Director of Clinic Finance and Operations, School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders
What year did you start working at NIU?
October 2016 to August 2020 and March 2022 to present.
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
Hometown: Wheaton, IL. Current town: Winfield, IL.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
What do you like about working at NIU?
The best part about working at NIU is the autonomy given to employees to learn and grow in their respective areas. We are given support and guidance that empowers us to create a variety of experiences for students.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
My advice to students is to not be afraid to be vulnerable. Ask questions, pursue uncomfortable tasks and be okay with being incorrect, as this is when actual learning takes place. Be proud of yourself when you accomplish something new, even if it was not a smooth transition.
Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
In 2019, before the pandemic, I was interested in learning if toddlers who were delayed in speech-language skills would make progress in their receptive and expressive language skills using teletherapy, as compared to toddlers whose parents were given a specific speech-language strategy each week. My interest was to see if teletherapy was a viable treatment modality for this population, as it would aid in reaching those clients in rural areas with limited access to services.
I wrote a grant and was awarded money to pursue this project. I had two groups of participants, one that received teletherapy and one that was given a speech-language strategy once a week via email. I had a total of five cases and assigned each to a student. At this time, teletherapy was emerging as a platform for therapy, but it was not yet used in the birth through three population. Thus, teaching the students speech-language treatment strategies through video conferencing was a large learning curve for all of us.
In the end, we learned our clients who received teletherapy made greater gains in their speech-language skills than those clients whose parents were given strategies via email. It also set the stage for those students on my team entering into the pandemic when all of our treatment went to teletherapy.
What do you hope students take away from your class?
I always wanted my students to have the opportunity to apply what they learned in the classroom during treatment sessions with clients. To me, this is true learning. Additionally, my goal was for the students to feel empowered and motivated to get their clients to think their session was the best time of their life.
What is your favorite campus event?
What is your favorite memory of NIU?
I always loved the end of the spring semester. We used to have a party in the clinic to celebrate the graduating students. One year, Dr. Mayer had residents from Oak Crest come to the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic to sing in front of the students. This was something the residents were doing with the graduate students all semester. It was quite special and my most favorite memory thus far!
Who has influenced your professional path?
My department chair, Sherrill Morris, has influenced my professional path. She continuously pushes me to go outside my comfort zone by gently introducing new activities. She is always available to guide me and provides a safe environment to ask questions or listen to my ideas.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I wanted to be an interior designer, and no, I am not doing this! I found I have two passions: a love for helping children and a desire to lead and manage people. In my current role, I am able to do both of these.
Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I am a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and a former member of the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA). I used to be a co-chair for the ISHA Early Intervention Committee, a member of the Teletherapy Committee and a member of the Evidence-based Practice Committee.
What community organizations are you involved in?
I am a part of the Illinois Early Intervention Program where I am certified to evaluate and treat infants and toddlers with suspected speech-language delays.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love to take my boxer (Wison) on long walks and spend time with my husband and friends, as well as garden.