The Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) department relies heavily on its alumni to serve as external short-term and semester-long supervisors to our graduate students and observation sites for our undergraduates. Most instructors use local alumni as guest speakers in their face-to-face classes. Although the online mode of instruction of 2020-2021 wreaked havoc on our instructional practices, Zoom provided a unique opportunity for our department to connect with alumni in other parts of the country. The old adage “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and the saying “every difficulty is an opportunity in disguise” was the motivator for the CSD department to create a series of Alumni Showcase sessions to re-connect with alumni outside the Bloomington-Normal area and create new connections with current students.

Three alumni spoke to the department during the Fall 2020 semester:

Julia Tockstein Dahlet, M.S.’15, shared her story of what it is like being an international SLP. She is a practicing SLP in Switzerland and was scheduled to meet with CSD students on a study abroad trip in March 2020.

Kim Pritikin, M.S. ’94, presented information about licensure and regulation issues for teletherapy and shared therapy materials. Kim, who lives in Georgia, practices as a teletherapist in Indiana and California. She shared a wealth of information with the department, which greatly assisted clinicians in the Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic as they adapted to the expansion of telehealth throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Ryan Mulligan (B.S. ’ 13, AuD ’16) spoke to the department about “A Day in the Life of a VA Audiologist”. His presentation was valuable for undergraduates and graduate students interested in audiology as he provided insights into his professional responsibilities in a specific locale.

During the Spring semester of 2021, we heard from two alumni on topics that were selected by students:

Morgan Shipley Holubetz ’03, M.S. ’05, works with pediatric and adult populations in an outpatient medical setting. Morgan recently experienced a sudden sensorineural hearing loss which resulted in cochlear implant surgery. Her topic was “using life experiences to grow as a therapist.”

Dr. Graham Schenck, M.S. ‘11. is a Speech Language Pathology Specialist in cleft palate/craniofacial anomalies and resonance, feeding, and speech sound disorders at Gillette Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, MN and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His presentation focused on this specialized population and his role on the Cleft Lip/Palate Team.

The CSD alumni committee and department would like to thank our outstanding alumni speakers for sharing their time and expertise with our students.