August 2019 commencement spotlights

August 2019 SECD commencement spotlights

August 2019 commencement spotlights

15 Aug 2019    By Kelcey Buck

Carly DinnesCarly Dinnes

Davenport, Iowa  |  Ph.D. in Human Sciences (Communication Disorders specialty)

What made Nebraska’s Ph.D. program the right fit for you?
Karen Hux. I knew immediately the first time I talked with her that she was exactly what I was looking for in a mentor and that she would do everything possible to support my success.

What has been the most beneficial aspect of your Ph.D. program at Nebraska?
Having so many opportunities to work on research and teaching projects with great people among the faculty, staff and students at UNL, as well as amazing people in the Lincoln and Omaha communities.

What advice would you give others considering this Ph.D. program?
Find a mentor who will support you in the way you need to be supported and guide you into being the professional you want to be. A mentor should be dedicated to your development as a researcher, educator and future professional. Don't settle for a mentor who offers anything less.

What’s next after graduation?
I start my first faculty position as an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, right after graduation.

Holli LuffHolli Luff

Garland, Nebraska  |  Master of Arts in Special Education (Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired endorsements)

What made Nebraska’s master’s program the right fit for you?
The professors and connections I made throughout undergraduate. They took the time to get to know me and individualized my program for me.

Why did you choose the thesis option for your master's?
Typically my program does not have a thesis because both programs are "licensing programs." This means that I have to student teach again and I am required to fulfill a certaim amount of hours in the field with students or other professionals. I was a research assistant during my senior year of undergrad and I loved it. I want to continue to contribute to the field of education in more than just serving the students on my caseload. I want to serve teachers and other professionals as well with the research I am doing. There is little research in both visual impairments and deaf or hard of hearing students in education, there's a lot of unanswered questions for professionals, and by participating and sharing my findings or ideas, I hope to help answer some of those questions or contribute to developing those answers.

What has been the most beneficial aspect of your master's program at Nebraska?
It was so specific and individualized to me. They really took their time to get to know who I am and what I needed as a student.

What advice would you give others considering this master's program?
Get to know your professors and be honest with them. If you're overwhelmed, tell someone. Tell them. They are there to help you be successful and support you.

What’s next after graduation?
I've accepted and started a position with Lincoln Public Schools as a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for Northeast Lincoln.

Alyssa MountAlyssa Mount

Omaha, Nebraska  |  Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

What made Nebraska’s master’s program the right fit for you?
I had the benefit of going to UNL for my undergrad degree, where I got to experience classes taught by very passionate and knowledgeable professors. I always knew I'd be in great hands if I went to graduate school at UNL and that it would challenge me in ways to make me a better professional. Also, I wasn't sure which type of setting that I wanted to work in, so I liked that UNL was evenly split between classes/experiences with kids and adults.

Why did you choose the thesis option for your master's?
I've definitely been interested in research since I completed a UCARE project with Dr. Weissling in undergrad. This was a great way to expand my knowledge about research and hopefully report helpful findings for the profession. There were also skills I gained, like being able to investigate small details, which I can apply as a clinician as well. Since I started doing research, it's been a dream of mine to have an article published in a journal, which we might be able to do with my thesis.

What has been the most beneficial aspect of your master's program at Nebraska?
It has been very beneficial to learn from supervisors, professors and clients that I've gotten to work with. I was challenged in ways that led to growth, while working alongside people who also understood that clinic was something new for me. It was important that there was room for mistakes or to try out new ideas, because you never know what mistakes may lead to!

What advice would you give others considering this master's program?
I think UNL will give you great ways to branch out in a variety of ways and with lots of clinical and educational experiences! I think it's important to always reflect on your knowledge or experience level when you started graduate school. Taking a minute to think about how much you've grown as a person, clinician and learner can definitely help you get through the more difficult moments. Always give yourself credit for the hard work you are putting in!

What’s next after graduation?
I recently moved to Bozeman, Montana! I love spending free time outdoors and am looking forward to exploring this beautiful place. I will be starting my job search shortly and am open to working with adults and/or kids.

Hanna RingsdorfHanna Ringsdorf

Glenwood, Iowa  |  Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

What made Nebraska’s master’s program the right fit for you?
Nebraska's program challenge me both academically and personally. The faculty provided me with the tools and knowledge to be confident going into the workforce. As a student, I was pushed to apply knowledge to real-world situations. As a clinician, I was challenged to think big for my clients. These experiences solidified UNL being the right fit for me.

What did you gain from going on the Costa Rica trip in 2018 that will benefit you in your future career?
Where to begin? The Costa Rica trip was an outstanding experience which caused me to truly grow as a clinician. I gained a new outlook on service delivery models and flexibility within sessions. We were challenged to target what will make the biggest difference in a short amount of time, while also considering the client's personal preference. Perhaps the most important area of growth was cultural considerations. Not only did we incorporate Costa Rican culture, but also their workplace culture. The Costa Rica trip took my education to the next level.

What has been the most beneficial aspect of your master's program at Nebraska?
The Costa Rica trip.

What advice would you give others considering this master's program?
Study hard for class and work hard for clinic. Don't put yourself in a box. Take advantage of any and all opportunities to explore this broad profession. And in the midst of the studying and planning, take some time for yourself.

What’s next after graduation?
I've accepted a position with Omaha Public Schools as a middle school SLP, but who knows what is after that!

Meghann TorciaMeghann Torchia

Omaha, Nebraska  |  Master of Arts in Special Education

What made Nebraska’s master’s program the right fit for you?
The 14-month special education graduate program at UNL allowed me to work with professors I had as an undergraduate student. I had already built professional relationships with them, which made my transition into the graduate school much easier. Additionally, the classes offered in my program fit with my professional goals as a special education teacher to teach reading, writing, math and behavioral interventions with differentiated instruction and direct instruction. In this program, I was also introduced to research-based teaching methods and strategies by researching these methods during classes and being involved with my professors' research and my own research project.

What has been the most beneficial aspect of your master's program at Nebraska?
The most beneficial aspect of my graduate program at UNL has been being involved with research-based teaching methods and strategies and learning to find, read and assess research papers. I can use this to find effective teaching methods while working with students. I learned so much in this program!

What advice would you give others considering this master's program?
Don't be afraid to ask questions! The whole process of a graduate program can be scary, but the professors working with you are there to help you succeed – they've been through it before themselves and have worked with many other students. Work hard from the beginning and it'll make it much easier later in the program.

What’s next after graduation?
I will teach special education at an elementary school in Omaha. I'm so excited to start my new journey!


Special Education and Communication Disorders