Nadia Ansari, a May 2017 graduate of our M.S. program in Communication Sciences & Disorders with a Bilingual Extension, currently works as a bilingual speech-language pathologist in New York City. We recently caught up with Nadia and had the opportunity to learn more about how her Teachers College experience prepared her to be the dedicated professional she is today.
1.) In a previous interview, you said you can be a speech-language pathologist anywhere. What did you mean by this and how has your post-graduate experience reaffirmed this claim?
The realm of speech-language pathology is pretty broad–it encompasses speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders. You can find speech-language pathologists in education, healthcare, and research settings. Post-graduation, I have networked with speech-language pathologists across the country and worldwide, ranging from hospitals to schools, private practices to nursing homes. I enjoy staying in touch with my cousin in Pakistan, who is studying at the only graduate school for speech pathology in Karachi. We share our experiences and it’s always enlightening to hear how culture can influence practice.
2.) Describe the type of work you are doing now after receiving your M.S. degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders with a Bilingual Extension from Teachers College.
I am currently a bilingual speech-language pathologist at a private practice, Premium Therapy Speech Services, located in Upper Manhattan. I work in both the school setting and clinic with children 3 years old and up. It is the perfect combination of what I was looking for after graduation, and I couldn’t be more fulfilled.
3.) How did a specific professor, class, or field placement experience at Teachers College prepare you for the work you are currently doing?
Practicum in the Edward D. Mysak Center for Communication Disorders, TC’s on-campus clinic, was the greatest influence on my competence as a clinician today. It began with my training in writing and treatment planning. Once I grew the confidence to begin therapy, I was provided with individualized guidance every session along the way by the utmost supportive supervisors. It concluded in a comprehensive approach where I assessed, evaluated, and planned complete diagnostics. This wasn’t just life-like experience–I worked one-on-one with real clients from all ages, different populations, and of various disorders.
4.) Did you feel that the multicultural populations of New York City along with Teachers College’s commitment to social justice and diversity supported your growth as a speech-language pathologist? If so, why?
In order to stay fair and true in the scope of speech-language pathology, a clinician must implement holistic evaluations. This should consider an individual’s culture, the sociolinguistics, family background, and educational history. TC supported me in developing these vital skills in order to identify communication disorders and to provide appropriate services to those who are underrepresented in the standardized assessments which are often utilized.
5.) As a graduate of the program, what about being a member of the Teachers College community distinguishes you from other professionals in the field?
Completing the dual track of an Initial Certification to practice in school settings joint with the Bilingual Extension to evaluate and treat bilingual individuals is what sets me apart from colleagues. My graduate education has supported me with a very specialized line in the career.
6.) As a TC Changemaker, what are your future ambitions and goals in the field of speech-language pathology?
I have seen the increase in access to speech and language services for so many populations across New York. As a Changemaker, I aspire to drive a similar increase internationally, perhaps starting with my own family’s country of origin–Pakistan. In doing so, I hope to optimize the quality of life and to provide open paths to communication for those in need.
7.) And lastly, when you had to get coffee or food in Morningside Heights, where was your #1 spot and why?
There is no other correct answer besides Joe Coffee! They graciously even opened a second location on campus so it’s super accessible, whether you are coming from TC or right off the train. Even though I am no longer on campus, I still stop by to pick up their ground coffee to have at home because I can’t get enough!
Interested in joining Teachers College’s next wave of exceptional speech-language pathologists? Click here for more information! Our final deadline for the upcoming Fall 2018 term has been extended to February 15th, 2018.