April 11, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Summerville, South Carolina native Emily Fisher was home on winter break during her first year at UofSC when she found her calling. She had ruled out a career as an elementary school teacher but still wanted to help K-12 students and their families. Fisher shadowed one of her high school swim coaches, who was a speech-language pathologist, and was hooked.
“I realized that being a speech-language pathologist allowed me the honor of working with people and their families, connecting with them, and bearing witness to their lives in a one-on-one setting,” Fisher says. “Each day gives me the chance to recognize and uplift the power and strengths already existing within my clients and their families.”
I realized that being a speech-language pathologist allowed me the honor of working with people and their families, connecting with them, and bearing witness to their lives in a one-on-one setting.
-Emily Fisher, M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2022
The Honors College student returned to campus with a new purpose and soon joined Suzanne Adlof’s South Carolina Research on Language & Literacy (SCROLL) Lab. Supported by a Magellan Grant and two Honors Exploration Grants, Fisher worked with the communication sciences and disorders associate professor to improve early identification of language and reading difficulties in children.
Fisher graduated with Leadership Distinction in Diversity and Social Advocacy in 2019 with two B.A. degrees (English, Experimental Psychology) and double minors in Spanish and COMD. She also managed to spend two summer terms in Spain, take several master’s-level COMD courses and win two volunteer service awards (Paul P. Fidler, Presidential Volunteer Service) – all while maintaining a nearly perfect grade point average.
The following year saw Fisher traveling back to Spain to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, but there wasn’t a question as to where she would pursue her master’s degree upon her return.
“Attending UofSC has given me the chance to learn from leading and expert researchers, have engaging practicum experiences and conduct research aligned with my interests,” says Fisher, who returned to Adlof’s lab as a graduate research assistant and found another mentor in assistant professor Lisa Fitton. “Both Dr. Adlof and Dr. Fitton work hard and with intention to ensure that their courses are engaging, informative and inspire critical reflection, and both of them invest their precious time in working with students. I am incredibly grateful to have been one of the students they have mentored and taught.”
After graduating from the M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders program in August, Fisher plans to work in Columbia-area public schools as a speech-language pathologist specializing with bilingual children who experience literacy and language difficulties. It’s a role not many can fill, but one that she’s been preparing for over the past seven years. She is also interested in working with older adults in a skilled nursing facility, where she can combine her knowledge/skills and compassion to help her clients find dignity and comfort in this stage of their lives.
Attending UofSC has given me the chance to learn from leading and expert researchers, have engaging practicum experiences and conduct research aligned with my interests.
-Emily Fisher, M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2021
Long term, Fisher plans to return to school to pursue a Ph.D. to become a faculty-researcher in the field and is even completing the Preparing Future Faculty program at the UofSC Center for Teaching Excellence in preparation for this goal. As evidence of her achievements and the promise she shows within the field, Fisher was awarded the Cecil Scott Recruiting Fellowship in 2019, the Webber Scholarship from her department in 2020 and the Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers (SPARC) Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2021.