story by Claire Miller
After her freshman year of college, Anjanette Swift took an opportunity to shadow speech-language pathologists at a pediatric clinic that served children with special needs.
She was inspired by the work she saw before her and the positive impact these speech-language pathologists had on children and their families.
This experience, coupled with the lack of diversity in the field – only eight percent of speech-language pathologists are people of color – made it easy for Swift to decide to pursue a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders.
“Communication is at the center of what it is to be human, and the opportunity to help families communicate truly sealed it for me,” she said. “I also started to see that while this field provides services to diverse populations, the profession itself was not very diverse. I knew my perspective as a black woman would provide increased representation within this field of service providers.”
Swift completed an internship with the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta-based nonprofit hospital that specializes in treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with neuromuscular conditions, and was impressed with the way staff members created a supportive and compassionate environment for their patients.
After graduating this December, she hopes to work in private practice or outpatient setting and bring the same level of dedication to her patients as her Shepherd Center colleagues did every day during her internship.
“All of the professionals that work there put the patients and their families at the forefront of what they do,” she explained. “It was truly the best environment to learn and strengthen my clinical skills.”