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Bleaching the rainbow: how high school diversity becomes professional homogeny in speech-language pathology and audiology

Husson, Isabelle (2019) Bleaching the rainbow: how high school diversity becomes professional homogeny in speech-language pathology and audiology. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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While the population of the United States is diverse, the education system resembles a funnel that ultimately leads to a lack of heterogeneity in many higher education institutions. This diversity deficiency can be especially noticed in the careers of speech-language pathology and audiology. The American Speech Language Hearing Association has made attempts at increasing the diversity of the professions through programs aimed towards undergraduates; such programs have done little to lessen this issue.

The aim of this study was to answer: what majors do first and second-year students select; what motivates academic major and career choices; and, why do students choose (or not) to pursue speech-language pathology or audiology?

An anonymous survey was developed and distributed via the online Qualtrics Survey System to first and second-year students, enrolled in 1 of the 17 colleges/universities in Pennsylvania with an undergraduate major in Communication Science and Disorders.

A total of 103 participants responded to the survey. About three-quarters of participants reported knowing their intended major prior to applying to college. Popular reported majors included Communication Science and Disorders, Biology, Engineering, Business, and Psychology. Popular influences on choice of major included personal interest, future salary prospects, and graduate school requirement. Participants who did not list their intended major as Communication Science and Disorders demonstrated a general lack of knowledge regarding the professions and responded either neutrally or negatively when asked how likely they would be to pursue either career.

Interest in pursuing a career in Communication Science and Disorders depends on an awareness of such a pathway. In order for diversity within the field to increase, more steps should be taken to recruit high school students. The recruitment strategies should take into account reasons why students choose to pursue particular careers (e.g., salary, graduate school requirement, and interest). Once diversity in the field increases, so does the chance of having a group of professionals better equipped to more effectively serve the diverse population of the nation and build cultural awareness in professionals.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairLeslie,
Committee CoChairLundblom,
Committee MemberDickey, Michael
Committee MemberBrown,
Committee MemberRiquelme,
Date: 28 August 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 June 2019
Approval Date: 28 August 2019
Submission Date: 18 January 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 149
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diversity, Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, Communication Science and Disorders, College Major
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2019 19:03
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2019 19:03

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  • Bleaching the rainbow: how high school diversity becomes professional homogeny in speech-language pathology and audiology. (deposited 28 Aug 2019 19:03) [Currently Displayed]


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