Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville Communication Sciences and Disorders Program Marks 10 Years of Graduates With Open House, Alumni Luncheon

KINGSVILLE - April 29, 2008

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Public invited to tour clinical facilities May 2 from 1:30-4 p.m. in Manning Hall, room 108

The communication sciences and disorders (CSDO) master’s degree program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville celebrates 10 years since graduating its first students with public and invitation-only campus events on Friday, May 2.

The CSDO program invited its 110 total alumni to a private luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 219 of the Memorial Student Union Building. Program director Dr. Shari Schlehuser Beams will address the attendees, and program supporters William and Sadie Stromberg also will be recognized. The Strombergs established a charitable trust with the Texas A&M Foundation Trust Company that will offer support for CSDO students at Texas A&M-Kingsville, as well as agriculture students at Texas A&M University.

Following the luncheon is a free public open house from 1:30-4 p.m. in the CSDO clinic, located in room 108 of Manning Hall. Parking is available on the corner of Armstrong Street and Santa Gertrudis Avenue.

During the open house, faculty and program administrators will offer tours of the clinic and answer questions. Refreshments will be available to attendees.

The CSDO master’s program was started in fall 1996 to meet a regional and statewide need for speech-language pathologists—a profession that studies and treats disorders affecting speech, language, voice and swallowing. Candidacy status was awarded to the program by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in May 1997, with initial accreditation given by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language-Pathology of ASHA in 2000. In August 2005, the program was re-accredited through 2013.

According to Beams, the number of students applying to the program has risen nearly every year since it started. “For fall 2008, we had 72 students apply, which is the most ever.”

She added that the initial need for speech-language pathologists has only grown, leading to an extremely high employment rate for A&M-Kingsville CSDO graduates. “We’ve had very few graduates that have had to sit out more than a few months before getting a job.

“It’s such a diverse field, you’ll find our alumni in hospitals, public schools, home health agencies, private practices—just about any setting you can think of.”

Beams said the demand for speech-language pathologists stems from a number of reasons. One is an increase in the numbers for autism and dysphagia, or swallowing problems. Another reason is better, broader communication among the public about what speech pathologists do.

That being said, Beams noted that there is a lot about the field the public doesn’t know. That’s why she hopes to address as many people as possible during the May 2 open house and give a fuller picture of all that the profession has to offer.

“Beyond diagnosing and treating problems, a speech-language pathologist assists in communication. They help people get through daily living. The profession impacts quality of life.”

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