Faculty Spotlight: Larry Boles, PhD, CCC-SLP

Larry-Boles-posterCan you predict if a student will be successful in graduate school even before they step foot in a classroom? That is the question that Larry Boles, PhD, CCC-SLP Graduate Director and Professor of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology wanted answered. He presented a poster entitled, “Predicting Graduate School Success” outlining the finding of his research at the 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention held in Denver, Colorado.

What motivated him to explore this topic was the lack of existing research on predicting the success of graduate students. Dr. Boles explains, “In my search of the literature I found very little data investigating this issue.” He elaborates, “Like most graduate programs in most fields, we ask for [undergraduate] grade point averages, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, etc. I wanted to see which of these, or which combination of these, predicted how our grad students did as students.”

Dr. Boles explains the variables he used in his study: “Just prior to graduation, our [graduate students] take the Praxis exam, which is a national test covering all areas of our field. I decided that would be a good and quantifiable measure of the knowledge and skills they had attained.” The Praxis exam is an important benchmark in the speech-langue-pathology (SLP) profession as an individual must earn a passing score in order to receive their certification from ASHA. According to Dr. Boles, Pacific’s SLP students have had a 100 percent pass rate for the Praxis exam for the last 10 years.

In explaining how he conducted his research he shares, “Using a multiple regression analysis I compared the GRE scores and each grade in each course to the Praxis score, plus letters of recommendation.” In presenting the conclusions he drew from this study Dr. Boles said, “The most compelling predictor variables for success were the GRE scores combined with grades in three courses: Speech and Hearing Science, Speech and Language Development and Phonetics.”

Dr. Boles joined the Pacific faculty in 2010 after over a decade in the California State University system. He has been impressed by the environment of support created by the faculty and staff that prioritizes the success of each individual student. Dr. Boles shares, “I think we do a particularly good job of giving students more personal attention [and] personal attention matters.”



2015 SLP Employer Showcase Reveals That Demand Far Exceeds Supply

On November 2, 2015, the DeRosa Ballroom was packed with both exhibitors and students for the 2015 Speech-Language Pathology Employer Showcase. For approximately 65 students the event was an opportunity to explore different career paths. Meeting the representatives helps students put a face to the name of the different companies and organizations that employ speech-language pathologists. For employees the annual showcase is an opportunity to recruit and connect with those who will become among the best and the brightest in their field.

Joshua Rash ’16 fodeans_letter_fall15_slp_showcase1_webund “The back and forth dialogue was incredibly beneficial in increasing my ability to communicate with other professionals.” When Mackenzie Goold ’16 reflected on her interactions with the exhibitors she said that “It allowed me to further analyze my skills and experience based on their questions.” The Showcase also gives students a greater understanding of the diversity of career paths open to them; from large scale medical corporations to school districts. In addition to local employers, at the event there were exhibitors from as far west as Contra Costa County, as far south as Fresno and as far north as the Sacramento area.

This networking event is equally beneficial to employers. Barbara Taylor, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Vice President of Operations at The Speech Pathology Group (SPG). She explains that SPG is “a California provider of speech/language and behavior intervention services. SPG services pediatric through adult clients” in a wide variety of settings. Taylor finds that the “Recruitment of SLPs is a process that never ends at SPG due to the huge demand for these services. Like other private practices, public schools, non-public agencies and medical settings, SPG is constantly searching for Master’s Level therapists to hire.” She emphasizes, “the demand far exceeds the supply of candidates qualified for employment.”

Taylor expresses her appreciation for the invitation for SPG to participate in the showcase and for “the University’s willingness to coordinate” the event. “Each year SPG looks forward to the University of the Pacific’s Speech-Language Pathology Employer Showcase, as it provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet and chat with graduate students who are currently or will soon be seeking job opportunities. Many of our employees graduated from UOP and they arrive with a strong clinical and educational foundation. It is a pleasure to be a part of their professional growth during their CF (clinical fellowship) year and proudly watch them make significant contributions to our field.”

The U.S. Department of Labor confirms the rapidly growing demand for SLP professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), “Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss.” In addition, “Increased awareness of speech and language disorders, such as stuttering, in younger children should also lead to a need for more speech-language pathologists who specialize in treating that age group. In addition, medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and victims of trauma and strokes, many of whom need help from speech-language pathologists.”

