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Kayla Thomas, a first-year master of science in speech and hearing sciences student, will represent the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Minority Student Leadership Program as part of ASHA’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida, in November 2019.

Kayla Thomas
Kayla Thomas

Only 16 percent of applicants to the program were selected to attend; Thomas, from Duluth, Georgia, said she wanted to pursue the program in order to enhance her leadership skills.

“Being a minority in this profession, this program will give me mentorship, networking opportunities, as well as allow me to be part of larger discussions about the future of our profession,” Thomas said. “I will be able to foster relationships with a myriad of professionals to learn from their experiences in the field which will only help drive me to my own future successes.”

Thomas said she chose to pursue a degree in speech and hearing sciences because she gains fulfillment by helping others communicate in the most effective way for them.

“To be able to express one’s thoughts, feelings, hopes, likes and dislikes are some of the greatest blessings of being alive. Knowing that there are millions of people out there in this world who are not able to do so drives my passion to speak life into people,” Thomas said. “Knowing I am so close to being able to help others communicate and impact the lives of so many people pushes me to be the best I can be as a student.”