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White FHU Logo

Henderson, Tennessee — (March 25, 2024) — Seven Freed-Hardeman University students studying Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) attended the Tennessee Association of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists (TAASLP) “Day On The Hill” in Nashville, Tennessee, this month where they met with state legislators to discuss professions, answer questions and share issues facing their fields. 

The students —  Allison Collum, Gracie Doyle, Alexa Neglia, Kenzie Pressnell, Elizabeth Roberts, Taylor Triplett, and Gabe Watts – arrived prepared to meet with Senators and Representatives to discuss how they can help the audiology and speech pathology professions as well as those they will serve. These students were able to meet professional SLPs and audiologists as well as students from other undergraduate and graduate CSD programs. 

FHU instructor Susan Lankford and Dr. Meagan Spencer, director of FHU’s CSD program, organized the day for students whose itinerary included delivering one pagers (information sheets) to share with legislators, participating in letter-writing campaigns with Tennessee’s StAMP and SEAL representatives. They discussed reimbursement, dismissal of mandated school-age hearing screenings, and reasons why students choose the CSD field. 

“The goals for the event were to share information with legislators about the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology and to advocate for improved access to services for all Tennesseans,” Lankford said. “The FHU Communication Sciences and Disorders department believes strongly that our undergraduate students are ready to take part in this aspect of their future profession. They proved us right with their participation in the TAASLP Day on the Hill.” 

Participating students said they appreciated the opportunity to be a part of Day on the Hill. 

“Day on the Hill was special to me because I was introduced to the lobbying and advocating side of speech language pathology. Going out and talking about what we do to help others and talking to those in the government can help make a difference,” Pressnell said. “What was cool to learn about was how every single senator I met had some connection to Speech Pathology. Whether their child had received services or their parents or the senators themselves, they all had a connection.” 

Watts added that this opportunity helped him to better understand the importance of advocating for professional needs. “There and the deep need to develop stronger relationships with legislators and build leadership skills through discussions with lawmakers about problems and issues in the field.” 

Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiology treatment (like hearing aids), while speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech, language, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders.

The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associates, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.