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Arnold School of Public Health

August grad to work at specialized feeding and speech clinic in Midlands

July 26, 2021 | Erin Bluvas,

Blythe Vickery has two main lessons to share from her time at the Arnold School: be inquisitive and keep an open mind. The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology - Residential student graduates in August, but the Arnold School became her home during her junior year as an undergrad.

With support from an Exploration Research Grant through the South Carolina Honors College, Vickery conducted research in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) – getting to know both the faculty and graduate students. She carried that curiosity forward into her master’s program, developing a passion for the COMD field and its many specializations.

“The first lesson refers to capitalizing on the opportunities you have in graduate school to learn as much as you can and to pursue your interests while you have such a wonderful support system and a connection of resources,” Vickery says. “Everyone I ‘bugged’ with questions was more than willing to answer them, and if they did not know the answer themselves, they helped me find a way to figure it out.”

Over the past two years, Vickery conducted precision audiology research – presenting her lab’s findings at multiple conferences. She won a Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers (SPARC) Award to attend the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and a student scholarship to attend the AGBell Global Symposium. She also served as secretary for the UofSC chapter of the National Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association, completed the UofSC Center for Teaching Excellence’s Preparing Future Faculty program, and was inducted into the Delta Omega National Honor Society.

“The second lesson refers to keeping an open mind about what you want to do, who you want to work with, and where you expect yourself to be at the end of your graduate program,” Vickery says. “I found out so many things about myself, including the fact that I wanted to complete a graduate thesis, I actually love working in the medical setting with adults, and I may go back to get my Ph.D. in the future.”

With that mindset, Vickery is moving forward with her plans for the future. She’ll start with a fellowship at a private practice in the Midlands that specializes in feeding and speech and offers the opportunity to receive advanced training in myofunctional therapy. She will also complete her lactation counselor certificate and pursue a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certification with a focus in auditory-verbal therapy. Long term, she would like to return to graduate school to earn a Ph.D.

“One of the things I most love about speech is that you can do so much with it!” Vickery says. “I’m looking forward to exploring all the opportunities this profession affords and am most excited about combining my interests in feeding therapy and the auditory-verbal therapy approach to create the very best early intervention services I can for families in the greater Columbia area.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.