Rehab runs in the family

Mark Mendoza, MScSLP '19: Spring Convocation Graduate Spotlight

03 June 2019

Why did you choose to study speech-language pathology?

I was inspired by my mom to pursue a career in health care. She's an occupational therapist. Growing up, she would tell me stories about what she does, the team that she works with and how they help people. I was hearing about occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and physical therapists at the dinner table and learning about what they do. This planted the seeds for me later in life.

While I was in university, I had the opportunity to observe speech-language pathologists in my community. I was drawn to how they performed an assessment. It was an art form which involved critical thinking, clinical observations and compassion. Upon watching them perform these skills, I knew that I wanted to become a clinician. I knew that I wanted to help people just like my mom does.

Why did you choose the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine?

I was interested in the U of A Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine because of their reputation for preparing students for the clinical world. Fellow therapists informed me that U of A students tended to have a breadth of clinical experiences.

What is one of your fondest memories from your time in the program?

My fondest memories were of getting to know my cohort. I spent all week with these people in class and then I would spend all weekend with them going for brunch, karaoke, laser tag, escape rooms, comedy shows. During this time, I've made friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime.

"I knew that I wanted to help people just like my mom does."

What did you do for your work placements?

I had a variety of clinical experiences for my externships. First, I was at the Jasper-Seton Healthcare Centre for a pediatric placement. While in Jasper, I experienced being a clinician in a rural community. I also spent as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors and hiking.

Afterward, I was at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) where I worked with a team of student clinicians for an intensive fluency clinic. This was a great experience where I learned treatment approaches for people who stutter.

My final placement was at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. It might be my favourite placement because I had a unique opportunity to work with people with voice disorders.

What are you doing now / going to do next?

After finishing the program, I accepted a position at the Duggan Health Centre as part of their preschool team.

What does the future hold for you? What are your long-term aspirations?

My externships sparked my interest in fluency and voice. Over the next few years, I would like to build upon those specializations through professional development.