I am trying to get as much input as I can for my personal statement. I want to hear your overall impression, and your suggestions on how to make it stronger. Thank you in advance!!
explaining Chinese vowels and consonants to speech therapists
I do not have one of your typical childhood inspired stories. In fact, Speech-Language Pathology was an unfamiliar name to me when I first arrived in the United States as a 19-year-old. Knowing my talent lies within language, and my strong interest in neural and cognitive sciences, I decided to explore the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders, only to see if it was fitting for me. Little did I know, this decision completely changed my life in numerous ways. Most significantly, it led me to find my true passion.
In summer 2015, after a year of studying in the U.S., I participated in treating adults with aphasia, dysphagia, and dysarthria; and children with autism and learning disability at Beijing Rehabilitation Center. During this internship, a speech therapist at the facility approached me and asked me if I knew the IPA alphabet. It turned out that due to a lack of professional education in the country, none of the clinicians at the facility knew the IPA, and they could not perform available assessments that require transcriptions. As a sophomore who recently took a phonetics class, I took the initiative and volunteered to teach the IPA to the therapists. The next thing I knew, I was standing in front a room-full of speech therapists, explaining Chinese vowels and consonants. I It was that moment when I knew I found my calling. I not only want to directly help individuals with speech and language disorders, but I desire to impact on a greater scale: I want to offer education and assistance to professionals and future clinicians, so they can use their expertise to enable people in more profound ways. It was then I knew, I want to become an educator and a researcher in Speech-Language Pathology.
As one of the few bilingual minority students in my cohort, I was selected by ASHA from more than 200 applicants nation-wide, to participate in the Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP) at the 2017 ASHA convention. During the program, I had the honor to do a presentation for some of the top leaders and researchers in the field about the increasing linguistic diversity in the U.S. While there is a rapid increase in the bilingual population, our service providers are predominantly white and monolingual individuals who have not been properly trained to become linguistically and culturally sensitive. As I continued to research this issue, I realized how urgent it is for this field to develop a standard for providing appropriate, culturally responsive, and evidence-based bilingual services. It became evident to me that we are in desperate need of competent researchers and practitioners who address this specific area of concern. As a future minority and bilingual service provider, I understand that diversity is imperative to this ever-changing field, and it is obvious why this concept is the number two among ASHA's seven core values. I feel obligated to take it upon myself to become a leader in advocating diversity within the field. My experience at the ASHA convention further strengthened my determination to become a researcher and an educator. Only this time, I found my niche: I want to specialize in bilingualism.
Eager to explore more aspects in bilingualism, I obtained a double minor in English and Linguistics, and earned my certificate for Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). I became prominently informed in topics such as accents, dialects, literacy, speech perception, and second language acquisition. Incorporating this knowledge with my profound understanding in neural and cognitive sciences, I am equipped to apply this expertise to my clients' specific needs in a variety of settings. Last year, I shadowed and assisted a local school SLP with improving the literacy level for children who speak English as a second language (ESL). The indescribable feeling when I witnessed an immigrant child utter their first English word with my help marked a significant momentum that continues to motivate me. This year, I was selected to become a senior clinician upon excellent academic records, and treated my first accent modification client on my own at the department in-house clinic .
In my spare time, I modify accents for professors at my university who consider their accents as a barrier to lecture delivery. My work experiences as an ESL children's daycare teacher, and adult English teacher also attest my strong theoretical foundation and practical skills. It has been humbling, rewarding, and inspiring to see appointment requests from clients and students who continue to have a positive response to my therapy; in turn, their progress has motivated me to improve my skill set to become a more responsive clinician who exceeds their expectations.
Enthused by my career goal, I realized that my GPA in the first few years of college was not ideal. I understand that I did not capitalize my opportunity to achieve academic excellence in my first attempts for some classes. But I was determined to make things right. I retook all the major classes I did not get A's in the first time (except for one due to scheduling conflict), and I was able to achieve A's in all these classes. The actual number for my overall GPA might be average, but if you carefully examine my transcript, you will see extraordinary academic growth in the last two years of my college career. My nearly perfect GPA in the last 60 hours, and superb standardized test scores are the true reflection of my overall knowledge, work ethic and dedication. This is the type of effort I am committed to keep up in my graduate studies.
I believe I am a well-rounded candidate for your program. I am an experienced clinician who holds a solid theoretical foundation, and I demonstrate strong interpersonal, multi-tasking, and creative problem solving skills throughout my practice. As a first generation immigrant, I understand more than anyone that cultural differences should be embraced, instead of seen as another hurdle to tackle. My native competency in both English and Mandarin are also tremendous assets. Most of all, what truly sets me apart from the other candidates is that I do not see my future career as just a living to make: I aspire for excellence, I'm always eager to learn, and I feel called to become a leader who can make a change.
What excites me the most about our field is that it is constantly changing. My career passion lies within academia, because I desire to become the front runner of new knowledge. I consider myself an innate researcher, owning to my inquisitive and resilient personality. In my graduate studies, I am keen to dive into research under the guidance of renowned experts in our field. That's why ...... is my dream school ......