Keaton hopes to bring joy and independence from CSD major
- Malia Carver
- Thursday, March 5th, 2020
Students within the College of Health and Human Services pursue and commit to a variety of career paths that serve the greater community. This rings true for WKU senior Mary Keaton, of Owensboro, Kentucky. “I hope to bring joy and independence to all of the families that I work with. I am passionate about helping others, especially those that cannot take care of themselves.”
Keaton takes part in WKU’s Communication Disorders (CSD) baccalaureate program with a minor focus in Gerontology and Child Studies. She plans to utilize her degree to become a speech language pathologist, specifically working with young children or the aging community.
Through labs and clinics, the CSD program fosters student-centered instruction where content can be explored and directly applied in real-world scenarios. “The classes at WKU give me a lot of chances to get involved in the community and expand my connections. I’ve obtained several observation hours within elementary schools, communication disorder clinics, and nursing homes ꟷ each experience has been life changing and vital to my growth as a student and future speech-language pathologist,” Keaton said.
Keaton serves as a student clinician with the Communication Disorders Clinic at the Health Services facility at WKU. “I provide speech therapy, create lesson plans and implement treatment options for my clients under the supervision of a licensed clinician. It is one of the most rewarding jobs ꟷ watching your client grow and surpass objectives that you’ve developed is such a great feeling because you are witnessing someone’s progress.”
Keaton works also as a certified Bingocize instructor and senior caregiver for a local nursing home. Bingocize is a preventative health promotion program designed to increase physical fitness, health knowledge and social engagement for older adults. “I’ve acquired this opportunity through my Gerontology classes, because of my courses and amazing faculty, I’ve learned how to care for others in the best way possible.”
Getting involved was not always easy for Keaton. “As a freshman, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. The transition [from high school to college] was hard because I didn’t know many people [on-campus] but after joining my sorority and getting involved in a few clubs on campus it became easier to meet people and make friends.”
Keaton joined Alpha Delta Pi nearly 4 years ago. Through the organization, she volunteers and supports philanthropic activities that serve the community of Bowling Green. She also serves as a student ambassador of the College of Health and Human Services and is a member of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association, Kentucky Speech and Hearing Association, St. Thomas Catholic Newman Center and Rho Lambda.
Reflecting on her time on the Hill, Keaton believes her best experiences at WKU come from the people she’s encountered, “I’m so blessed. In the last four years, I’ve met some of my absolute best friends, professors that are inspiring mentors to me, classmates who motivate me to strive for excellence and sorority sisters who show me the value of womanhood.”
Keaton attributes her resiliency as a foundation for upward growth as she wraps her final year on the Hill. “Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime are the power of positivity and dedication. We cannot escape the challenges we are meant to face in life, but we can grow from them and radiating positivity and empowerment in the face of obstacles is the best way to overcome them.”
After graduation, Keaton will pursue her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. “There is a lot of variety within the SLP field, but I’m interested in following more of a medical route with my career. [After obtaining my certification] I would love to work in a hospital where I can support a wide range of clients.”
For more information on the WKU Communication Disorders program, visit https://www.wku.edu/communicationdisorders/.