SECD student Emma Spence shines on international gymnastics stage

Emma Spence smiles for a photo wearing her bronze medal from the World Gymnastics Championships

SECD student Emma Spence shines on international gymnastics stage

13 Dec 2022     By Kelcey Buck

Emma Spence, a sophomore majoring in communication sciences and disorders and Husker gymnast, helped Team Canada to a historic bronze medal at the World Gymnastics Championships earlier this fall. 

“It was so unreal,” Spence said of the moment the team realized they had earned Canada’s first-ever team medal at a World Championships. “Our team wasn’t favored to medal so our goals going into the competition were to stay united as a team throughout the competition, have fun, and try our best. We made history for Canada and qualified a team for the Paris 2024 Olympics on top of that. I am so proud of myself and my team for how we competed, and thankful for everyone who has supported and helped me achieve this.” 

A native of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, Spence began being recruited by the Husker gymnastics coaches near the end of her junior year of high school. Although the pandemic prevented her from visiting campus, the conversations with the coaches and virtual tours of the campus and facilities convinced her the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the right fit for her. 

Spence was undecided on a major when she arrived at Nebraska, but a few meetings with a career coach helped her discover communication sciences and disorders. 

“When I learned about speech-language pathology, I was so intrigued,” Spence said. “I thought it would be a fun major to explore and would lead to a rewarding career in the future.” 

At Nebraska she said she has appreciated the support both from her instructors and the staff in Husker Athletics to help her balance the demands of being a student-athlete. 

“The faculty that I’ve had have all been very supportive and accommodating with me when I need to miss class for a competition and help me catch up when I get back or stay up-to-date on the road,” Spence said. “There are lots of people who work in compliance and academics who help me organize my classes and plan my course schedule ahead of time. My coaches have played a huge part in helping me get my gymnastics ready for those competitions and my teammates by my side supporting me in and out of the gym.” 

As she thinks about her future as a speech-language pathologist, Spence hopes to return to Canada after graduation to put her degree to work. 

“I am bilingual – my first language is French – so I think I will use that to my advantage and be a bilingual SLP back home in Canada,” Spence said. “I think that I want to work with children as an SLP in schools or in a private clinic.”

In the meantime, she’ll continue to learn and grow as both a future SLP and a gymnast at Nebraska. Spence and her Husker teammates have their first of four home meets at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, when they take on Arkansas at the Devaney Center.  

Special Education and Communication Disorders