Former professor shares perspective with communicative disorders students

The Communicative Disorders Student Association (COMDSA) welcomed Sharon Sandridge, section head of Hearing, Speech and Balance Services at the Cleveland Clinic and vice president of Audiology Practices for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to their virtual chapter meeting Feb. 16.

Dr. Sharon Sandridge took part in a virtual presentation during a COMDSA meeting on Feb. 16.

Dr. Sandridge shared her experiences -from her undergraduate education to her current role at the Cleveland Clinic – with the members of COMDSA and the Student Audiology Association.

Dr. Sandridge was an assistant professor in Audiology and Hearing Aid Coordinator at Northern Illinois University from 1988 to 1992, which she called a “critical steppingstone for her career.” She said NIU offered her the opportunity to simultaneously teach, complete research, and work in a clinic, which provided her with the tools she needed to develop personally and professionally.

Throughout the presentation, Dr. Sandridge provided students with advice and information, and ended with her biggest career regret and best piece of advice for students.

“Her regret was that she wished she would have become involved in the ASHA and taken a leadership role earlier than she did,” said NIU student and COMDSA president, Madelynn Parrott. “Her advice followed the same line, as she encouraged students to take action and pursue being involved with ASHA or other professional organizations so that students get to experience the inner workings of their profession and learn even more.”

For NIU Doctor of Audiology student, Ryan Stanley, it was important advice.

“Audiology students and professionals have a myriad of options when it comes to professional organizations they may obtain membership to, with each having its own set of strengths and weaknesses,” said Stanley. “Dr. Sandridge provided tangible benefits of being a member of ASHA as an audiologist in a candid and thoughtful way.”

Stanley said it was refreshing to hear the recognition of Audiology’s minority status within the organization and the inverse proportion of attention it is given, despite this status.

“I (now) have a far better understanding of what ASHA does for and with Audiology as a field and would be more likely to join as a professional,” Stanley said.

Learn more about NIU’s School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders.

-Article submitted by Madelynn Parrott

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