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What every minority speech pathology student needs to know about

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If you are currently in school ( undergraduate, graduate or PhD student) for speech therapy/communication sciences and disorders; this was written for you. Before I tell you all about it, I have to give you some background story about the importance of paying attention to invitations from the universe that can completely change your life. 

Back in 2004, I was an undergraduate student at a free public school in Brazil. My father was very sick, and I had on average $.50 to eat for the day, every day at college. I often walked to school because I didn’t have enough for the bus. On my last year in college, I stumbled upon an advertisement on a wallboard: International Exchange Student program for special education and related fields. After a series of small incremental elimination processes, I was one of the four students selected to come spend 6 month in the USA. Obviously, all expenses were paid, as I would have never afforded such an investment. Lots have happened since then, but if you ask me about what one thing has led me to being the owner of two successful speech therapy businesses today: The ability to pay attention to small opportunities that will help you grow.  Following up on that initial calling, was the first step; the second step appeared two years later when I heard of and applied to an Asha program called the Minority Leadership Student Program (MSLP). When I applied for the program, I was on the verge of deciding to quit speech pathology. I had an accent, my English was limited, and I felt dumb. If you are not an international student in the field of speech pathology, you may not know the high standard people will judge your intellect, capacity and potential to become a speech pathologist based on how you talk. I was broken. I was disheartened. I was ready to go into any type of technology program.

All this back story to tell you: If you are a minority ( male, African american, LGBTQ, hispanic, Asian, or a foreigner) student you really must apply for the program that helped me take the second step towards believing in me. I still remember the day I received that letter of acceptance!

What is the Minority Student Leadership Program?

Here are the words directly from Asha:

“The MSLP is a leadership development program established for undergraduate seniors, master’s students, AuD students who are enrolled in communication sciences and disorders programs, and PhD students who are pursuing a research doctoral degree”

Applications are from  March 12–May 7, don’t let this chance pass by. 

You can learn more directly from the Asha website here:

What you cannot learn from Asha on this one page informational resource is that the MSLP program will give you friends for life. The MSLP program will give you tools and resources to become a leader in our profession. 

On a practical sense I can tell you some of the things I experiences: We had all expenses paid to attend Asha, and we roomed with another participant in the program. We got to meet people who look just like you, people with accents, people of color, people who have become the big fish in the ocean and it will inspire you in ways that you can only comprehend once you become part of the MSLP family.


As I grow and achieve big and better things in my personal and professional career, I am reminded that my truest SLP friends are the ones I made in 2006 on the MSLP program. Obviously, none of this would be possible or even as powerful and long lasting if it was not run by people who care so much about the program and set a great example as Melanie Johnson and Vicky D. Williams, who are two of the people I will always owe a lot of what I have accomplished thus far. They are the rock stars of Asha! 

I have always felt privileged to have participated on the program, and every time I meet someone who I think belongs in the MSLP family I tell them about it. Obviously, it is impossible to ever know if my one on one advice telling these students I meet to apply ever pans out, but I hope you do listen to me: Apply!

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