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Arnold School of Public Health

August graduate to work with pediatric populations as speech-language pathologist

August 4, 2021 | Erin Bluvas,

The field of speech-language pathology tied everything together for Anne Elise Nicoladis. As an undergraduate at UofSC, she knew she wanted to work with children, and she knew she had a passion for research. The experimental psychology major served as a research assistant on many projects in the psychology and education departments – exploring related fields but not finding the perfect fit.

“Then I found speech-language pathology, and it brought together everything I was looking for – my interest in child development, passion for research and evidence, and my love for connecting with people,” Nicoladis says. “I became even more interested when I learned about the speech-language pathologist’s role in evaluating and treating pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders.”

After her 2019 graduation (Summa Cum Laude, Graduation with Leadership Distinction in Research), she enrolled in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders’ (COMD) Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology – Residential program and immediately began working in the Aphasia Laboratory. Led by COMD professor and world renowned aphasia expert Julius Fridriksson (recently named interim Vice President for Research for UofSC), this lab leads research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of this common language disorder that occurs after stroke or other brain injuries. As a member of the team, Nicoladis assisted with research, community events and support groups that the lab employs to offer a comprehensive approach to aphasia treatment.

Meanwhile, she continued to pursue her passion for working with pediatric populations. Nicoladis completed the requirements to become a Certified Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants Professional and soaked up the experiences offered through her various clinical rotations (e.g., Oak Point Elementary School, Greenville ENT Associates, Prisma Health Children’s Hospital). During her placement at the COMD department’s Montgomery Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, Nicoladis connected with clinical associate professor Angela McLeod.

“With each client, Dr. McLeod strives to provide the highest quality of care,” Nicoladis says. “The high standards she sets for herself as a speech-language pathologist makes me proud to be entering the field of speech-pathology, and as a clinical supervisor and mentor, she sets her students up for success and cheers them on when they succeed.”

The August graduate is currently completing an internship at Children’s Hospital Colorado (Top 10 in the nation) where she is building on her feeding and swallowing competencies in an inpatient acute care setting. Working with children of all ages, she supports patients and their families from bedside evaluation (after being admitted due to disease, trauma, surgery, etc.) and instrumental swallow studies (scopes and swallow x-rays) to providing support through the various stages of recovery. Next, Nicoladis will complete her clinical fellowship at a children’s hospital in her native New Orleans. 

Her advice?

“Shadowing in various settings and attending a variety of conferences and courses helped me find my passion for pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders,” Nicoladis says. “With my learning style, I’ve learned a lot from hands on experiences and relatable stories from working speech-language pathologists. Never be afraid to send an email, pick up the phone, or send that LinkedIn message. Whether it be to a professor, or someone in the field you admire, you never know what wisdom and or experiences you may gain.”

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