Gap Year Leads to SLP Program

Alisa Kish has not followed the beaten path; she has forged her own. Taking a gap year to work as a speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) for Allied Instructional Services in Northumberland County, Va., Kish visited schools alongside speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and assisted them as they worked with students. 

Kish’s experience cemented her passion for working in schools and inspired her to Alisa Kish in academic regalia. enter Longwood’s Communication Sciences and Disorders, M.S. program. 

“The highlight of this program so far has been the clinic,” Kish said. “I love working with clients and coming up with fun and engaging ways to work on their goals. I enjoy seeing their progress.”

On track to earn her master’s in 2023, Kish has only deepened her love of speech-language pathology. Her dream job is to serve as an SLP in schools, holding workshops for parents and teachers about Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices (AAC), which help people who are unable to communicate verbally. 

“Time working as an SLPA allowed me to have hands-on experience working with students with and without disabilities,” Kish said.

Kish also points to Longwood’s strong student-professor connections. Two of her clinical supervisors, Stephanie Bailey and Julie Meyer, have become professional mentors. 

“Both gave me such helpful feedback after sessions and were always helping me come up with new ideas for therapy,” Kish explained. “They made me feel super confident in the therapy room and helped give me more insight into how I can better my therapy sessions every week.”

Kish knows that Longwood’s clinical offerings and hands-on experiences are preparing her for her future career. Longwood also offers SLPA and SLP Online, a series of courses that can help students get into graduate school and lead to direct employment opportunities. 

“The supervisors and professors create an open and inviting space that allows us to come to them anytime,” Kish explained. “I have enjoyed getting to know them and have learned unique takes on therapy from each one.”