Exhibitors at this year’s showcadeans_letter_fall15_slp_showcase14_webse included AFFIRMA Rehabilitation, Aureus Medical Group, BMR Health Services, Centre for Neuro Skills, Comfort Assisting, Inc. – Home Health Agency, Communication Works, EBS Healthcare, myTherapyCompany, Nova Therapies, Progressus Therapy, School Steps Inc., The Speech Pathology Group, Therapy Specialists and Total Education Solutions. Exhibitors from local hospitals came from Kaiser Permanente, Lodi Memorial Hospital/Lodi Health and Sutter Health. Representing schools were Campbell Union School District, Fresno Unified School District, Manteca Unified School District, San Joaquin County Office of Education, Stockton Unified School District, Twin Rivers Unified School District and West Contra Costa Unified School District.

To learn how to become an exhibitor at next year’s showcase contact Susan Webster, Director of Development, at 209.946.3116 or swebster@pacific.edu.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Speech-Language Pathologists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm (visited October 15, 2015).


Language-Literacy Center (LLC) Services in Spring 2016 For Area Youth

Seeking Referrals for the Language-Literacy Center (LLC)

Co-Directors: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan, PhD & Jill Duthie, PhD

The Language-Literacy Center (LLC) is funded through a grant from the University of the Pacific to meet the clinical training needs of Speech-Language Pathology students at the University of the Pacific and the language-literacy needs of area youth. The LLC is designed to provide our students with opportunities to learn best practices in working with youth who have language-literacy disorders and to conduct research in this area. We are currently seeking referrals of individuals who meet the following criteria as potential candidates for the LLC:

  • Children/adolescents in grades 1-12
  • Mild-Moderate Language Disorder
  • At least low average cognitive ability
  • Struggle with literacy (reading and/or writing)
  • Ability to attend weekly, 1-hour afternoon sessions

Assessment and treatment sessions will be provided free of charge in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology at the University of the Pacific, 757 Brookside Road, Stockton, CA. Parents/caregivers of potential candidates of the LLC should email the directors to obtain a referral form for their child.  Please contact either Jeannene Ward-Lonergan, at  jwardlon@pacific.edu or Jill Duthie at  jduthie@pacific.edu

School Opens Office of Academic Success and Instructional Support

Dr. William Kehoe
Dr. William Kehoe

As director of the Office of Academic Success and Instructional Support (OASIS), William Kehoe, PharmD, MA, FCCP, BCPS, coordinates support services to help pharmacy and health sciences graduate students achieve academic and lifelong career success. Dr. Kehoe was appointed last August after serving as the department chair of pharmacy practice for the past 14 years.

“Our programs are accelerated, increasing not only the academic demands but also stress levels. We need to provide support services that will help Pacific students reach their highest level of success. The OASIS program is designed to do that,” said Dr. Kehoe.

The School’s OASIS staff works with students to develop personal learning strategies based on individual preferences, time and stress management skills, strategies to improve memory and secure tutors, if needed. In addition, Dr. Kehoe works closely with academic advisors to identify and assist students who may be having difficulties. “I want to encourage all students to feel comfortable about seeking our services. OASIS is not just intended for those with academic problems but for all students who simply want to do better or achieve more,” said Dr. Kehoe.student studying_resized

The challenge with any new program is getting students to respond. Through his elective course, Developing Personal Learning Strategies, Dr. Kehoe is hopeful students will recognize the benefits and take advantage of OASIS services. In fact, his course was so popular this semester enrollment was full. Dr. Kehoe also hosts seminars throughout the year where students can learn about OASIS and the services it provides. “I’ve spoken to others who direct these services and it is a challenge for everyone to get students to come in before problems arise. I must say that to this point I am very happy with where the program is and how students are responding,” said Dr. Kehoe.

Dr. Kehoe brings a lot of experience to his position. He is a member of the University’s student success committee, which was charged by President Pamela Eibeck to investigate “best practices” in the area of student success and make recommendations on how Pacific can assist students. Dr. Kehoe earned a master’s in psychology with an emphasis in behavioral medicine from University of the Pacific in 1995. As part of the program, he completed clinical experiences related to behavior and health, stress management, health psychology, brain function and cognitive psychology.

Student Spotlight: Seth Turner ’15

Turner and his wife, Katie.
Turner and his wife, Katie.

