Explain your career path

After graduating from Southeast, I attended the University of South Florida.  In 2011, I graduated with my Doctor of Audiology. 
I joined the United States Air Force in 2010.  I served as an active-duty audiologist for seven and a half years and in 2017 I transitioned to the United States Air Force Reserve.  During my Air Force career, I have been stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. I am currently assigned back at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland with the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence and hold the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 
Following my time on active duty in the Air Force, I moved to the United Kingdom.  I have been working for MED-EL UK for over three years as a Senior Clinical Specialist and Business Development Manager.  I also have experience working as an audiologist in a private practice within the United Kingdom.

What was your major at Southeast and how would you characterize the quality of that program to prospective students?

My major was Communication Disorders. I was interested in hearing loss and helping people. Once I found audiology, I knew that is what I wanted to do.

I would characterize the quality of the program as great.  Although Southeast Missouri State University is not a huge university and the Communication Disorders program is not massive, I still felt well prepared to pursue further education at a larger university thanks to the education I received at Southeast.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I am originally from Kansas City, Missouri and wanted to find a school far enough away from home that I felt 'on my own', but not so far that I could not go home. I also wanted to do something completely different from everyone else in my high school. I found Southeast and it seemed the perfect fit. Not to mention, I got an academic scholarship, so that helped.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

This is too hard to narrow down to one or two people, but I can narrow it down to one or two groups. I was a cheerleader and a member of Delta Delta Delta, and having both of those groups of people to work with helped in so many ways. Being a part of the Greek community was amazing and led to meeting wonderful people. Having cheerleading as an outlet and friends to share it with, was something I am so glad was a part of my college career.

Share your best college memory.

I think I have three: winning Greek Week, cheering at the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and graduating Magna Cum Laude.

If you were in Greek Life, the Honors Program, or any other student organization, please tell us about that experience and how it impacted you.

I was a cheerleader and involved with Greek Life at Southeast.  Both were amazing experiences and I believe helped shape me into the hard-working person I am today.  I had to learn to not only time-manage classes, but also Greek Life events, cheerleading commitments, and working at KRCU.  These time management skills have been crucial during further education and careers.  In addition to learning important life skills, involvement in cheerleading and Greek Life allowed me to meet the people who would become my life-long friends.  

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

I am from a small town and had been friends with the same people all my life. Although most of my friends stayed in that small town, even if they did attend college, I left. It was hard because when I returned, I was no longer a part of that life. Being at Southeast, I made new friends. In fact, I speak to my SEMO friends more than I do my hometown friends and that is ok. I learned just because that is the way it has always been, does not mean you cannot grow and change. I learned that my friends from my past, were just that, my past. My Southeast friends were my current and my future. I did not want to be that small-town girl for the rest of my life, I wanted to see the world. I needed people in my life that felt the same or at least encouraged my dreams, and at Southeast, I found them.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

Be prepared to work. Communication Disorders is a tough major. If you are like me and want to be an Audiologist, stick with it. The program is very Speech-Language Pathologist driven, but grin and bear it through those parts, because it will be worth it in the end. If you would like to pursue a career in the military, do not be afraid. If you would have told me when I was at Southeast, three short years later I would be a Captain in the United States Air Force, I would have laughed. I never thought I could do something like that, but I did. Do not rule out any opportunity and never underestimate yourself.