Manami Shah: Seeking to make a difference

Manami Shah: Seeking to make a difference

27 Oct 2017    By Kelcey Buck

Manami Shah was unsure what career she wanted to pursue, but she was certain about two things: she wanted to work in a medical field and she wanted to make a difference through her work. After receiving recommendations from family physicians and researching for herself, she knew audiology was the right fit for her. 

“I’m someone who’s very service-oriented. I’ve always been focused on the whole concept of helping people, especially those who are underprivileged,” Shah, a first-year Doctor of Audiology student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explained. “So, I did a lot of research and reading on my own, and spoke to people who work in audiology, and it seemed like I could make a difference.” 

Shah was born in Connecticut and raised in New York for six years before moving to India with her family. There, she completed her undergraduate degree with majors in both audiology and speech-language pathology.

There was a third certainty Shah had about her future – she wanted to return to the United States to continue her education. Thanks to some recommendations from her professors in India, she found her way back to the U.S. and into Nebraska’s audiology program.

“A lot of my professors told me about this university. They told me, ‘If you get into UNL, just make sure you go there.’”

As part of the admissions process for the program, prospective students participate in video interviews with members of the faculty. Shah said her interview experience seemed very welcoming and gave her great vibes about the program, which made it easy for her to say yes to her offer of admission despite never having stepped foot in the state of Nebraska before. Now, midway through her first semester here, she still feels that same warm welcome.

“I have found people are very friendly in Nebraska; very open to people from outside. They haven’t made me feel like an outsider so I think that’s very nice.”

Even being more than 7,000 miles away from her family and knowing she won’t be heading back to visit them in India for more than a year has left Shah unfazed. Instead, she is enjoying her new home and insists her biggest adjustment has been the colder weather that showed up for a few days earlier this month.

As for her future, Shah hopes to make her home in the U.S. after finishing her degree. She thinks she’d like to work in a medical setting, but knows that may change. Ultimately, her aspirations go back to what she’s known all along and the reason she chose audiology to begin with: she wants to make a difference in people’s lives.

“My biggest goal is to try and reach out to as many people as possible whom regular clinics and hospitals are not able to reach. If I can just make a huge impact on even a handful of people, I think I’m going to be able to say that I reached my goal.”

Special Education and Communication Disorders