Ashley Russell transferred to Harding after taking time off from school to reconsider her major. After meeting a speech pathologist, she believed she had found the perfect fit, and after researching the program, came to pursue a degree in communication sciences and disorders at Harding.
“The faculty-to-student ratio was phenomenal; it wasn’t like that anywhere else, and then in the undergraduate program you can get clinical coursework. You can’t do in a lot of other places,” Russell said.
While Russell feels that students pursue CSD for variety of reasons, she is most excited to work in a health profession and one-on-one with her clients.
“CSD is such a huge field, and it’s so broad and meets so many different needs that I think at the heart of it is just wanting to serve and help people,” Russell said. “It was the was the perfect mix of one on one, working with people, and having an impact on their lives. And honestly I love talking and people, and helping people to communicate is like the dream come true.”
Russell is especially appreciative of the experience she has gained through the practicums and looks forward to the meaningful relationships a career in CSD can bring.
“Working with families, it’s kind of like you become a part of their family, and they want to update you forever, and to have that relationship with people becomes very special, so I’m excited for that.”
Russell also feels blessed to have been able to study CSD at Harding because of how many patients she was able to work with as an undergraduate and therefore do more advanced work at the graduate level.
“Because they have the undergraduate clinical, I had two semesters at the onsite clinic, so I saw a variety of patients, which allowed me to see more complex patients in grad school. Harding has clinical opportunities that I’ve never seen anywhere else.”
While enrolled at Harding, Russell had the opportunity to work in a public school, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, a nursing home and an orphanage in Africa.
According to Russell, working with children in the orphanage changed her perspective on how she can use her skillset as well as how God can use any opportunity for her to help others.
“It helped me realize that I can have an impact on people who I see every day, and they don’t have to qualify for services, I don’t have to have them in a therapy session, but that God gave me a love for this profession and he has taught me skills that can aid me no matter who I meet. And I think he wants me to use this all the time.”