Chelsea Walker, an alumna of the University of Georgia College of Education and a graduate student clinician at UGA's Speech and Hearing Clinic, was recently elected president of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) after serving in various positions in the organization, including NSSLHA's Region 3 Councilor and vice president of UGA's NSSLHA chapter.
As president, Walker will oversee the association's executive council, which is comprised of 10 students in speech-language pathology and audiology programs across the nation. Her term officially starts in July.
"I will get to dabble in all areas, working with each council member on specific projects," said Walker. "My responsibility as president [will be to] build off my predecessor and pave the way for successors."
According to Walker, NSSLHA's current council is in the process of planning a summer conference for students involved in the organization. The conference will provide undergraduates in the field with an opportunity to network with other professionals while simultaneously preparing them for graduate school.
"We are also focused on ways to engage our students in advocacy activities for the profession and the clients we serve," said Walker. "When students engage in pre-professional organizations, they are more likely to stay engaged when they graduate and become professionals."
Additionally, NSSLHA, which is comprised of approximately 13,000 graduate and undergraduate students across more than 300 colleges and universities, will focus on creating more leadership opportunities in the future for students to serve at both the chapter and national level.
"[NSSLHA] is important... because it empowers students in the field of communication disorders, mainly future SLPs and audiologists," said Walker. "Empowered students [develop into] equipped and inspired future professionals... I believe if students are offered resources, networking opportunities and mentorship now, the profession and the people we serve will reap the benefits tenfold."
NSSLHA's main mission is to grow educational opportunities, collaborate with other professional organizations, recognize student achievements and promote legislative issues that better the speech-language pathology and audiology profession.