Throughout his entire childhood, Sam Farrand, MS ‘17
, was used to having foster children around. His mother was heavily involved in the New Jersey Foster Parents Association, and the family often took care of foster children on its farm.
After graduating in 2009 from the University of Delaware with a degree in Criminal Justice, he had a variety of jobs: as an exercise technician at a physical therapy clinic in Delaware; food service; bartending; moved home for a while to help is father on the farm; and spent a summer building sets for theatrical productions. But it was his mother-in-law who suggested that because of his background in child care with the foster children and theater, he might consider getting into speech therapy. And, that turned out to be some good advice.
In 2015, Farrand entered the inaugural Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) class at Salus University and he hasn’t looked back. “I heard about Salus word-of-mouth from somebody at one of the job sites where I was volunteering. She was an SLP student and she said there was a new school accepting applications,” said Farrand, originally from North Jersey. “It was a new program, a health-focused school and it had a lot of good resources for research and a lot of focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, which was really great.”
According to Farrand, the SLP clinical and externship programs were very robust for a new program. He was fortunate enough to complete his externship at a Level 1 trauma unit at a hospital, which was invaluable. “I talked to a number of students after the fact and I didn’t hear about very many who had an experience like that. Salus was able to give me that access,” he said.
After graduating in 2017, Farrand secured a job at a large school district in Delaware, and was confident going in that he was well trained and could handle the task.
“From Day One, the focus at Salus was to have applicable skills when we got out into the real world and that definitely was the case,” he said. “I walked in day one for my job and knew exactly how to best collaborate with nearly every student, teacher, parent, and allied health professional who walked through my door.”
After five years working in that school district, handling a heavy workload and the stresses that come with it, Farrand decided he needed a change.
“I had a lot of challenges in that job. Feeling like you’re having an impact on kids’ lives day-to-day was great, it was especially rewarding being a male SLP in an elementary school, which is very uncommon,” he said. “Being on the front lines like that can be difficult, especially now that I have children. I needed some of that energy for home.”
In June 2022, Farrand accepted a position as a research speech pathologist at his alma mater, the University of Delaware, where he is currently involved in a large study on stuttering. The study — in collaboration with the University of Michigan and based on research from a pilot study by Dr. Ho Ming Chow from the University of Michigan — is looking at children ages six to 13 who stutter. Farrand is conducting the primary participant recruitment, MRI brain scans, behavior testing, and analyzing speech samples.
The study has a five-year grant and could be extended, according to Farrand. After that, he could choose to get more involved with the University of Delaware and maybe pursue a doctorate in speech or public health.
“I think I would enjoy that, to continue into research. It feels good to be building something and looking toward the future knowing that you’re going to be helping people,” he said. “It’s also possible that we do the study, the grant runs out and I just go find another job somewhere else.”
Farrand and his wife, Jessica, have two children — a son Phineas and a daughter Felicity — twins who are three- and-a-half years old. In his spare time, Farrand enjoys doing improv comedy, playing competitive league soccer and dabbling in real estate investments with his wife, who is a registered dietitian.