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Arnold School of Public Health

Speech-language pathology graduate wins outstanding student award, plans career helping individuals with stroke, brain injury

August 10, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

Jane Stratton originally thought she’d work with large animals as a veterinarian and began her undergraduate studies at Clemson University in biological sciences. She soon realized she wanted to work with people in a healthcare setting and joined a health pre-professional honors society.

“They hosted weekly meetings with different health professionals,” Stratton says. “When one of the speakers talked about her experiences working at an in-patient hospital as a speech-language pathologist, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

After graduating, Stratton returned to her hometown of Columbia, where she worked as a registered behavior technician at The Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment. Applying to the nearby M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology-Residential program offered by the Arnold School’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) made sense logistically, but it also appealed to Stratton for additional reasons.

“UofSC’s program allowed me to work as a graduate assistant with the Aphasia Lab and have multiple clinical placements in a variety of settings,” Stratton says. “It also accepted students who have undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than communication sciences and disorders, which was important for me with my background in biological sciences.”

Through her program and graduate assistantship, Stratton developed interests in working with adolescents and adults who have experienced stroke and traumatic brain injury. In the lab, which is led by COMD professor and UofSC Vice President for Research Julius Fridriksson, Stratton contributed to cutting-edge research and treatment for individuals with aphasia (i.e., communication challenges following stroke or other brain injury). Her clinical placements gave her experience in public and private settings, including a trauma center.

Stratton found mentors in the classroom and outside of it. She particularly connected with clinical supervisors Leah Sullivan and Erin Deery as well as COMD course instructors Lynsey Keator, Lisa Johnson and Charley Adams.

“My mentors have strongly influenced me during my time at UofSC,” Stratton says. “These individuals have provided me with invaluable knowledge, support, and encouragement throughout my time at here and have been wonderful role models.”

After graduating this month, the Outstanding Master of Science-Residential Award winner will complete her clinical fellowship, preferably working with adults in a hospital setting. Long term, she would like to serve underserved communities in the southeast by working for a rural hospital.

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