Honored to graduate from BGSU

Haley Altman instantly fell in love with CDIS program

By Bob Cunningham

Because Haley Altman took enough post-secondary advanced placement courses at Napoleon High school in northwest Ohio, she was a sophomore when she arrived at Bowling Green State University.

Just two and a half years later, Altman is graduating with Honors with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CDIS), specializing in speech-language pathology, from the College of Health and Human Services -- oh, and a 4.0 GPA.

Before enrolling in CDIS, Altman didn’t know much about the program, which studies the basic speech and hearing sciences and the normal human communication process, as well as the theoretical and practical aspects of therapy. But she instantly took to the the curriculum.  

“CDIS was brought up by my parents, honestly, as I was leaving high school and going into college,” Altman said. “I was like, yeah, OK, I’ll try it. I did fall in love with it, so it was the right move.”

For her Honors project, Altman worked closely with CDIS chair and associate professor Dr. Lynne Hewitt on her pilot study about video modeling for adults with autism.  

“What I’m doing is looking at that data of video modeling, which has three main research questions, for my project,” Altman said.  

Altman measured the treatment and developed coding measures to determine if it the pilot project was effective, looked to see what could have created the therapeutic change, and followed up with the participants to gauge their experience.

“She was just so conscientious and responsible,” Hewitt said. “She’s gone through a lot of data that’s rather tedious to do and really taken on the project as her own. She’s really developed a passion for it. She’s just been a pleasure to advise.”

“I didn’t really realize how much the faculty care until I got involved in research...I just immediately got to know the faculty a lot better. They would ask about my personal life too and just make sure I was doing OK. That was just really nice because BGSU is a larger university, but it’s really never felt that way. I feel like I still get a lot of care and attention from the faculty.”

Altman and Hewitt presented the project at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in Philadelphia in November.

“Haley said she was a little nervous, but you would have never known. She was very professional,” Hewitt said.  

Altman stayed busy during her time at BGSU, as she was an Honors mentor and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, serving on the leadership panel.

She worked at Wood Lane School in Bowling Green this past summer and gained even more experience outside of the classroom.  

“They have summer camps, and I was a one-on-one assistant for a boy with autism,” Altman said. “It was a really good experience and connected really well to my honors project.

“I would love to work with younger children and just being involved in research with autism. I definitely think that would be something I’d be interested in, and also working with alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices -- like a tablet or anything other than spoken language.

She recently applied to five graduate schools: BGSU, the University of Toledo, Ohio University, University of Akron and Kent State University – “Bowling Green is my top pick, so we’ll see.”  

Altman said she couldn’t be any more satisfied with the way her collegiate career came together at BGSU, especially because of her involvement with the faculty.  

“I didn’t really realize how much the faculty care until I got involved in research,” Altman said. “I just immediately got to know the faculty a lot better. They would ask about my personal life too and just make sure I was doing OK. That was just really nice because BGSU is a larger university, but it’s really never felt that way. I feel like I still get a lot of care and attention from the faculty.”

Altman originally wanted to attend BGSU because her parents are alumni and it’s close to her hometown of Napoleon, but the life lessons she learned during her time on campus have been indispensable.

“Both my parents (Mike '98 and Patti Altman '86) went here, so that kind of started it,” she said. “Also, BGSU is just really well known for the CDIS program that I’m in, so that stood out to me as well. And I like the small-town environment since I come from a smaller town too.  

“I’m very glad that I went to BGSU. It’s pretty surreal that I am graduating so soon. In addition to my AP courses in high school, I took some summer classes as well. It seemed like the best idea financially, and to get a head start on grad school too. So, it will even out to the normal time for school, but I’ll eventually have two degrees.”