Department of Communicative Disorders’ four-year Audiology Doctorate (Au.D.)
program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has been a goal and a
passion for both Erin O’Leary and Rebecca Lewis, two UWSP students currently
enrolled in the graduate program.
Au.D. program is collaborative between UWSP and UW-Madison. Through distance
learning, clinical work, and classes at UWSP, students prepare for work in audiology,
the study of hearing and its related disorders.
and Lewis both graduated from UWSP in May of 2011 with undergraduate degrees in
Communicative Disorders, along with a Psychology minor and Spanish degree
respectively, and chose to continue their education in the Au.D. program
because of personal experiences with hearing loss in people close to them.
I was ten, I wanted to do audiology,” said O’Leary, whose brother suffered from
severe hearing loss. “I wanted to do something where I could help people.”
had a friend who was deaf and learned sign language in fourth grade in order to
communicate with her, inspiring her to work within the audiology field.
I was about eleven years old, it’s been set in stone as to what I would be
doing,” Lewis said.
availability is another reason why O’Leary and Lewis chose the Au.D. program at
baby boomers are getting older and experiencing hearing loss,” O’Leary said.
“It’s called presbycusis, or general hearing loss, and along with that our
generation is experiencing a lot of noise-induced hearing loss from iPods and
other devices being too loud.”
Henning, Assistant Professor of Communicative Disorders and instructor within
the Au.D. program, said that because of the high demand for audiologists six
prospective students are now sought each year for the program instead of four
in the Au.D. program work with instructors and fellow classmates at the UWSP
clinic assisting students, faculty and other members of the community with
really like the hands-on work and all of the experience within the clinic,”
Lewis said. “Having that really helps learn the material.”
and Lewis both said that the experience of graduate school is much different
than in their undergraduate degree, especially when coupled with the challenges
of distance learning, but that the faculty in the program and life in the city
of Stevens Point make up for it.
love it here,” O'Leary said. “This town, the campus, it's so close and homey,
so when I do the uncomfortable things like providing services to a patient for
the first time, it makes me feel comfortable.”
hopes to stay in a small community after graduating and working in a hospital
or clinic with Hispanic children.
just really like the language and culture,” Lewis said.
would like to work with an ear, nose, and throat doctor after graduating,
working side-by-side to help people with balance issues.
interesting how audiologists cure balance problems,” O’Leary said. “My great-grandmother
had balance problems and it interested me because the science behind everything
is so crazy.”
O’Leary and Lewis both had personal experience with hearing issues in those
close to them, UWSP’s collaborative Au.D. program was a perfect fit, giving two
passionate students the opportunity to help those in their community.