By Lauren Jackson
The JSU Department of Academic Advisement hosted the first Tuesday Talks on September 26 at the Houston Cole Library. Consisting of a four-person panel of successful professionals from health care, the talk allowed students to go beyond requirements and prerequisites of a career of interest and learn more information about the daily life of a professional in the field.
The possibility of the Tuesday Talks began with an idea from the Director of Academic Advisement, Michelle Green. Green advises many students that are undecided in their major. Instead of just informing students of the requirements for their degrees, Green wished to allow students to experience the degree’s career path in a more personal way. She was able to make the event happen through the help and planning of Jennifer Wood.
“I wanted professionals to come in and give the day-to-day activities they do while working and to have a more personal career talk with students for their field of interest,” said Green.
Two alumni of JSU were on the panel for the health care talk and offered insight into getting into a master’s program after graduation, as well as practical information on the responsibilities of their jobs. The careers represented by the panel included occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and respiratory therapy.
Occupational therapy is a profession designed to help people to take care of themselves after injuries or other issues. Jenna McCoy is an occupational therapist and JSU alumna. McCoy says that occupational therapy is a career that has allowed her to travel and have fun in her day-to-day activities.
In addition to offering details on requirements for GPA and GRE for students interested in applying for programs in occupational therapy, McCoy said, “The most important aspect of preparing is observational hours, because it shows an interest and desire to be in the field.”
Shayna Wheeler is a speech therapist, and helps her patients with issues such as communication disorders, or, in some cases, swallowing issues. In addition to offering students insights to requirements for entering speech therapy programs, Wheeler encouraged interested students to apply for graduate school early, and to keep their options open.
Another JSU alumni on the panel was Dr. Treacy Hunter, a physical therapist. While sharing the benefits of the field of physical therapy, Hunter urged students to learn to study before entering a doctoral program, because it is now required for physical therapists to have a doctorates degree.
“The beauty of this profession is that you can go anywhere, and the health field is always hiring; you just have to be ready,” Hunter said.
Respiratory therapy is a new program that will be offered on the JSU campus starting in the fall of 2017. Ed Goodwin has 25 years of experience in the field and will be overseeing the program. Respiratory therapy helps with breathing disorders or lung injuries.
Goodwin said that one of the greatest rewards of the job is to “see people at death’s door and to see them leave alive and well because of the help they received.”
“The information was great, and to see students interact with the panel afterwards is amazing,” said Wood. “I think they went above and beyond with sharing personal stories and information to help students.”
Tuesday talks will be held once a month for different professions, with the next one on October 18 for students interested in criminal justice.
According to Anna Bowden, a senior interested in occupational therapy, the talks “keep you from having to travel to other colleges and cities to learn about the things students are interested in and allows them the chance to network.”