As a high school student in Riverside, California, Nick Lough ’17, ’20 was the president of a club that worked to integrate students with special needs into the general student population. This experience, as well as watching his mother work as a special education teacher, motivated him to think about a career in an educational environment.
But it wasn’t until he took an elective introductory class in communication sciences and disorders as a student at the University of Redlands that he decided to become a speech-language pathologist.
“That introductory class opened my eyes to this profession and gave me an idea of what the behind the scenes and day-to-day work of speech-language therapists consists of,” Lough says. “It also taught me that I work better in one-on-one settings with students, rather than in a classroom, and I fell in love with the program.”
Studying communication sciences and disorders paired with liberal studies allowed Lough to familiarize himself with the Redlands graduate program and build relationships with the faculty members who would become his mentors and role models.
One of these influential figures was Professor Lori Osborn. “I’m constantly impressed by the knowledge that Dr. Osborn has about this profession and by her love for children,” Lough says.
As an undergraduate, Lough knew he wanted to attend graduate school—a requirement to enter into the speech-language pathology profession. While he had a couple of schools in mind, “University of Redlands was always the choice I was going to make,” he says.
Now, as a graduate student, he not only attends classes and participates in internships in educational and medical environments, but also participates in clinics at the Truesdail Center—an on-campus site where community members of all ages can receive speech and hearing therapy. Lough notes that the clinics have been his favorite part of the program because they encourage him to apply his knowledge to a variety of situations, which is something he’ll be required to do every day as a speech-language pathologist.
“Being able to work with actual clients in the clinic and getting real-life experience has been the most enjoyable experience for me so far,” he says. “Working in the clinic has taught me how knowledgeable speech-language pathologists have to be, and I know now that I’m capable of possessing and using that knowledge to help people.”
Comparing the U of R undergraduate communication sciences and disorders program to the University’s offering at the graduate level, Lough appreciates that the latter dives deeper into conducting research and applying findings to the profession. In both content and application, he notes, the graduate program is an excellent complement to the academic foundation he built as an undergraduate student
Looking back, Lough can’t imagine choosing to attend a different institution. “I really value how supportive everyone is within the University of Redlands community,” he says. “Learning is prioritized here, and, since the population is so small, no one gets lost in the classroom.”
Learn more about studying communications sciences and disorders at the University of Redlands.