Speech-language pathologist benefits from BGSU’s eCampus
Jenna Rayburn Kirk finds success, new opportunities certificate program in assistive technology
By Meredith Troxel ’20
Kirk, from Pickerington, Ohio, received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Ohio State University. She currently works as a speech-language pathologist at a school district in central Ohio, as well as creates and sells speech therapy resources for other professionals on her website and Teachers Pay Teachers.
BGSU’s eCampus was the best fit for Kirk because the program is completely online and allowed her to complete her coursework while also working full time at her school district. She received her certificate in 2016.
Kirk found that BGSU’s certificate program gave her new knowledge and the ability to move up the pay scale at work. Her school district allows staff to earn a pay raise for educational development hours above a master’s degree. She wanted her hours to accumulate into something more than just random hours. The certificate also allows future employers to recognize her hard work and ability to provide resources to support students.
“Professionally, I wanted to be more knowledgeable about the range of available tools and laws related to assistive technology,” Kirk. “I wanted to develop more professional knowledge that could help me not only in my current position but also in any position I might take in the future.”
Aside from working with students during the day, Kirk also has her own blog, Speech Room News, and Instagram page, speechroomnews, which currently has nearly 47,000 followers, to share her experiences as a speech-language pathologist. She started her blog when teachers were actively searching the internet for resources and advice from other teachers and professionals.
“I loved the way teachers were using the internet to share resources, but I couldn't find any speech-language pathologists doing the same,” she said. “I started a blog during my second year as a school SLP and decided to try sharing those ideas. It immediately gave me a level of interaction that excited me!”
Kirk hopes that her website and resources help other speech-language pathologists feel encouraged to collaborate with other professionals. In many schools, a school only has one speech-language pathologist that works with all grade levels.
“Teachers get to work with grade-level teams to collaborate with, but we're often on an island by ourselves. I hope they find some inspiration and some new therapy ideas when they visit my site or social media,” she said.
She hopes that other students can learn from her career experiences and that even once you’re a practicing clinician or in a stable job in your field, you never stop learning — that’s why eCampus’ flexibility is so valuable. She encourages students to find a new topic to learn about and continue to grow as a person and a professional.