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Katherine Paulino-Gomez, M.A., CCC-SLP, Brings Unique Perspective to SLP Faculty

Paulino-Gomez Draws On Her Own Upbringing to Promote Inclusivity in Speech-Language Pathology

September 14, 2023
Katherine Paulino-Gomez Headshot
Katherine Paulino-Gomez

“Expect a lot of multilingual, multicultural consideration,” says Paulino-Gomez on how she conducts her class. “Everything that I give them, I will add my bilingual twist to it.” Born to immigrant parents, she knows first-hand about the experiences that non-English speaking families encounter throughout a child’s academic career. Paulino-Gomez found speech-language pathology as an undergraduate student exploring externships at Lehman College. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she felt she could enhance her influence in the field by obtaining graduate and doctoral degrees.

According to a 2019 report by the American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), of the 175,000 practicing ASHA-certified SLPs, 92 percent identify as white, and 95 percent identify as non-Hispanic or Latino. Paulino-Gomez hopes to inspire change and promote more diversity in the field.  “I want to guide people who look like me, speak like me and grew up like me. That’s why I’m here,” she says.

As a graduate student, Paulino-Gomez completed an externship with NYMC affiliate Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD), where she became familiar with the SLP program at NYMC. “I had an idea of the clientele that NYMC treats, and it aligned with my population of interest.” She knew NYMC SLP students were seeing bilingual patients at WIHD and there was an opportunity to explore that niche at the College and offer her expertise.

Now that she has the chance to extend her experience with the bilingual population to the students at NYMC, Paulino-Gomez has set several professional goals for herself. “I want to make the course as applicable to clinic as possible. I want to be as specific as possible so students can take my lectures and assignments and feel prepared for clinic,” she says. In the future, Paulino-Gomez would like to see a bilingual specialization track implemented into the SLP curriculum.

Paulino-Gomez enjoys working with the graduate level population because the application of the content in the classroom so closely connects to clinical studies. “It can be harder at the undergraduate level for students to make that connection because they are not seeing a client after class,” she explains.

Paulino-Gomez is currently in the process of completing her Ph.D. in speech-language hearing sciences from The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, conducting research in cognitive control in bilingual children with language impairment. Still a student herself, Paulino-Gomez knows she does not have the answer to everything, and she makes it known to her students. “It’s okay to not know, but have the tools to figure it out,” is a message she frequently emphasizes to her class. “I do not know everything, so you can question me, and we will figure it out together.”