Psychology major Maegan Bright '11 capitalized on her time at the University of San Diego. Active on campus and in her department, Bright found an internship, professional inspiration and career path at USD's Internship Fair. Bright is attending New York University this fall to earn her master's degree in communicative sciences and disorders. She plans on becoming a speech pathologist and returning to her home state of California.
How has the College of Arts and Sciences prepared you for life after graduation?
I think it gave me a great well-rounded education. I not only took psychology classes, but I also took history, science and theology. I think having a liberal arts education helps because I am more than just a psych major. Going into the real world, I have a variety of things that I can offer.
"I think having a liberal arts education helps because I am more than just a psych major. Going into the real world, I have a variety of things that I can offer."
How would you describe your internship with San Diego County Speech Pathology Services, Inc?
It was great. I got my internship through the Internship Fair here at USD. When I went, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I really hit it off with the people from County Speech. I started my internship in the spring of 2010, and I launched their very first preschool class. It was a blast. Little kids have such wild imaginations. We did rhyming exercises, and I was blown away by the words they came up with. I always thought, "It's eight in the morning. I can't think like that yet. How in the world are you coming up with these words?"
I also taught kindergarten through 2nd grade, working on brother and cousin sounds, word games and reading—lots of fun activities. The program is called Reading STARS. It's a sensory training approach to reading and spelling. Later I taught the pre-school level, and moved up with the same kids, which is an ideal situation.
"I was a transfer student, but I really felt like I should have been at USD from day one. This is where I was supposed to be."
What inspired you to focus on speech pathology while you pursued your psychology degree?
My internship really inspired me. I fell in love with speech pathology. With County Speech, I worked in their office and help teach their after school extracurricular classes. I loved it – being involved, the excitement, energy and learning from other speech pathologists. I helped develop curriculum and was able to do a lot during my internship. That experience helped me decide that speech pathology is what I really wanted to do.
We hear that you have proposed an introductory speech pathology class. How do you think students could benefit from this course?
I am really excited about it because I think it would be valuable to add another elective class in the psychology department. There are the obvious career paths: marriage and family counseling, clinical, therapy, psychiatry and research, but there are a lot of other things that you can do with a psychology degree. It would give students the chance to see what their options are. Most people don't know that you can go into occupational therapy, speech language or forensic psychology. You can do so much.
To our incoming freshman, what advice do you have to help them find their career path?
I would first tell them to take a wide variety of classes, especially in their first year, so they can find what they're passionate about. They could take a class or have a teacher who inspires them to pursue their degree in that field and maybe even their career path. I would also say that they should take advantage of the opportunities that USD offers. Using tools like the Career Center or going to events like the Internship Fair or Job Fair can help guide or direct them. USD offers so many resources that really help students prepare for the working world.
As you head off to NYU for graduate school, what will you remember most about your experience at CAS?
I was a transfer student, but I really felt like I should have been at USD from day one. This is where I was supposed to be. I honestly think there are still things here that I would love to do. USD is such a wonderful school. I learned a lot about myself, made amazing friends, and I know I have a great education.
- Leslie Hammann