Melanie W. Hudson, MA ’78, CCC-SLP F-ASHA F-NAP
We asked Speech and Hearing alumna Melanie Hudson, MA ’78, about her favorite memories from the Speech-Language Pathology graduate program and her advice for current students.
What path have you taken since graduation?
Since my graduation from GW, I worked as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in Arlington, Va., public schools, did private practice and have been a university adjunct instructor and guest lecturer. I am currently the national director at EBS Healthcare, a training, support and career management organization that specializes in support services for pediatric populations.
What have you found most rewarding about the work you are doing?
The most rewarding aspect of my work is being able to provide training and support for practicing SLPs, clinical educators and clinical fellowship mentors. EBS Healthcare is an ASHA-approved continuing education provider, so I have ongoing opportunities to educate SLPs working in school districts. I am also invited to present at universities and professional conferences on the topics of clinical supervision and professional ethics.
What is your favorite memory from graduate school? What do you miss most about being a graduate student in GW’s Speech, Language and Hearing program?
I enjoyed the camaraderie that came with being part of a cohort of highly intelligent, motivated (and fun!) students. I also loved the fact that the program was housed in a university that was in my hometown, and the special feeling of family connection that I had as I walked around the same campus where my father had attended law school.
Who is a professor you admire and why?
I admired each of my professors, but Craig Linebaugh and Joan Regnell stand out in my mind. Dr. Linebaugh was new to the program and began with our cohort. Joan Regnell made the area of voice come alive for her students and took a personal interest in each of us. I also enjoyed my audiology track with Diane Brewer and Marianne Mastrioanni and fell in love with audiology due to their inspiring guidance.
How did your experience at GW, working and studying with faculty and fellow students, impact your career choice?
My experience at GW gave me the confidence to begin my career in any setting of my choosing. I truly felt that there was no setting or population that I would not be able to serve because of the knowledge that our professors and clinical educators instilled in me. It was especially rewarding that during the years following my graduation, I supervised numerous GW graduate students, and returned to campus regularly to provide guest lectures.
What advice would you give to students who are just beginning their graduate program or their careers?
My advice for students who are just beginning their program is to keep in mind that learning is lifelong and not limited to your graduate school experience and your clinical fellowship. I often hear grad students refer to their clinical fellowship as their “last chance to learn something new.” Keep an open mind as to the setting you choose for your clinical fellowship (your first job!), as it will not define you as a clinician unless you choose for it to do so, no matter what you may hear to the contrary. Most of us work in more than one setting and with more than one population in the course of our careers, so don’t stress about where you do (or don’t get to do) your externships, the types of clients you work with in the campus clinic, or where you do your clinical fellowship.
Do you have any favorite quotes that have guided you in your career?
One of my favorite quotes that has guided me in my career as a lifelong learner comes from John F. Kennedy: “The greater our knowledge increases, the more our ignorance unfolds.” You will discover that the more you delve into a new area — perhaps as you focus on developing a specific area of expertise — the more you need to learn! Those proverbial onions have never-ending layers, so enjoy the journey.