Seth Turner ‘15 put all his eggs in one basket when he applied solely to the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He was so amazed by the School that he did not feel the need to apply anywhere else. Fortunately, he is now a second year speech-language pathology graduate student.

“[The] professors are deeply committed to the students and are at the top of their field,” said Turner. “The program has a small class size and offers tons of individual attention. Furthermore, I would bet that there isn’t a speech-language pathology program anywhere that is more hands-on than University of the Pacific.”

Prior to joining the School, Turner lived in Pasadena, Calif., where he studied theology. While at the seminary he met his wife, Katie, of two and a half years. He had hoped to finish his master’s degree and eventually become a professor of biblical theology and ancient languages, but after working in a local school district as an in-home instructor for special-needs students (who could not attend class because of medical or behavioral issues), he decided to change his career path. After graduation, Turner hopes to continue working with school children, while also working per-diem in a medical setting.

Turner has high opinions of all his professors but Turner’s favorite is Robert Hanyak ‘79, AuD, associate professor of audiology and department chair. Turner said his lectures are very practical and informative but also that he seems to truly care about every student. When asked to give prospective students advice, Turner suggested talking to the School’s professors.

“It is important to gain insight about the profession and what it takes to become a health care practitioner,” said Turner.

Turner was born and raised in Stockton, Calif. He leads a local group that meets monthly to read biblical passages in ancient Hebrew and Greek. In his free time he enjoys playing Frisbee golf with his wife. He also prides himself in his baking abilities, stating he makes a mean apple pie.

By: Matthew Muller ‘14

Alumni Spotlight: Mimi Tran ’04, ’05

Mimi Tran_resizedMimi Tran ‘04, ‘05 is a speech-language pathology clinical instructor at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Her return to the classroom allows her to reconnect with faculty, serve as a mentor to students and hopefully make a positive impact on her students’ careers. In addition to teaching, her second semester, she is grateful for the opportunity to inspire determination and passion in students as they work with clients at the Speech and Hearing Clinic. “My teaching philosophy is that we not only need to challenge our students, but also ourselves as professionals. We all need to be reminded that we are in a helping profession. In order to help individuals in need, we need to continue to educate ourselves and maximize the full potential of our clients based on the knowledge and resources that we have,” said Tran.

Years of practical experience have taught Tran that conventional methods are not always effective for every client. Therefore, she encourages students to use their intuition in treatment techniques particularly in challenging cases. She loves hearing students report accomplishments, such as when they are finally able to hear their clients speak without difficulty.

Tran hopes to continue working as a clinical instructor as she builds a stronger relationship with the Pacific community. She also looks forward to keeping touch with her peers through the Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Association where she serves as board member. In the larger civic community, Tran plans to volunteer more of her time at the local women’s shelter and animal shelter. She also enjoys spending time with her dogs; a 6-year-old French Mastiff and 12-year-old Corgi. Her other hobbies include running and art; she enjoys sketching, oil painting, calligraphy, crocheting and origami.


Student Spotlight: Rebecca DeCarlo ’16

Rebecca DeCarlo_resizedRebecca DeCarlo ‘16 studied linguistics at University of California, Berkeley but it was an internship working with an aphasia support group at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Martinez that solidified her passion for speech-language pathology. She chose Pacific because of the School’s outstanding faculty and students and family-friendly environment. “Every time I visited [everyone]…seemed so happy and proud to be there,” said DeCarlo. She also was impressed by the opportunities for clinical experiences.

She has high hopes for her future career. “I plan to make aphasia awareness a personal mission and hope to start a group for patients and their families,” said DeCarlo. She would like to contribute to the well-being of her community through organizations like the Veterans Affairs Hospital.

Originally from Bakersfield, Calif., DeCarlo tried several career paths before deciding to become a speech-language pathologist. She worked in a New York City diner, managed a men’s salon at Saks Fifth Avenue and worked as a personal assistant and then as an esthetician. DeCarlo loves to travel and in her free time, enjoys cooking her favorite Italian dessert, panna cotta, for friends and family. She also is a collector of vintage, foreign language grammar books. One of her prized possessions is a 1938 Latin text book she found in New Orleans.


Student Spotlight: Shivani Bhakta ‘15

Shivani Bhakta_resizedShivani Bhakta ‘15 began her fascination with speech-language pathology when her cousin received speech therapy for a cochlear implant. While studying linguistics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) she volunteered at the Speech and Audiology Clinic in its early childhood intervention program.

