May 2017 graduate spotlights: Audiology

May 2017 graduate spotlights: Audiology

01 May 2017    By Kelcey Buck

David Raybine  |  Omaha, Nebraska  |  Doctor of Audiology

Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

David RaybineWhat made you interested in audiology?
I have always wanted to pursue a career in the health sciences; nothing supplies me with more satisfaction than helping somebody. When I was in high school, I volunteered in a social program for teenagers with autism and Asperger's, and I was subsequently hired as a recreational therapist at Camp Munroe at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Most of the campers had speech and language disorders, and the problem was compounded in some of them with hearing loss as well. Being involved with the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC for eight years gave me an acute sense of how vital hearing and communication skills are, particularly in the development of a person’s social skills, and also piqued my interest in communication disorders. I was on track to receive a biology degree from Nebraska, but I decided to take an elective in a speech pathology class. I also ended up taking an introduction to audiology course, and the science-based curriculum appealed to me.

Another thing is that music is an essential part of my life. With my dad being a jazz musician, music allows me to appreciate how important hearing is. Being able to hear music provides life with joy. If I lost my hearing and could not appreciate music, that would be a profound loss. My grandfather, who also loves music, is hard of hearing and has worn hearing aids since he was in his 40s. It has been evident to me how important his hearing aids are to his ability to function both professionally and socially. I have always had three primary areas of interest: science, music, and helping people. One of the things that continues to attract me to audiology is that it seamlessly incorporates various aspects of all three interests.

What made you choose Nebraska’s Au.D. program?
Although they were not within my biology major, I took numerous speech pathology and audiology courses that reinforced my interest in this particular field. I had positive experiences in these courses taught by the venerable Dr. Boney, Dr. Carrell, and Dr. Pritchett, and I felt comfortable spending the next three years with the faculty at Nebraska.

Another facet of the program that appealed to me was the extensive vestibular focus in the curriculum. We had a full year of in-depth coursework with Dr. Honaker, which I believe was as good and thorough as anyone could receive. There was also the opportunity to gain valuable first-hand experience researching sports-related concussions by testing athletes through the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior in Memorial Stadium, and I ended up completing my capstone on this topic. Additionally, I was able to work part-time as a research assistant at Boys Town National Research Hospital while I was in the program, and it served as a relevant and valuable supplement to the academic coursework and clinical experience.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying audiology at Nebraska?
I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to be a graduate assistant for the first year of the program, which also factored into why I chose Nebraska's Au.D. program. While there were times where it was difficult to balance the academic responsibilities of the first year of a graduate program and research/teaching assistant duties, I found teaching to be quite enjoyable and gratifying.

What’s next?
After I receive my Au.D. license, I have a tentative plan to take a position as a diagnostic audiologist at the House Ear Clinic in Orange, California.

Courtney Smejdir  |  Lincoln, Nebraska  |  Doctor of Audiology

Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Courtney SmejdirWhat made you interested in audiology?
I started out in communication disorders, which is not far from audiology. It was in my sophomore year of undergraduate classes where I learned I was more interested in the audiology courses than my speech therapy courses. I did some shadowing in audiology and found that I enjoyed the ability to diagnose and treat the patient with a more immediate result.

What made you choose Nebraska’s Au.D. program?
I am from Lincoln and found the program to have a variety of expertise in the faculty and courses offered.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying audiology at Nebraska?
The most rewarding aspect has been going from knowing very little about our field to where I am now, seeing patients independently and helping them navigate their new sound world.

What’s next?
I will be working at an ear, nose and throat office in Des Moines, Iowa, where I completed my externship.

Caitlin Hinrichs |  Hildreth, Nebraska  |  Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (Audiology)

Minors: Gerontology, Education

Caitlin HinrichsWhat brought you to Nebraska?
I wanted to be a Husker!

What interested you in studying audiology?
The passion my instructor, Dr. Stacie Ray, showed sparked my initial interest in audiology and since then it has only grown.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying speech-language pathology/audiology at Nebraska?
The professors are so knowledgeable and I have so much to learn from them.

What’s next?
I will be continuing my education as a Husker Au.D. student!

Aly Lerman |  Naperville, Illinois  |  Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (Audiology)

Minor: Education

Aly LermanWhat brought you to Nebraska?
The superior faculty at the Barkley Center and the football!

What interested you in studying audiology?
I had chronic ear infections as a child and multiple sets of ear tubes. After constant visits to the audiologist, I realized how interesting and exciting of a job it can be. I am lucky to have known that I wanted to be an audiologist from such a young age. It continues to amaze and intrigue me every day.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying speech-language pathology/audiology at Nebraska?
I have met a lot of great people and made great friends here in Nebraska. I have had new and exciting experiences in and out of the classroom. I am proud to have been able to be the founder and president of the UNL American Sign Language Club. I hope to see that continue in the future.

What’s next?
I will be starting my Au.D. program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall.

McKenzie Rosdail |  Sidney, Nebraska  |  Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (Audiology)

Minors: Education, Gerontology

McKenzie RosdailWhat brought you to Nebraska?
I grew up in western Nebraska, so I stayed pretty close to home, and UNL made my education really affordable. I also knew that the college had a great speech-language pathology program, which was what I planned to pursue when I came here as a freshman. 

What interested you in studying audiology?
I took the Intro to Audiology course my very first semester and was super intrigued with the field that I hadn’t actually heard of before. After that, I did a lot of job shadowing with great professionals, and found the combination of counseling, the “hard” sciences and endless learning to be the perfect career for me.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying speech-language pathology/audiology at Nebraska?
The most rewarding aspect has been the opportunity to explore my own interests within the field through various electives including gerontology and American Sign Language, as well as through professional organizations and volunteer research.

What’s next?
I will be attending the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at Nebraska, starting this fall.


Special Education and Communication Disorders