2018 Student Fellow Interview

Madeline Wollersheim
Speech Language Pathology, Master's Student at University of Arizona

Area of Research and Clinical Interest: Community/workplace/academic re-integration post acquired neurological damage

University Advisor: Dr. Jessica Brown
Conference Mentor: Dr. Kathleen Youse

Why were you interested in the ANCDS Student Fellow Program?
I applied to the program with the hopes of meeting many like-minded individuals in our field who have interests in working with individuals with neurogenic communication disorders.  I was also very excited about the prospect of having a mentor to learn about opportunities in the field and chat about his/her professional journey.  Additionally, the year-long membership to the organization was appealing to me to have access to the latest research/continuing education webinars.  Overall, I saw it as an opportunity to meet experts, gain a deeper understanding of ANCDS as an organization, and learn more about our amazing field.

What did you enjoy about the ANCDS Annual Meeting?
I loved everything about [the conference].  I have to say that my mentor made my experience surpass any expectations I had.  She was an expert in her area and open to share her wisdom and listen to my interests.  She was a social butterfly and introduced me to all of her fellow colleagues and friends.  Being by her side for the day made it feel like much more of an intelligent, SLHS-focused family than simply a professional organization.  I attended ASHA in the past, and the overwhelming number of individuals, vendors, posters, and talks made it inevitably feel like I was (a) in a sea of people I did not know, and (b) missing out on talks because I always wanted to be 10 places at once.  The intimacy of the ANCDS conference allowed me to have real conversations with other individuals in whom I was genuinely interested.  Moreover, I attended all of the fascinating talks going on throughout the day and learned about research in areas I am truly interested in.

Why would you recommend the ANCDS Student Fellow Program to future students?
The ANCDS fellow program is an amazing opportunity for students to connect with experts in our field and learn from them in a setting outside of the classroom.  Being able to converse and learn about different journeys throughout our field is eye-opening.  You never know who you will meet and how they might change your outlook, plans, or clinical practice!  ANCDS is filled with knowledgeable, wise, seasoned clinicians who are open to sharing their experiences and collaborating.  On top of that, everyone I met at ANCDS was kind and happy to chat.  It’s also a great opportunity to meet other students who have their own interests/research experiences.  I had such thought-provoking conversations with other students and look forward to staying in touch as we finish our Master’s/PhD programs.  I can’t say enough good about the experience.

Based on your first introduction to ANCDS, what do you feel are the most valuable benefits to students, clinicians, and/or researchers?
ANCDS provides members with natural opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals in our field.  I spoke with so many knowledgeable individuals who I would love to have as connections/peers/mentors throughout my career!  These professional relationships are inexplicably valuable for exchanging ideas; we have so much to learn from one another, and ANCDS is an organic time to connect with people you want to learn from and learn with.  It also provides CEU opportunities, which are applicable for anyone working with individuals with neurogenic communication disorders.