Bhakta chose Pacific for its small class size. She also was impressed with the School’s outstanding faculty, accelerated program and experiential learning requirement. “I appreciated how the graduate program coordinated and provided all types of clinical experiences for the students,” said Bhakta. She is a student clinician at University of the Pacific’s Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic. Bhakta and the other student clinicians facilitate weekly meetings and guide discussions for Pacific’s aphasia community group which is led by Larry Boles, PhD, CCC-SLP, professor of speech-language pathology. The group provides a forum for clients who suffered from strokes and strives to help them regain communication skills through interactions with family and friends. Learn more about Dr. Boles and the aphasia group here.

In the future, Bhakta hopes to contribute to her profession through research; and providing clinical opportunities for future speech-language pathology students. She also plans to volunteer her time at community outreach events. Last year she participated in the “Night at the Ball Park” which was organized by alumnus Benjamin Reece ‘01, ‘08. The event gives families with disabilities the chance to attend a baseball game free of charge. “It was nice to bring together families and give them opportunities to share similar experiences. Overall, a goal of mine is to be involved with or create a group that provides events like this to clients and their families,” said Bhakta.

Although her family emigrated from Africa, Bhakta is ethnically Indian and was born in the U.S. An experienced dancer, she participated in competitive hip-hop from seventh grade through her sophomore year at UCLA. During her junior year at UCLA, Bhakta also competed with the cultural Indian dance team.


Student Spotlight: Kayla Villalpando ’13, ’14

Kayla at the 2013 Commencement Ceremony.
Kayla at the 2013 Commencement Ceremony.

Kayla Villalpando ’13, ’14 graduated in December from the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with a master’s in speech-language pathology (SLP). Villalpando originally came to University of the Pacific as a Division I soccer player where she also received her bachelor of science in speech-language pathology. She loved Pacific so much that she decided to apply to the 15-month SLP master’s program.

“The professors really made my experience at Pacific extra special.” Villalpando said “I also enjoyed the family feel of the speech-language pathology department.”

Villalpando was inspired to study SLP because of experiences with her niece’s speech therapists. Born with a rare chromosome disorder, she received care from a variety of therapists. Villalpando marveled at the therapists’ positive impact on her family’s life. She witnessed firsthand the difference speech therapists can make on their patients’ lives. Villalpando strives to have the same impact in the community as she begins her career. She recently accepted a position in Stockton where she will be working in early intervention in a hospital setting.

“SLP is the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “I’d recommend studying SLP at Pacific because of the professors and the clinical experience the program provides.”

Villalpando has exciting plans for the near future. Her professional goals include earning her Certificate of Clinical Competence, transitioning into acute impatient SLP care and continuing to learn and grow as a speech-language pathologist. She also hopes to get married, start a family and run a marathon. Originally from San Jose, Calif., Villalpando comes from a large and boisterous family with five nieces and nephews. She can often be seen walking her dog Coco, as she takes her everywhere.


Alumni Spotlight: Tracey Tong ’14

Tracey Tong_resizedInspired by her speech-language pathology experience at University of the Pacific Tracey Tong ’14 is furthering her education at University of Washington. There she’ll obtain her master’s in medical speech-language pathology (SLP). She credits the clinical experience she received at Pacific to her successful transition to graduate school, where she is already far ahead of her peers. Tong hopes to use her master’s as a foundation for pursuing her passion: a career working in hospitals where she will be a force of love and hope in patients’ lives.

Tong graduated from University of the Pacific in May 2014. She misses her Pacific professors, whom she feels cared about her like family. In particular, she is grateful for her faculty advisor Dr. Jeannene Ward-Lonergan, Professor of Speech-Language Pathology. She remembers how Dr. Ward-Lonergan was always willing to talk and answer her questions.

Tong received the Florence Scott van Gilder “Tolley” Endowed Award. The scholarship inspired her to become an outstanding clinician because she knew the faculty at Pacific believed in her. Tong recommends the SLP field of study to prospective students.

“It’s rewarding to see the improvements in patients’ lives,” she said. “The work is worth it.”

