Early into her first-year as a student in the speech-language pathology (SLP) program in the School of Health Sciences and Practice (SHSP), Erin Ricciardi, Class 2020, knew she’d made the right choice; The program perfectly blended her love of science with her passion for teaching and mentoring. “I recognized that by becoming a speech-language pathologist, I could integrate all of my interests into a rewarding and impactful profession that plays such an essential role in the ever-changing field of medicine,” she says. As a long-time Special Olympics flag football coach, finding ways to make a positive mark is nothing new for Ms. Ricciardi— a trait she learned watching her mother and sister who work in special education. She says, “I always knew that someday I wanted to make a positive difference too.”
Ms. Ricciardi describes her path to New York Medical College, what she does in her spare time, and words of wisdom for those future students considering the SHSP SLP program:
What (or who) inspired you to pursue your degree in SLP at NYMC?
I grew up with my mother and an older sister, who are both special educators and I saw the impact they had in their students’ lives year after year. I wanted to make a positive difference, just as they continue to do, with the clients I will come to encounter.
During my undergraduate career, I spent a majority of my time divided among volunteer work, tutoring, and in a linguistics research lab. All of these experiences led me to pursue a career in speech-language pathology.
Tell us about your work as a Special Olympics coach?
Coaching for Special Olympics was such a rewarding experience. Serving as a mentor and teaching the responsibilities of a team sport to the young men and women I've worked with, gave way to strengthening their own personal skills sets for school or jobs.
Although I assumed the role of their teacher, I learned the importance of team-work, perseverance, and confidence from my athletes. Special Olympics sets the framework for their athletes to succeed and feel confident in themselves on and off of the field. I am forever grateful for having a small part in that.
What do you do in your spare time?
My free time is typically spent walking my black lab, Jeff, or spending a day out with my friends and family.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Be a flexible learner, don't put things off and use your resources. Work smarter, not harder!