under his leadership, they were able to increase student memberships and involvement and raise funds to support local and national initiatives at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorder Center and in Cambodia.

Brock is also a member of the California Speech-Hearing Association (CSHA).  He provided analytical support to Dr. Jill Duthie on her research “Student Clinicians’ Perceptions of Change in Clinical Competentencies: A Comparison of Two Instructional Approaches”, which they both will be presenting at the CSHA Annual State Convention in March in San Jose. The research focuses on different self-evaluation systems that allow students to determine the impact of their services and how each client is progressing during their clinical sessions. In addition, he is also working with Dr. Jeannene Ward-Lonergan on his graduate thesis focused on the comparison of verbal communication skills by augmentative and alternative communication users and their speech-language pathologists.

Currently Brock sits on the Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Board as a student representative, a position that was created through his effort to engage and connect students and alumni while he was co-president of NSSLHA.

“We started working with our alumni because we felt it was important to get their involvement and support,” said Brock. He continued by saying “It’s important to give back to help increase current students’ educational experience and I hope to do this once I am done with school.”

After graduation, Brock hopes to work in the educational school system where he can continue to work with children. Down the road he would like to create a speech and hearing camp in California, serve as a supervisor for students, and one day take part in Operation Smile (which he says was inspired by Dr. Duthie).

Unlike many, Brock took a road less traveled but it looks like a promising one.

By Dua Her '09
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