December 2017 President's Corner

December 2017 President's Corner

There’s a quote by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While it’s become an overused motivational quote for anyone beginning a seemingly insurmountable project or adventure, I also find it to be an important reminder for myself and other audiology students. No matter where we are on our academic journeys, looking down the road at where we need to go and where the profession of audiology needs to go can be intimidating! But all we need to do is take a small step to get started.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start your audiology adventure, I recommend the SAA! There are many levels of involvement you can explore:

Many undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students without a local chapter join the national SAA to enjoy individual membership benefits. Individual members of the national SAA can take advantage of student scholarship opportunities and our Undergraduate Associate Awards program. Students can also volunteer to work on individual projects as micro-volunteers with the SAA.

Our local chapters lie at the heart of the SAA. Local chapters provide students with opportunities to get involved with audiology within their academic programs and their communities. Whether you choose to join your local chapter as a general member, take on a leadership position, or start a local chapter of your own, getting involved in a local chapter can be a great first step to even greater involvement with the SAA and engagement with the audiology profession. As a member of the Washington University of Saint Louis SAA chapter, I had a space to connect with my fellow AuD students, volunteer within the Saint Louis community, and learn more about the profession of audiology.

There are many ways for students to get involved or connect with the national SAA. Our Board of Directors is composed of 10 student members as well as the immediate past president. Applications for a position on the Board of Directors are available each fall. Students can also volunteer to serve on our national committees, task forces, or other special projects. The success of the national SAA depends on our volunteers. I began getting involved with the national SAA as a committee volunteer on the SAA Programs Subcommittee. As a committee volunteer, I helped plan the first AuD Toolbox event for the AAA Conference in 2016. I was so inspired by my experiences on the committee that I ran for a position on the Board of Directors and the rest is history!  

This year the SAA is piloting an SAA State Ambassador program. Seven inspiring students from Texas, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Louisiana were chosen to encourage collaboration and participation among chapters and students in their state for local, state, and national events! These students are already hard at work facilitating important conversations within their states about advocacy, audiology, and the SAA. Our state ambassadors have begun to organize advocacy trips and to connect chapters within their states. Each SAA State Ambassador works closely with a professional mentor to maximize student initiatives on the state level. Be on the lookout for more opportunities get involved with this project as it continues to grow and remember you can always get involved on the state level by joining your state academy or CSD organizations!

With so many ways to get involved in the national SAA, there’s no doubt you can find the perfect one! There are several opportunities still available – so don’t hesitate email me if you want to get involved! Whether you are a first year or a fourth year, it’s never too late to take that first step.


Jennifer Whittaker, SAA President