What do you see as the largest professional issue that students who are entering the workforce soon will face? How do you hope to be a part of the solution?

I think the largest current professional issue in the field of audiology is autonomy, the ability for audiologists to practice as an individual entity. I think it is a common misconception for young audiology students to enter graduate school thinking that they will be able to do all of these things as audiologists, but you soon come to find out that you will work at the expense of others (i.e., ENTs, or physicians). I hope to act as an advocate for this issue, where I hope to participate in and educate other young audiologist and audiology students on the current legislatures surrounding this topic of interest and encourage them to act and advocate for these issues alongside me. The transition towards professional autonomy is just starting, an example being the MAASA (2021), and I am excited to be entering this field in a time of such change and professional empowerment. Another topic of debate that is currently circulating in the field of audiology is that of over-the-counter hearing aids, and this is going to be an issue that many audiologists and audiology students are going to have to face in their daily practice. However, I think this is an area that scares some audiologists and audiology students because they might feel like their profession is being degraded or under-appreciated, which might be true in a sense, but this change is not something to be afraid of, it is just something to embrace and change with. Overall, I hope to act as a voice and a resource for professionals and students in the field of audiology to learn more about the current issues surrounding our profession, and I believe that serving in a leadership role will help me to facilitate this goal.

What is your vision of our future profession over the next 5-10 years? How do you picture getting students involved in this?

My vision for the profession of audiology over the next 5-10 years is that we will continuously work closer and closer to becoming an autonomous profession. I find myself to be a realist, so I know this transition won’t happen overnight and will likely take several years, but I am willing and prepared to act as a voice and advocate for as long as needed. MAASA (2021) is just the start of a long process ahead of us! I think audiology students are the new faces of today’s profession and I feel like they will be the driving voice behind these changes to the field of audiology. Legislative issues and change are not something to be afraid of, but something to fight for. I think it is important to educate audiology students of these issues and legislative acts early on in their careers, so they are not afraid or unaware of them once they get into the clinical environment and can get involved and make a difference early on in their careers.