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Kailie McHugh ’19

Two different paths led Kailie McHugh ’19 and Mackenzie Zoller ’19 to pursue a career speech-language pathology, but both ended up at Pacific.

McHugh found her purpose when she was in high school. “I always knew I wanted to work with kids,” said McHugh. Her senior project focused on special education and she volunteered in a special education classroom. “When I saw how excited they were to go to ‘speech,’ I knew it was the career for me,” she said. McHugh completed her bachelor of science in speech-language pathology at Pacific and is currently in the 15-month graduate program.

When I saw how excited they were to go to ‘speech,’ I knew it was the career for me.

Zoller shared what inspired her to become a speech-language pathologist. “Growing up, my sister received speech therapy services in school for years, which exposed me to the speech-language pathology field,” said Zoller. “I observed my sister’s progress and heard her feedback of how impactful working with the speech therapist was for her. Through my experience working with individuals with disabilities, both pediatric and adult populations, I became entranced by the many modalities of treatment the speech therapist was able to target.”

They both chose Pacific because of the diverse clinical experience opportunities. “The opportunities for clinical experience range from adults to children, as well as private clinics, schools and medical settings,” McHugh said. The emphasis on the clinical practicum was a key factor for Zoller who plans to work with an adult population in a medical setting.

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Mackenzie Zoller ’19

McHugh also shared that what makes Pacific stand out is the supportive faculty and staff. “The professors who teach our courses are so full of life and animated during classes,” she said. “They make it so easy to learn. They also provide us with so many resources and opportunities for networking outside of Pacific.”

McHugh and Zoller shared their advice for those considering a career in speech-language pathology. McHugh said, “Study hard, never doubt yourself and be courageous.” Zoller emphasized the importance of taking each client interaction seriously. “Students should look forward to every opportunity to interact with the client because innate skills are being developed. We are provided an opportunity to help people and make a difference in their lives.”


By Anne Marie H. Bergthold
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