When people think of college, a variety of ideas may come to mind but any college student will say that there are many myths attached to the idea of college. With their new found freedom, students quickly learn that they must find balance between their academics and social life. While this may not prove to be the easiest task, Lucy Pacheco ’12, student of the Speech-Language Pathology program, has successfully learned this balance of pursuing her dream career in speech-language pathology while still leaving a lasting impact at Pacific and in the community.
Pacheco was born in Stockton, California and raised in Linden, California. After graduating from Linden High School, Lucy started her education at University of the Pacific as a psychology major. It was not until her second semester of her sophomore year that she took Introduction to Speech-Language Pathology and became intrigued by the field. “It was through this course that I learned the need for bilinguals”, Pacheco explained, “and I always knew I wanted to help kids. I also liked the diverse options of the work settings.”
Pacheco found her passion in speech-language pathology but it was not always an easy road to pursue. She confessed that “since I’m a first generation student, it was hard to find available resources.” Her family did not attend college so it was difficult for them to provide the resources and guidance she sought when she faced struggles in her college career. One person who encouraged her when she doubted herself was Allison Dumas, Associate Director of the SUCCESS program here at Pacific. “Allison helped me a lot. She believed in me and encouraged me to continue my education.”
In addition to Lucy’s proficiency in her academics, she also decided to involve herself in campus life through the Pacific National Student Speech-Hearing Language Association (NSSHLA). Pacheco joined the association in fall of 2010 and thought it was a great opportunity for personal development. “I wanted to get to know my peers. I also knew it was a great way to practice collaborative work, which is very important in our professional careers.” NSSHLA recently partnered with Panda Express to host fundraisers where 10 percent of their proceeds will go to the students. Another fundraiser idea that member Charlotte Austin ’12 has come up with was to sell wristbands to the community. With all the money they have raised, they hope to purchase at least one iPad for the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorder Center.
Pacheco has come a long way from her small town in Linden. It has not always been the easiest journey pursing her passion as a speech-language pathologist but she has found encouragement along the way. As she continues to find success, she has not forgotten those who have helped her on her journey. She expressed extreme gratitude to her professors for having such an organized program and providing a fun and enthusiastic environment to learn. She looks forward to graduating with the rest of her classmates this May. As Lucy’s undergraduate experience comes to a close and a new chapter of her life is soon to begin, she reminds others interested in pursuing a career in speech-language pathology that “if you really want something, just go for it. Essentially, you will get to where you want to be because of your drive.”
By Mikhaela Sarmiento '12