Experience from undergraduate research fellowship propels senior toward big goals
Growing up as a middle child with a close-knit family, Amanda Evert graduated from Howells-Dodge consolidated school in the spring of 2014 and enrolled for classes at UNK that fall.
Although she knew she wanted to pursue a degree in speech-langauge pathology, she said she was unaware of the opportunities and success she would find at UNK.
Working in the medical profession typically requires a sense of empathy and understanding, something Evert knows well. When she was in middle school, her great-grandmother had a stroke that affected many parts of her daily life, including her speech. Evert says she can still recall the frustration the 90-year-old had when she was no longer able to communicate as effortlessly as she had her whole life.
Evert says from that moment on, she knew she wanted to help those with similar hardships. “I was determined to make a difference in the lives of individuals with communication disorders. I strive to be a beacon of hope and understanding for patients and their families along their journey.”
Aside from personal experience with communication disorders, Evert says she is continually intrigued by her major. “What draws me in is the wide scope of practice and variety of specialty areas that speech-language pathologists can serve,” Evert says. “Some of the service delivery areas include: fluency, speech production, language, cognition, voice, resonance, feeding and swallowing and auditory rehabilitation.”
Evert has taken her drive and passion for the field and applied it to her studies and extracurricular activities on campus. Along with being a 4.0 student, Evert has been on the Dean’s List every semester while also being involved in Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and the Honors Program. As if Evert is not busy enough maintaining such prestige honors within her major, she also serves as the President of Kearney, Student, Speech, Language and Hearing Association (KSSLHA) on campus, and got involved with student research.
Evert says conducting research for the department of communication disorders has been one of the most rewarding parts of her undergraduate career. She initially became interested in research her sophomore year and it has since become a passion. “I have been very privileged to present at conferences at the national, state, and local levels. I have presented in Kearney and Lincoln, Philadelphia , Memphis, and I look forward to presenting this November in Los Angeles,” she says.
Evert is quick to thank her research mentor, Dr. Diane Loeb, and the Undergraduate Research Fellowship at UNK for the opportunities and experience she has gained. To reach her career goals as a speech-language pathologist, Evert must go on to complete her master’s degree after graduation. She says she is still in the application process for graduate school, but said she looks forward to making a decision on higher education next semester.
As she wraps up her undergrad courses, Evert says she owes a “thank you” to UNK and the communication disorders department for continually challenging her to become a better student: “While I do not yet know where the next chapter of my academic journey will lead me, I will always be appreciative of the experiences and opportunities provided to me by the University of Nebraska-Kearney.”
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