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Arnold School of Public Health


I Am Public Health: Emmie Culclasure

April 2, 2018 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

Emmie Culclasure’s stop at Carolina during her college tour was supposed to be just a trip down memory lane for her mother, a UofSC alum. “When we arrived for the tour, I completely fell in love with the charm of the school,” says Culclasure. “From the Horseshoe to the historic buildings, and all of the rich history in between, I knew it was where I belonged.”

When Culclasure arrived on campus for her freshman year, the Macon, Georgia, native was already planning a career in speech-language pathology—thanks to hearing about the profession from a friend during her senior year of high school. Previously unfamiliar with the field, her research left her captivated by the array of settings it offered.

I am so grateful for the time each of the supervisors and professors invested in me and the wisdom and knowledge they shared to make me a great clinician.

-Emmie Culclasure, master of speech pathology student

As an undergrad, the President’s and Dean’s List recipient majored in experimental psychology and minored in communication sciences and disorders (COMD), maintaining a 4.0 GPA and receiving the M. Kershaw Walsh Award for Academic Achievement in Psychology in the process. When it was time to apply to graduate school—a highly competitive process in the COMD field—Culclasure hedged her bets by applying to five different schools. But she wasn’t ready to leave Carolina just yet and enthusiastically enrolled in COMD’s master of speech pathology program at the Arnold School of Public Health.

During her first year in the program, Culclasure had the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant in COMD professor and chair Kenn Apel’s Knowledge of Orthographic Learning Lab (KOOL2). “I was able to learn so much about the research side of our field from Dr. Apel and his doctoral student, Victoria Henbest, as well as assist on a few projects,” she says. “They have taught me the work ethic necessary to excel, and Dr. Apel, in particular, has shown me the characteristics that make up a great leader. As they say, it takes a village, and I am so grateful for the time each of the supervisors and professors invested in me and the wisdom and knowledge they shared to make me a great clinician.”

Under Apel and Henbest’s mentorship, Culclasure and another master’s student, Erin Forward, studied the development of orthographic knowledge through the elementary years. The two students will present their findings at Discover USC 2018 later this month.

Work hard and never lose sight of the end goal—it won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. Also, find your passion in life, whatever it may be, and pursue it—fiercely.

-Emmie Culclasure, master of speech pathology student

With interests focused on the development of language and literacy and effective interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, Culclasure plans to apply her research, course and clinical experiences to a career working with pediatric populations. She’s on track to complete her program in August of this year with another 4.0.

Culclasure credits her parents with picking her up on her lowest days, celebrating her successes, and encouraging her to follow her dreams. From her dad, she learned to push through even when it all seems to be just too much. From her mom, she learned to find the positive in every situation.

To future students, Culclasure has her own advice. “Work hard and never lose sight of the end goal—it won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it,” she says. “Also, find your passion in life, whatever it may be, and pursue it—fiercely.”