2017 Success Stories: Feeling at home in audiology at BGSU
By Bob Cunningham
Sarah Pilkington grew up in Napoleon, Ohio, just 30 minutes outside of Bowling Green State University, so she wasn’t too sure if BGSU was the right choice for her.
Pilkington, however, visited the University on a Preview Day and fell in love with the campus.
“I felt like it was home to me,” said Pilkington, who is graduating with a 3.97 GPA and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CDIS) from the College of Health and Human Services. “The people here were just really great and welcoming and friendly. BGSU also has a really great program. I was really drawn to the CDIS program. I met some of the faculty during Preview Day and I just felt like I really connected with them. They were very personable and very down to earth.
“I just decided even though it’s really close to home, I really loved it here. Then I found out I was accepted into the Honors College so that was very exciting.”
During Pilkington’s first three years, she thought speech pathology was going to be her path to graduate school. That is until she took her audiology course.
“As part of the program, we have to observe an audiologist, and I really loved that experience,” she said. “From this experience, I knew that it was more my personality and that is was the career choice for me.
“As I remained in communication sciences and disorders for my undergraduate study, I decided to change my graduate studies path from speech language pathology to audiology. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be going and the faculty and program really gave me a well-rounded idea of what different fields we have, so that helped me figure out what route to go.”
With audiology, Pilkington has myriad career choices. She can work at a hospital; an ear, nose and throat clinic; a private practice, a university, an industrial setting, or an educational audiologist. She recently was accepted into a four-year graduate program at Central Michigan University, where she will obtain a doctorate of audiology, Au.D.
“Central Michigan was very generous and gave me a graduate assistantship as well,” Pilkington said. “Hopefully, I’ll be continuing to work on research in graduate school, as I was able to do here at BGSU.”
In November 2016, she presented at the Undergraduate Research Program at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention in Philadelphia. Pilkington participated in ASHA's PROmoting the next GENeration of Researchers (PROGENY) program at the convention, presenting on "Student Teachers: Effects of Vocal Hygiene Information on Voice Assessment Throughout Student Teaching - Pilot Study."
During her time at BGSU, through the CDIS course work and working with faculty members such as Drs. Ronald Scherer and Kimberly Traver, and Brittany Perrine, a doctoral student in CDIS, she has found the career that best fits her skill sets.
“I feel like over my four years here I’ve really figured out who I am as a person and what I want to do with my life,” Pilkington said. “With BGSU’s undergraduate program, they really give you a good scope of each field (speech pathology and audiology). I have nothing but good things to say about our University and our faculty. I’ve built so many professional relationships with our faculty. Even outside of the classroom they’re still wanting to know how you’re doing. Our faculty are amazing and their doors are always open.”
In addition her time in the classwork, Pilkington has been a steward for BGSU by being a campus tour guide since her freshman year — something she’s very proud of.
“While being a tour guide I’ve built a lot of communications and interpersonal skills by talking with people,” she said. “My love for the campus has grown too by being a tour guide.”