Speech-Language Pathology Students Gain Experience Through Internships

The job market is growing for speech-language pathology, and students in one of the College’s newest programs are wasting no time in gaining experience to prepare for their future careers. 

Casey Burke ’19 M’22 and Dana Hostetter ’21 M’22 recently completed internship experiences that reinforced the knowledge they are learning in the classroom. 

Burke worked at The Center for Pediatric Therapy in Wyomissing, Pa., where she spent her early time observing and assisting. She progressed to selecting materials for the session for each patient based on their chart and what specific goals they were targeting.

“Near the end of my internship, I picked out the materials and assisted in the session by reviewing what was previously learned, reading the scenario cards, or going over social detective skills,” said Burke. 

When she had a break in her patient schedule, Burke observed the physical and occupational therapists at work in the center. “There were some weeks that I would be able to sit in and see how age and diagnosis change the therapy session completely,” she said.

Burke, who would like to pursue a career with pediatric patients, quickly learned that not all lessons go as planned. 

“I learned that to be good at this job, you need to be flexible and organized. There are going to be days that the patient you are seeing wants nothing to do with what you planned, and you have to figure out what you can do next to target the same skills,” said Burke, who is working toward bachelor’s degrees in exercise science and communication sciences and disorders as well a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.

Burke previously spent two summers working as a counselor for the social skills treatment camp run by the Manhattan Psychology at Big Apple Day Program to build her skill set and career portfolio. 

Hostetter also enjoyed working with children this spring at Lititz Elementary. She visited classrooms spanning kindergarten through sixth grade at varying times throughout the week to receive diverse experience with students. 

“I would help the speech and language pathologist prepare materials and then she would let me assist in activities or lead activities. I learned a lot about different disorders that you may come in contact with in a classroom,” she said.

Hostetter had previously shadowed a speech therapist and completed a summer program at Lancaster General Hospital.

“The summer before my senior year, I participated in a program to complete 50 volunteer hours in my desired field,” said Hostetter. “By the end of the program, I knew speech-language pathology was what I wanted to pursue.”

Along with their internships, Burke and Hostetter are enjoying being among the first speech-language pathology majors at The Valley. They provide input on the curriculum and have started a chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.

Learn more about the opportunities available in our speech-language pathology program here.