April Student of the Month: Kristy Burchell

Kristy sitting under a gazebo with balloons that read 2017, her graduation year
















I chose to return to NMSU in the spring of 2014 to pursue a career as a speech language pathologist.  Prior to returning, I sold insurance in New Mexico and Texas for six years.  My decision to return to school was inspired by my clientele in my insurance business.  I worked mainly in school districts and found the profession of speech language pathology.  Born and raised in Las Cruces, I knew that NMSU was the best fit to achieve my academic and professional goals.  My major is in communication disorders and minor in counseling and educational psychology.  When I am not busy with my academic responsibilities I enjoy going on hikes with my ten-year-old daughter, and getting involved in the community through volunteering and fundraising with the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA).  I became a member of NSSLHA in spring 2014 and in spring 2016 I was elected Vice President of Fundraising.  Through this organization, I have built a comradery with other scholars interested in the same field and built a professional relationship with the faculty and staff in the department of special education and communication disorders.  I have also been actively involved as a research assistant for two professors in the communication disorders program.  During my long days on campus and late nights studying, I enjoy listening to music.  I listen to a variety of genres however one of my favorite songs is “What’s Up” by 4 non-blondes.  Having grown up in the 90’s this song provides a sense of nostalgia for me that keeps me centered during stressful times of the semester.  Aside from music, I also turn to words to provide motivation and insight.  One of my favorite quotes is “in a gentle way, you can shake the world” by Mahatma Gandhi.  It reminds me that all my small efforts will make a big impact on not only my life but the lives of my clients, acquaintances, friends, and family.  I feel as though the Honors College at NMSU has fostered my potential into thriving academically and will support my professional ambitions.  I feel as though the Honors College has contributed to my acceptance into the Graduate program in Communication Disorders here at NMSU.  After obtaining my Master’s degree in spring 2017 I plan to work as a SLP in a hospital or rehabilitation facility where I can focus my treatment on diagnoses related to cognitive impairments such as traumatic brain injuries, and swallowing disorders. I will eventually pursue my PhD in Speech Language Pathology with a focus on neuroscience.  I aim to conduct research in the area to discover and develop treatment strategies and materials.  For new scholars preparing for their future I would suggest to imagine themselves in five years but only plan a semester at a time.  From experience, I have slowly grown as an academic and I owe much of my growth to the Honors College. My recommendation of the Honors College would be due to my academic growth past what I originally planned for.  I will be graduating with University Honors May 13, 2017 with a B.S. in Communication Disorders and a minor in Counseling and Educational Psychology.  I will begin my first semester in the Graduate program at NMSU in Fall 2017!

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