Tong was raised in Fremont, Calif. In her spare time she enjoys crocheting, baking, hiking and playing volleyball. In addition she loves being involved in her local church. In the future Tong hopes to serve the less fortunate through medical missions abroad. She feels it is her duty to help others who did not have access to the same benefits. Tong looks forward to keeping in touch with other Pacific SLP alumni as she continues her career. She expects to be amazed by what her fellow Pacific graduates achieve.


Student Spotlight: Yvette Young ’14, ’15

Yvette Young_resizedYvette Young ’14, ’15 is a graduate student in the speech-language pathology (SLP) program at University of the Pacific. She is the recipient of the Virginia Puich Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes students who have illustrated clinical and academic excellence who are entering Pacific’s Graduate Program in speech-language pathology.

Young grew up in Manteca, Calif. and only moved to Stockton a year ago. The support of the faculty and staff aspired her to choose Pacific. Speech-language pathologists inspires to help improve and impact the lives of others. “I was inspired to study Speech-language pathology because of the opportunities speech-language pathologists have to positively impact the lives of others by helping them communicate.” Young shares the same ambitions as her fellow aspiring speech-language pathologists. The Virginia Puich Endowed Scholarship has provided Young the opportunity to focus more on her studies and better prepare herself for the career that will follow the 15 month speech-language pathology program.

A compassionate, hardworking problem-solver, Young shares that receiving the Virginia Puich Endowed Scholarship “is such a great honor” and it means the world to her because it shows her that the faculty and staff believe in her and her full potential. With the full support of her faculty and School she is ready to apply her knowledge.

Young feels very motivated and ready to fulfill her purpose in life after she completes the graduate program. She encourages future speech-language pathology students to immerse themselves in the field. “It is important to fully dedicate yourself to your studies because what we learn in the classrooms and in the clinics will impact our clients and the community.”



Student Spotlight: Emily Holmstedt ’14, ’15

Emily Holmstedt_resizedEmily Holmstedt ’14, ’15 was the recipient of the Florence Scott van Gilder “Tolley” Endowed Award. She received this scholarship because of her academic and clinical excellence. This award will support her future plans to continue onto graduate school in the speech-language pathology field.

Holmstedt grew up in a small city in the East Bay called Alamo. Her mother was an alumna of Pacific so there is no question as to why she chose Pacific. Pacific offered Holmstedt exactly what she was looking for in a university: small class sizes, good relationships between professors and students, and a school close to home. Holmstedt’s interest in speech therapy began in her senior year of high school which prompted her to look into Pacific’s speech-language pathology program.

The love and passion for helping and working with others has always been a part of who she is. She has worked with the preschool Sunday school program at her church where she gained experience with working with many families. In high school she started to find her niche working with special needs students. She found herself coaching Special Olympics and became a teacher assistant for a special day class. Through these experiences she grew a love for helping students “find their individual ways to communicate and realized communication was such a multifaceted ability.”

Holmstedt shares her gratefulness and appreciation for the scholarship. “After receiving the award, I continue to challenge myself even more to study and acquire the best knowledge and experience possible as a future SLP because people who don’t know me are willing to invest in my higher education. I want to show them that their money is appreciated by doing the best that I can with the opportunities presented to me. It is motivating to have scholarships for students because it pushes them to be the best they can be and helps the student confirm that he or she is doing something right.

She has already put her undergraduate knowledge to good use when she helped create a community group called the Pacific Clinic called Pacific Aphasia Conversation Team (PACT). “PACT creates an opportunity for adults who have experienced communication difficulties resulting from a stroke to socialize with people who have gone through similar tragedies. It is a unique and wonderful experience for these adults to not feel like the one outcast in a peer group, but to be able to empathize and truly understand each other’s struggles. As a group facilitator, I have been able to witness the good that this type of social outlet brings to an individual.”

“I would love to start a group for TBI (traumatic brain injury) clients to meet and socialize with people who have gone through similar situations. I would also like to possibly lead a Bible Study to find a group of similar background and to be able to socially connect. I strongly value collective communication and have seen the positive impact made in the lives of those who are able to find a group of their similar abilities and to socially connect. I would like to develop more of these social outlets for people with communication disabilities.”

For Holmstedt education is more than just about passing a course. All that she has learned from her professors and peers prepares her for a career after graduation. “As I got into more challenging SLP courses, I always reminded myself that I needed to know all the material not just for a moment so that I could receive a passing grade and my professor and parents would be happy, but I needed to know the material because knowing that material could make an impact on someone’s life in the future.”