Salus University’s Speech-Language Pathology program Class of 2022 students were able to demonstrate how well they worked together in small groups and communicated with each other during the annual Capstone presentations March 29, 2022.
And, the unanimous opinion was that the students produced some pretty impressive results.
The Capstones are provided to our students as a means to assess them across the program. We call that a summative assessment, which is a way to say, ‘Do they have the knowledge base and can they apply it to a clinical or community project?’” said Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP
, chair and program director of the SLP department. “We really want them to apply that information across multiple subject areas, including research.”
The 35 students in the class were broken up into small groups that produced six Capstone projects, which were graded by faculty members and on display for the rest of the Salus community in the Bennett Lounge at the Hafter Student Center
on the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus.
One of the projects was a peer education program designed to educate younger elementary school students about autism spectrum disorder. The group included Grace Granahan, Sarah Hann, Jessica McMullen, Samantha Stark, Marcia Triana Martinez
and Hannah Weidman
, all ‘22SLP
. Their faculty supervisor was Beth Davidoff, PhD, CCC-SLP. Research was conducted on fourth-and fifth-graders using this project as a peer education program in order to promote friendships and decrease bullying. But the SLP group had the idea to widen the scope of that research.
“We wanted to look at using this program at a younger age, around first grade, in order to proactively prevent bullying and promote friendships for children with autism,” said Granahan, spokeswoman for the group.
What the group found was that the neuro-typical kids demonstrated an understanding of the features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and were able to apply that into interactions they had previously had with their classmates.
“It showed that kids this young can understand how to use the tools that we give them and apply that to friendships and help their neuro-diverse peers succeed in the classroom,” said Granahan.
She added that because there were six people working on the project, it gave the students a chance to work together to produce a big project to take into the classroom for the first time.
“I think we worked together great. It was a joy to work with everyone,” said Granahan. “We were so excited to talk to the kids and see their excitement.”
All six presentations impressed not only the students themselves who produced the work, but those who attended the event to observe the projects.
“It was a little bit nerve-wracking, but I think we did really well. We practiced,” said Sarah Hann ‘22SLP
The University’s new chief of staff, Beth Moy, who was observing her first Capstone presentation at Salus, agreed.
“I’m so impressed with their presentations. They’re very professional, real well done and thoughtful,” said Moy. “The students have spent a lot of time on these projects and it’s very evident.”
Serianni gave a special shout-out to the faculty mentors who guided the students through the Capstone process. He said the faculty take time to make sure the students not only synthesize the information, but apply it to make sure that they’re giving an outstanding presentation of their projects.
“The partnership between the faculty and the students really shined,” he said. “I’m really impressed with not only the variety of projects but the in-depth community-based, make-the-world-a better-place opportunities that they’ve taken. The students did awesome. You can tell that they spent time, you can tell that they cared.”