Shaping the community through speech

Spring Convocation Q&A with MSc SLP graduate Nicole Salvador

23 June 2021

What is your previous degree?
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the U of A

Why did you choose the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine?
I chose it because of the extensive clinical training and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in communication sciences and disorders.

What is the most remarkable thing you learned as a student?
I learned that despite the hours of reading, listening to lectures and discussing theories, there is only so much that we know. What I took from my experience as a student is that it’s okay to not know the answers. I learned that one of the essential skills to have as a clinician and researcher is knowing where to get information and who to reach out to.

What is one of your fondest memories of the program?
Sharing laughs with our professors, spending time with my cohort, watching my colleagues grow into caring and compassionate clinicians, and building connections with clients from all walks of life.

What was your favourite work placement and why?
All my placements were amazing! I especially enjoyed being at Corbett Clinic and running a reading and conversation group for people with aphasia. The clients I worked with had so many experiences and wisdom to share that every session was a learning opportunity for me.

Did you face any significant challenges, and if so, how did you deal with them?
Being able to balance work and life’s unexpected curveballs was one of the challenges that came up in my program. I learned that it’s okay to have someone listen to your thoughts and help you walk through your anxieties. I learned that it’s okay for things not to make sense for a bit, but with time to process, you understand and it gets better. I have so much respect for people who are able to soar high and excel in their work despite adversity.

What are you doing now? What is next for you?
I work as a registered speech-language pathologist (SLP) with children at a local school division and privately as well. I hope to continue refining my skills in the assessment and treatment of communication disorders.

What are your long-term goals and aspirations?
I was born and raised in the Philippines, and a long-term goal of mine is to be able to share the expertise and knowledge that I’ve gained here in Canada with SLP trainees and families in the Philippines. My hope is to also work to advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in my field, and in the educational policies that shape the way children and society think.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you when you started your degree?
Take a break after undergrad and gain work experience. Coming back to grad school with some prior practical knowledge was very helpful in understanding how theory translates to everyday practice. Also, visualizing where you want to be in the next few years is a great way to motivate you as you pursue your passion.