Welcome to the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) Pathways to Audiology Interview Series! While many audiologists come from a Communication Science Disorders (CSD) background, others have taken different pathways to the field. In this series, the SAA will interview both audiologists and AuD students who have or are taking non-traditional routes into the profession of audiology.
Our next interview is with Perri Fine, a second-year audiology student at A.T. Still University.
Q: Give us a quick description of yourself, your pronouns, where you are getting your AuD, your academic year, and what your current interests are in the profession of audiology.
Greetings! I’m Perri Fine, MS (she/her), and I am a current second-year doctor of audiology student enrolled at A.T. Still University. My interests are educational audiology, manufacturing, and research.
Q: What were you doing before you decided to enter the profession of audiology?
Audiology is a career transition for me. I earned my B.S. in marine biology and my M.S. in teaching and learning. I was a public-school science teacher for five years, and then I was an executive assistant for a fashion designer. I have a strong desire to help people and love staying organized.
Q: How were you first exposed to audiology?
One of my earliest memories is being in a sound booth for a hearing test due to frequent ear infections. As I got older, I was curious to see who was on the other side of the sound booth. When I observed an audiologist, I was impressed with how compassionate the doctor was towards his patients and how his patients trusted and respected his guidance. I began my application process to study audiology that same day.
Q: What made you switch to audiology from your previous track?
In my opinion, being able to hear is one of life’s greatest joys. Having the possibility to help members of my community and provide opportunities for equitable hearing is what made me switch to this profession. Further knowing that there are children/students who do not have the same opportunities in academics or in language acquisition is heartbreaking. I hope to be one of the many practitioners who bridge this gap and provide an equitable hearing experience to my future patients.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most fascinating thing about audiology or the ear?
Hearing happens in the brain!
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating going into or switching to audiology?
Shadow an audiologist! Network and converse with current students to see how their decisions align or differ from your decision to start this career! Take the risk and apply to a program in a state that you’ve never lived in or traveled to before! Working within different communities helps you to learn more about yourself and widens your understanding of new cultures and of your country.
This interview was completed by Kylie DeLaney, B.S., a third-year audiology student at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona. Kylie is a member of the SAA Communications Committee.
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