Student Spotlight

Coming full circle

Sydney McDaniel of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, thought she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Yet during high school, she was introduced to the world of speech pathology, which brought back an old memory.

“I had a weird flashback,” she said. “In first grade, I read a book about a little girl who went to a speech pathologist because she was having issues with articulation and stuttering. At the end, she was able to say ‘bell.’ Her speech was improving! So, that memory kind of put the job into some type of perspective for me with my future.”

With a new passion in mind, McDaniel began looking at schools that would help her achieve her dream of being a speech pathologist. Her search brought her to Oklahoma State University, where she is now a sophomore majoring in communication sciences and disorders.

“I felt like I was made to be here and that the students and faculty here would welcome and support me. I absolutely love it here at OSU,” McDaniel said.

Yet McDaniel does not only want to pursue a career in speech pathology while here at OSU. She has found herself involved in many different campus organizations. As a freshman, she was secretary for the College of Arts and Sciences Freshman Student Council, and involved with SGA’s Freshman Representative Council, President’s Leadership Council, Cowboython, Chi Alpha and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.

“I wanted to find my fit, which is why I did become involved in so many organizations,” McDaniel said. “In high school, I was involved with everything but didn’t know my personal fit. So, I wanted to try a little bit of everything.”

While thankful for all the opportunities to get engaged in campus life, McDaniel advises freshmen to take a step back and not go overboard with involvement.

“It easily became too much for me at times,” she said. “If you don’t know what you want to do, find something that piques your interest. Don’t become a part of everything because you think it will be good for your resume or you just want to try it.”

Her latest challenge is trying to figure out exactly where she wants to start after graduation. Speech pathology offers career opportunities in a variety of locations ranging from schools and hospitals to home health companies. Even if McDaniel doesn’t know where she wants to work, she does know that she is committed to speech pathology for the long haul.

“As far as speech pathology goes, I can stop with a bachelor’s degree and be a speech path assistant. Yet for me, I see myself going to graduate school, completing my master’s and being a full-time speech pathologist,” she said.

Her draw to the career stems from a deep-rooted desire to help others.

“I’ve always been that person who wanted to help. I’m always there to volunteer. So, knowing that I can help someone in a way that will improve their quality of life, I couldn’t turn down that opportunity,” she said.

McDaniel is taking her future plans very seriously by doing everything possible to prepare herself for a challenging yet fulfilling career.

“Everything I learn about this field makes me excited for the future and thankful that I have found such an amazing career path.”