Meet our Students - Susan Magaña - Following a Passion for Service
Major: Rehabilitation Sciences with a concentration in Speech Language Pathology (SLP)
Are you a first-generation college student? If so, please share with us why you were inspired to go to college and why you picked UTEP.
No, I am not. My dad took some courses when he returned from the Vietnam War and my adult children have been college students, too. Interestingly, my dad, my daughter, and I all ended up having the same instructor for American Government.
What sparked your interest in the Bachelor of Sciences in Rehabilitation Sciences Program?
My parents had me take a career assessment/interest inventory during my senior year of high school. SLP was the number one recommendation in my results. I had no idea what it was and, since the internet did not yet exist, my research was limited to what I found at the library. What I read sounded interesting, but it was an abstract concept to me at the time. After completing my core classes, I ended up taking other paths for the next 30 years. Those years included raising a child with high-functioning autism and seeing another one of my kids through a few years of speech therapy. These experiences deepened an already present desire within me to understand and work with those who struggle to communicate.
Last year, I found myself at one of those points in life when we ask ourselves, “What’s next?” With a greater appreciation for who I am and what my abilities are, I began contemplating. My oldest son (who is a PT) suggested I reconsider SLP – he knows me better than most and works with SLPs, so I took his advice in earnest. After a week of research, I was registered to start school two weeks later. The courses I have taken so far have only affirmed my decision.
What has been your greatest challenge academically so far, and what did you do to overcome it?
The three-decade gap between taking my core classes and starting back at upper-level courses has been my most notable academic challenge so far. I have had to spend some time on YouTube and Khan Academy to refresh my memory in math and physics. Another challenge has been catching up with technical writing styles. Purdue Owl, a good writing handbook, and other internet sources have helped fill in that gap.
What has been the most interesting experience you have had in the BS-RHSC Program?
A young man with Cerebral Palsy was a guest speaker in one of my courses. His transparency in sharing about his journey, and his willingness to answer questions candidly, has been the experience which has most served to humanize my educational/professional pursuit.
What are your career aspirations?
My immediate goal is to get into graduate school. Of course, my first choice is UTEP. Since I am still learning about the variety of work settings for SLPs, I would have to say it is too soon for me to know beyond that. I do know I am fascinated with cognitive communication and believe the population I would most enjoy serving is the geriatric one. Also, the idea of being part of a rehab team, working with individuals who have experienced sudden traumatic injury or disease, appeals to me.
What advice would you give to a student thinking about studying rehabilitation sciences?
I would highly suggest taking the required DRSC 1301 course as soon as possible! Introduction to Rehabilitation Sciences provides a general overview of the rehab concentrations, as well as an examination of each discipline more closely and practically, and you learn more about the educational and professional expectations of each. Other fields interrelated to rehab sciences are also included in the survey of professions. This affords students the opportunity to make better-educated decisions regarding their continued studies and career paths.
Photo courtesy of Susan Magaña
To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences Program, please visit: https://www.utep.edu/chs/bsrhsc/