As a Speech-Language Pathologist, Laura Evak, MA, CCC-SLP
, is all about improving the quality of life for her clients. That’s just one of the many things she’s passing on to her students as a clinical educator at the Speech-Language Institute (SLI) of Salus University.
“I feel grateful for the opportunity to learn more about what I do in a different way and be able to hopefully help others learn not only how to become competent, but caring speech-language pathologists,” said Evak, who joined SLI in June 2019 and guides graduate students while they are conducting therapy and evaluations in the clinical facility.
Evak, who also works at a private practice, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Penn State University and her Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences from Temple University. She has a wide range of experience in treating children and adults with communication disorders.
The demand for qualified speech-language pathologists has been higher for a while now, Evak said, and she believes given the state of the current COVID-19 pandemic, that demand has not diminished.
“It’s important that we try our best to get people out there that we know are going to do quality work and continue to learn and grow,” she said. “I have been extremely impressed with the caliber of the students that I have had the pleasure to work with at Salus.”
Even though she hasn’t been a graduate student herself for a while now, from what she’s seen of the current crop of Salus SLP students, they’ve made a positive impression on her.
“I remember vaguely being a graduate student and I don’t think I was anywhere near as well-spoken, put together, and prepared as these folks have been,” said Evak. “They’re wonderful, they’re personable and they just want so much to learn and grow as student clinicians. You can see the fire to want to really become the best speech therapists they can be.”
When she’s not teaching the next generation of speech therapists, Evak keeps busy with her family. Although she herself was a dancer and singer in her youth, her two daughters, a teenager and a pre-teen, have gravitated toward lacrosse. “We spend a ton of time on lacrosse fields, burning every weekend doing that,” she said.
Evak also wanted to do something for her private practice clients and their families during the pandemic, so she hosts a weekly trivia night on Facebook Live. “It’s kind of brought people together. I am not a trivia buff, I have to look everything up, but my daughters and husband help with everything,” she said.
As for her teaching, Evak loves it and believes that one never stops learning.
“You can’t possibly learn everything in four undergrad years and two grad years. We give people a good start and maybe help learn to love the world of being a student as well as being a speech-language pathologist,” she said. “I think we’re always students. Even our clients are constantly teaching us, how to change what we’re doing and inform our decisions.”