The path that led Katie Cook to SLP Online, Longwood’s speech-language pathology (SLP) prerequisite Kathryn Cook Holding a set of giant teeth courses, began with her fiancé and her own desire to make an impact. 

“My high school sweetheart, Matt, has struggled with a stutter his whole life,” explained Cook. “When he expressed to me how frustrating it is for him to be unable to effortlessly and fluently speak what’s on his mind, I realized just how impactful this career can be for those with all types of communication difficulties.”

When she decided to pursue a career as a speech-language pathologist, Cook appreciated the SLP Online’s flexible, asynchronous schedule, which allowed her the freedom to begin an internship with a local speech-language pathologist. After completing the coursework required by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association a year ago, she met all the requirements to practice as an SLPA and began a job at the same clinic. 

“I knew this was the right track for me because I wanted as much background in the field as possible to really learn and progress towards my goal of becoming a speech-language pathologist,” Cook said. 

Now, having completed her SLP Online leveling coursework, Cook has found both her passion and her place at Longwood. 

“I decided to stay at Longwood for my master’s degree because I felt at home in the program,” she said. “Even through distance learning, I’ve felt connected to and supported by each professor I’ve had at Longwood. When I attended the graduate program open house, I was immediately made to feel at home by snacks and comfortable conversation. My favorite quality is, without a doubt, the supportive and comfortable environment that the whole program exudes — from professors to peers.”

On track to start her Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in the fall of 2023, Cook seeks to grow her knowledge alongside supportive professors within a community of learners.

“I knew that I would benefit most from a program that values each student as an individual, and I feel that’s what I’ll get here.”

She has already experienced the hands-on guidance and mentoring provided by CSD faculty, citing Assistant Professor Dr. Erin Wallace as a huge support — though she has not yet taken one of Wallace’s classes.

“Dr. Wallace offered a phone conversation to help guide me early on as I navigated the requirements and steps necessary to becoming a SLPA,” Cook said. “Dr. Alison King and all of the professors I have had throughout my courses have also been willing to help me in any way they can.”

Cook looks forward to beginning clinical work on campus in her first year of the CSD program, acquiring the new skills of feeding therapy and how to conduct assessments. She is confident that she will complete the program with the knowledge and skill necessary to also be a great clinician.

“Not only have I had nothing but great experiences with Longwood’s CSD program, but I have had the opportunity to work with two SLPs who did their master’s degrees at Longwood,” Cook said. “They are wonderful, knowledgeable clinicians.”