Kelly Garcia ‘19SLP is destinada a la grandeza
– destined for greatness – and will continue to be as soon as she graduates on May 23.
Garcia grew up as first-generation Ecuadorian-American in Newark, N.J., and quickly became aware of areas, often with a concentrated Hispanic population, that had limited resources especially when it came to speech-related and English as Second Language (ESL) resources.
It wasn’t until she was in undergrad, in which she earned her bachelor's degree in health sciences from Stockton University in Mays Landing, N.J., which she really learned about Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)
– and it just clicked. “I wanted to become an advocate and bridge the gap between the Hispanic population and the SLP profession,” she said. It was then she decided she will be an SLP that focuses on the Hispanic population in the Philadelphia area.
Garcia, who attended both second and third grade in Ecuador, translated English to Spanish for her mom on a daily basis while growing up. As she was continually immersed in her culture, she began to realize it was important to her to give back to her community.
While at Salus, Garcia’s rotations in pediatrics were in two of Philadelphia’s charter schools – a perfect sampling of what she wants to pursue and where she sees herself working at the outset of her career.
After graduation, Garcia will work for the School District of Philadelphia as an SLP for sure - she just isn’t quite sure where yet. And, she already has her sights set on creating a program or workshop with resources to help Hispanic families in the Philadelphia area to help spot red flags for atypical speech-language development in children.
As she prepares for graduation, Garcia has the following advice for those interested in the University’s SLP program. “A lot of times, things can feel overwhelming, but it’s alright to ask for help,” she said. “The Salus faculty are great and they always provide resources and help.”
But, before she starts on her new journey, she will enjoy spending time with her family, as she is a very family-oriented individual. “My mom and sisters have guided me through the entire experience,” she said. Her mom will visit from Ecuador for Commencement, and afterwards there will be a mini road trip, destination: unknown.