Marissa Mann, SLP Class of 2022, Wants to Be an Agent of Change in Her Patients’ Lives
Working with patients gave Ms. Mann a new perspective on just how much speech therapy can improve the lives of those who need it.
Marissa Mann, Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Class of 2022, became interested in SLP because it would give her a chance to be a health worker in a variety of different environments. Since deciding to study SLP at New York Medical College (NYMC), Ms. Mann has taken advantage of the diverse coursework and clinical studies offered by the College and has gained an appreciation for the profession and the benefits it can bring to patients' lives.
What inspired you to pursue your degree?
I wanted to become a speech-language pathologist because I wanted to be in a career that gave me the perfect balance. I wanted to be in one that allowed me to help and educate others, allow me to do medically related work, and give me the flexibility to be in various settings. Becoming a SLP will give me the opportunity to experience all of these different things.
What has helped motivate you along your educational journey? Have you encountered any challenges along the way?
The clients and clinical supervisors I have worked with have inspired me to push forward. Working with all these kinds of people has opened my eyes to how much of a difference speech therapy can bring to a person’s life. It kept pushing me to want to continue to make a difference in this way. One of my biggest challenges was having Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you do not belong in a setting that you have the qualifications to be in. I feel that way due to being a part of an underrepresented community within speech-language pathology. Sometimes it feels as if I am not enough or doing enough to show that I belong, since there is such a small number of Black women in the field. I have slowly learned to accept that I am worthy of the space I take up in this field and I am enough.
After you graduate, what is your dream career?
My dream career is to be a speech-language pathologist at an elementary school working with children on the Autism spectrum. I love working with this population to help build their functional communication skills.
What made you choose NYMC?
NYMC was one of the few schools that provided a medically based SLP program. I knew that in graduate school, I wanted to have a diverse externship experience, where I could experience working in a hospital, school, skilled nursing facility and more. At NYMC, I am provided with those experiences. Plus, I was provided with more medical, SLP-based opportunities such as an anatomy class using cadavers, hospital rotations and even fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) certification.
What has been your favorite aspect of being an NYMC student?
My favorite part has been being able to engage in many networking and volunteering opportunities through the College’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) chapter. As the current president of this chapter, my classmates and I have been able to better connect with each other, as well as other SLPs, outside of the classroom and further enhance our experiences.
What faculty member has had the greatest influence on you here?
My professor, Professor Monica McHenry [Ph.D., CCC-SLP, professor of speech-language pathology], has had the greatest impact on me because she has challenged me the most in my learning. She makes me take my education a step further and challenges me to practically apply the things I have learned from the classroom into the clinical setting.
What advice would you give applicants or incoming students?
My advice for applicants and incoming students is to focus your experience in grad school on how to clinically apply your education rather than focus too much on how to get the best grades. I feel that we have been ingrained as students from a young age to aim for the best grades always. While getting good grades is important, being so focused on grades sometimes takes away from how much knowledge a student retains. In graduate school, you need to use this time to truly hone your clinical skills to become a successful clinician. Memorizing all the graphs and charts in the world does not make you a good clinician, being clinically and culturally competent does.
Outside of your studies, what are your hobbies or interests?
I love playing video games with my friends, going out while being as safe from COVID-19 as possible, watching movies and reading. I also love to work out so I use that as a major outlet.
Are you a part of any student organizations or interest groups?
Although it is very time consuming, it is my pride and joy to lead NYMC’s NSSLHA chapter as its president, where we coordinate awareness activities and fundraising events for initiatives related to our field.
What is a fun fact about you?
I recently received confirmation from Dr. Kate Franklin [Ph.D., CCC-SLP, chair and associate professor of speech-language pathology] that I will be the youngest graduate from the Speech-Language Pathology program at NYMC thus far at the age of 20.