“I want to be a positive role model and teacher for a profession that I continue to love!” exclaimed Sue Ulmer ’83 when asked why she takes Pacific student interns. Sue is the Department Chairperson for the Speech-Language Pathology Department at Stockton Unified School District and has held that position for over 12 years. Ulmer feels that she was selected as Department Chairperson because she volunteered for numerous committees and wanted to be involved in decision making for the department. Sue remarked, “I wanted to train other SLPs to do the best job they can do with therapy and the never ending paperwork.”
Transferring to Pacific in 1981, Ulmer’s selection of the communicative disorder major was inspired by her deaf parents. Ulmer has always loved working with the deaf and even used sign language for her talent portion of the Junior Miss Pageant when she was at Tracy High School. “I have attended Symposiums where Simalee taught visual phonics, which I still use with my students, whether deaf, hard of hearing or hearing. Since my area of interest was working with the deaf or hard of hearing, and she had an interest in it too (she taught sign language as well as visual phonics), I learned a lot from her. She was very encouraging, had a calming presence about her, and was easy to talk to, especially when things became challenging with workload and comprehensive exams.” She went on to say that she also enjoyed Professor Virginia Puich’s classes and her encouragement while she was in the undergraduate and graduate programs. “Both women were positive influences during that period of my life,” Ulmer recalled.
“My students make me smile, especially when we have been working on something (could be a sound such as “s,” “r,” etc. or language skills) and they finally ‘get it!’” She also has a 2 ½ year old grandson who amazes her with his language skills. Sue looks forward to traveling the United States and hopes to visit historical sites on the East Coast. “I would like to drive across the country in the fall to see the tree leaves changing and all of the beautiful colors!”
By Susan Webster