Candidate Bios

National NSSLHA is pleased to present the slate for NSSLHA's Executive and Regional Council candidates for the 2018-2020 term. Elections will be conducted electronically from June 1-19, 2018. Those elected will serve a 2-year term beginning July 1, 2018.

President-Elect (AuD)

Teffany Ventura
Towson University | Audiology

"As a new graduate with my bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology and audiology from Towson University, I feel I can connect with undergraduates and be a spokesperson to advocate for their needs within NSSLHA. Throughout my undergraduate career, I served on many committees and boards within my national fraternity, Zeta Tau Alpha. I have a strong leadership background and the functioning skills of being a part of a cohesive executive board."

Vice President for Finance

Kevin Kock
The University of Iowa | Audiology

"I currently serve as Treasurer for the U.I. Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) ... ensuring proper allocation of funds for our monthly events and SAA Hearing Aid Fund. I have helped organize and fundraise for our annual Haunted Hustle for Hearing 5k, promoting awareness of hearing loss and generating funds for patients in need of financial assistance at our student clinic. I also founded the HawkEars project, addressing sound-induced hearing loss and the stigma towards hearing protection. Proceeds are generated for a hearing technology fund for patients in our student clinic."

William Stoll
Monclair State University | Audiology

"Though my interest in finance began as a fascination with stocks and economics during my undergraduate studies, I sought to integrate this interest with my identity as an audiologist as the treasurer of Montclair State’s Student Academy of Audiology (SAA). I set 3 goals: (1) to conclude the position with a budget at least 50% greater than my initial budget, (2) to improve the way the position is performed in the future, and (3) to manage the budget simply and transparently. I digitized our paper records from the past 10+ years into an encrypted financial ledger and orchestrated a multi-year donation-sharing contract with our local Walk-4-Hearing."

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Chelsea Woodard
James Madison University | Speech-Language Pathology

"Though this may not be NSSLHA's biggest challenge, it is one that is dear to my heart. I have been a distance learning student for the past two years ... I feel the disconnect between traditional students and online students is a hurdle that needs to be brought to light, and remedied. More students are choosing to attend school online, which means there is a population of students who may be unable to benefit from being a part of NSSLHA. Collaborating with NSSLHA leadership to involve more of the online population is going to prove vital in the coming years."

Patricia Jimenez-Arias
University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Speech-Language Pathology

"Throughout my college career, I’ve had several leadership positions on campus that have shaped me as a leader. I believe pre-professional associations on campuses play a crucial role in the formation of future professionals. The formation and support of Student State Officers is essential for the success of NSSLHA Chapters all around the nation ... For the past year, I have served as NSSLHA President for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and this position has inspired me to continue serving our field of study by leading future speech pathologists at a national level."

Vice President for Student State Officers (SLP)

Aya Khalil
California State University, Sacramento | Speech-Language Pathology

"I believe there is the disconnect between National NSSLHA and local chapters ... many don't realize the impact and effect that takes place from a local chapter to the national level, and vice versa. I believe one way to change this is to create more connections and awareness of National NSSLHA at the local level. The key is to show students, who may still be in the beginning of their journey or may not be very involved yet, the value and importance of National NSSLHA ... By increasing awareness, we can bridge this gap and help students create connections and get involved at a national level from an early start."

Vice President for Programming (AuD)

Brandon Roppel
Northern Illinois University | Audiology

"I see two major challenges for NSSLHA: 1) bridging the gap of communication and accessibility between local chapters and the national organization and 2) engaging more AuD students. I have learned that most students are unaware that their local chapter is part of a national organization; let alone the benefits that are offered through the organization. I would like to implement an incentive geared toward undergraduate freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to encourage national membership ... Now that the NSSLHA brand has taken root, I think that spreading the mission of the organization will help to bridge those gaps in communication and accessibility." 

Martha Westman
University of Minnesota | Audiology

"I'm sure I am not alone in surmising that NSSLHA’s biggest challenge is increasing awareness and involvement. Our generation is as passionate as ever but we need to feel like we have power and our voices are heard. As students in positions of leadership, we must engage with our peers and challenge them to get involved with causes greater than exams and academic stresses, especially in the current political climate and legislative uncertainty. It’s crucial to get students involved at this level so they can continue to be involved as professionals, advocate for ourselves and our future patients, and keep our field moving in the right direction."

Northeast Regional Councilor

Jennifer Blake
Long Island University, Brooklyn | Speech-Language Pathology

"[My leadership] experiences have helped me develop into an individual who has strong inter-personal and management skills. An experience that has had a large impact on me, both inside and outside of the classroom, is our chapter's fundraiser for SLP students at Baylor University after Hurricane Harvey. I was in contact with their NSSLHA president, who assured us that none of their students directly needed aid. Our NSSLHA chapter created a huge basket to raffle off and raised over $200 to donate to a clinic in downtown Houston, who lost their materials in the hurricane. Most importantly, our chapter [put] together care packages to help make sure their clients were still able to receive therapy."

Torri Ann Woodruff
University of Connecticut | Audiology

"A professor [in an online class about disability] left a private note on one of my posts in the class message board, thanking me for showing leadership in my dedication to the topic and quality work. It took me a moment to realize what leadership he was referencing ... interacting with my peers in a way that allowed us to have an informed and respectful conversation about disability while highlighting that this material is essential ... I have always held a “traditional” approach to leadership where the focus is leading others in a way that culminates in the attainment of tangible goals. However, that professor pointed out that there is another layer of leadership where the focus is helping others grow in themselves so that society as a whole can be a better place."

Western Regional Councilor

Leilani Melendrez
San Diego State University | Speech-Language Pathology

"As a Senior Resident Advisor, I am a leader for a staff of 20. Through this position I learned many skills including interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. The multifaceted requirements of this position taught me [numerous] skills. My experience has taught me to communicate effectively in various situations, as well as learn to remain responsive and patient to the needs of others in hopes of guiding individuals to reach a common goal."

Shannon O'Donnell
San Diego State University | Audiology

"For the past four years I have worked at the campus bookstore at SDSU. Throughout this position I was promoted to lead, which came with many more responsibilities [including managing staff] ... and has provided me with some hard but rewarding experiences. I have learned to take ownership and be upfront when something has been done wrong or when there has been a better way to do something—a skill that was hard to acquire, but ultimately leads to the best and most honest outcomes. This leadership position has allowed me to experience the hard parts of being a leader, and eventually the fulfillment that comes with it."

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