Who are you?
My name is Brittney Ojeda. I am 24 years old and I am from Whittier, CA. I am Mexican American. My grandparents came to the United States from Mexico to provide a better life for their children. My father was born in Mexico but grew up here in the U.S. and my mother's side of the family has been here for many generations. I learned to speak Spanish because of my family and I feel so grateful that I speak the language. It opens so many doors for being able to communicate and connect with others of my Latino background.
What field are you in and what attracted you to that field?
I am in the field of speech-language pathology, or speech therapy, for short. I became attracted to the field after speaking with my mother about the speech therapist my sister had. As a young child, my sister was delayed in her speech and language. Therefore, my mother took her to see a speech therapist who would make therapy fun. She would play games with my sister, addressing her speech and language goals in a creative and fun way. Many parents think speech therapists simply play games with their child, but in actuality, we are making therapy motivating and fun for the child. The child does not typically realize he/she is working on improving their speech and/or language.
How do you hope to use your master’s degree to improve the health of your community?
I hope to use my Master’s degree to enhance the lives of people with communication disorders. It is a privilege to be able to help others who have difficulties communicating. A goal I would like to accomplish is to use my bilingual abilities to help children and adults with their speech and language. Unfortunately, there is often a communication/cultural barrier between primarily Spanish-speaking clients and their English-speaking clinician. I would hope to narrow such a gap in order to address all of their concerns and provide the most appropriate, culturally sensitive speech therapy possible.
What is a resource or advice you wish you had before starting your Master’s program?
I think the most important advice would have been to take the program seriously from the very beginning, as an undergraduate. Look to the future, start early, and do not be intimidated by students who are much older than you.