Shauna Dool is a student in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences pursuing a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree. She will soon enter active duty in the Army and will be the first student in the program’s history to do so.
Dool said she is grateful for the division’s ability to help her balance schoolwork and Army duties. For example, when she donated a kidney to a fellow Army member at the end of her first year, the division happily rearranged her exams.
“The faculty bend over backwards to ensure the students meet their needs and goals,” said Dool.
The most fulfilling part of her journey throughout the program, Dool said, was the bond she formed with her classmates.
“That’s been the most rewarding part, meeting people from all over. You come out the other end and they’re basically your family.”
Nine years ago, Dool joined the Army Reserves while living in Portland, Oregon. In 2014, she came to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, upon enrolling in the division’s doctoral program.
“I got into it by accident,” Dool said. She had taken linguistics courses as an undergraduate, one of which was a speech pathology course. The class’ elements of audiology piqued her interest, and when the Army sent her to Egypt to learn Arabic a few years later, she had found her passion.
She hopes to carry this passion to her upcoming externship at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where she will complete her fourth and final year of the doctoral program as a first lieutenant and an Army audiologist.
Dool will primarily provide vestibular rehabilitation to active duty soldiers and their families. She also takes great interest hearing conservation, which she describes as educating soldiers on the dangers of loud noises.
“I see veterans in their 50s and 60s that could have been protected if they had known about it when they were younger,” she said.
But it’s not just hearing conservation education that she would like to see improve; Dool wants increased education informing veterans as to the services that are available for them.
“The clinics at UNC do a really good job of that,” Dool said. “If a veteran comes in, they’ll counsel them and tell them to go to the VA.”
Dool plans to continue working with the military population well after her externship at Walter Reed, as she will serve three years of active duty and foresees staying in the Army for at least 20 years.
She said she owes much of her success to the division and hopes future students of the program find the fulfillment she did.
“Get to know all the certain parts of audiology,” she advises students. “You might be surprised that what you’re interested in wasn’t what you thought you’d be interested in when you started.”