Be prepared to expect some magic every day.

That was the message from the University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) dean Radhika Aravamudhan, PhD, during a reception April 26, that served as a sendoff for traditional and accelerated Doctor of Audiology (AuD) program students as they embark on their yearlong externships. 

Dr. A speaking at OCA celebrationDr. Aravamudhan illustrated what that “magic” meant by sharing a story with the students. It involved an OCA alum who approached her at a conference. The student explained to Dr. Aravamudhan she had recently started a new job at an audiology practice and because a colleague called out sick, found herself with no help and four patients to see on her first day.

The first patient she saw needed a follow-up auditory brainstem response (ABR) test, a safe and painless procedure to see how the hearing nerves and brain respond to sounds. It gives healthcare providers information about possible hearing loss.

The alum panicked because she hadn’t done an ABR test since graduation from OCA two years earlier, and there was nobody in the office at the time to help guide her. “But I went into the room and turned the machine on and everything came back to me like magic,” the alum told Dr. Aravamudhan. “You’re going to experience that magic day in and day out,” Dr. Aravamudhan told the current students. “And, I really wish that magic for each and every one of you.”

AUD students toasting at externship celebrationThe reception is an annual tradition — complete with champagne toast — to see Audiology students off to their  externships. The Class of 2023 includes the first cohort of five students in the Accelerated Three-Year Audiology program to go out on externships.

“It’s definitely a lot more work and a lot of classes. We’re on the quarter system, so it’s definitely added some pressure,” said Jessica Alunni ‘23AUD, about the accelerated class. “They (OCA administrators) picked us all because they believed in us, and we’ve all been doing great and we’re thriving.”

Alunni, originally from near Scranton, Pennsylvania, will be heading to Hackensack, New Jersey, for her externship at Hackensack University Medical Center, working primarily with pediatrics but also with the geriatric population as well. “I’m very excited about my externship. I can’t wait to start seeing patients all day every day,” said Alunni.

Dr. Eckert speaking at externship celebrationSalus provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Barry Eckert, PhD, offered encouragement to the students and told them to be confident in what they’ve learned up until this point.

“You’re ready for this,” he said. “And, I guarantee that when you come back, you’ll be changed. It’s one thing to spend three years learning all this stuff, but it’s another thing to go focus on it for a year and really feel comfortable, confident, competent and reassured about the profession you have chosen.”

Chief of staff, Beth Moy, congratulated the students on the hard work they’ve done to prepare for their externships.

“I hope you will not only take all these skills that you have learned, but that you also bring with you the energy and expertise that your faculty have put into teaching you,” she said. “I hope you bring that level of commitment to the patients you serve because you’re now all ambassadors for Salus.”

The students are anxious and ready to go. Each took a moment on the microphone to share a few thoughts with those attending, including revealing where they were going for their internships and sharing bits of advice with their classmates.

AUD students celebrating before externshipsDuring his turn Serafin Raya ‘23AUD, who is going to the VA hospital in San Diego for his internship, held up a copy of his birth certificate. It was proof, he said, that he was born in Yolo County, Sacramento, California, and that his advice to his classmates was to enjoy the adventures and experiences of their externships because YOLO — You Only Live Once.

Yeva Mishailov ‘23AUD, originally from Brooklyn, New York, is headed home for her externship, to SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. The last student to speak, she became emotional when talking about what it means to accomplish what she has so far in her graduate school experience and how she has prepared to venture out to her externship. 

“Family is very important. You’re discovering a field that is new, and when your parents are from a place that’s not America, things may seem new and strange and a little bit scary if you’re not familiar with it,” said Mishailov. 

She added she’s certainly met people at OCA who have found a large place in her heart. “The diversity that the school has, it can really bring people together from all different cultures,” she said. “And, I think that is important because it allows you to meet new people, learn from their strengths and make amazing connections along the way, knowing that these are the people that you will keep in contact with and share your knowledge with in the future.”

The reception was also attended by one of the class preceptors. Susan Dondes, of Capital Health in Pennington, New Jersey, has been hosting OCA students for 10 years now. This year, Halle Roesser ‘23AUD, will be doing her externship with Dondes at Capital Health.

“I’ve had fabulous students from Salus. Especially Halle, she is top notch,” said Dondes. “She probably could go right now and be an audiologist, skipping the fourth year - she’s that prepared.”

Dr. Owen speaking at OCA celebrationAccording to Jonette Owen, AuD ‘03, FNAP, CH-AP, associate dean of Clinical Education at OCA, the reception is one of the many important things that the College does for its students. “It really marks the transition of all their hard work on campus to leaving at the end of this semester and going off to their externships around the country and then they won’t be back until graduation,” she said. “So this is our recognition of all the hard work that they’ve put in to get this far. It’s our way of saying, ‘You did it.’”