Gallaudet is the premier university in the world for individuals with hearing loss and those in pursuit of a career working with individuals with hearing loss. Gallaudet is know as the epicenter of the Deaf community and an international hub for research surrounding education, awareness and cultural inclusivity regarding hearing loss. Kristi felt very fortunate to be accepted by Gallaudet to pursue her education in Audiology. Especially as a hearing individual, Gallaudet allowed the quest of Kristi’s desire to successfully communicate in American Sign Language in order to optimally work with individuals and families with hearing loss throughout her career in Audiology.
Kristi graduated with a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree from Gallaudet in May 2011. She was hired in July 2011 at Children’s Hospital Colorado by Sue Dreith, Au.D., manager of Audiology in the Audiology, Speech Pathology and Learning Services Department (Sue and Kristi are pictured together). Children’s Hospital Colorado is located at the eastern edge of the Denver metro area in Aurora, CO and is the main campus providing comprehensive pediatric care in addition to the 15 Network of Care locations throughout Colorado. Children’s Hospital Colorado is a private, not-for-profit pediatric healthcare network that has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children’s hospitals for more than a decade. Kristi will be using her graduate experiences to focus on providing state-of-the-art audiological services to children and families.
Throughout her four years in the Audiology program at Gallaudet, Kristi was awarded the Pediatric-Educational Audiology Emphasis (PEAE) Grant. The PEAE grant allowed for pediatrics-focused electives, a genetics elective, clinical placements including an educational audiology experience and opportunity to work with pediatrics following graduation. Gallaudet’s Audiology curriculum included a clinical sign language class providing the ability to perform all Audiological evaluation, case history, hearing aid, cochlear implant and follow-up care interchangeably between English and American Sign Language. Elective American Sign Language classes allowed cultural awareness acquisition, socialization and friendships. Living on Gallaudet’s campus provided the opportunity to interact with numerous individuals comprised of diverse backgrounds and motivations. This experience provided insight into the multi-disciplinary approach invaluable for working with families and individuals with hearing loss.
To future Audiology graduate students at Gallaudet, Kristi recommends, “Live on campus, learn and use sign language as much as possible and become involved with students, departments and campus activities. While maintaining Gallaudet as a home base, pursue internship and externship placements in settings where you could imagine yourself living and working. Be a self-advocate for your goals while remembering that success through personal, educational and career decisions comes from the invaluable foundation of advice, guidance and support from Gallaudet professors, supervisors, friends and family.”