The Student Leaders in Audiology Conference (SLAC) was held as a special student conference on the Wednesday of the AAA Annual Conference in 2017 and 2018. Audiology students applied and were selected to take part in a half-day of targeted leadership lectures and activities. This provided an opportunity for audiology students who may have already considered themselves leaders or aspired to become future leaders of the profession to develop their skills and consider new perspectives.
Leadership can take many forms. It looks and feels different to every leader — which is evident at every level of the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) from our local chapter members, to national SAA volunteers, to SAA Board of Directors members! As a result, for AAA 2019 (March 27-30), the SAA Board of Directors envisioned a different kind of student leadership development opportunity for ALL students attending AAA 2019. This year the SLAC has evolved into a program broken into sessions over three days, but the goal remains the same: provide an opportunity for students to develop skills that will allow them to become contributory members of the audiology community as they transition to professionals. These SLAC and Snacks sessions will incorporate different ideas of what it means to be a leader with the hope to inspire all audiology students and allow them to find their individual strengths in order to empower their own professional growth. (And of course there will be snacks!)
On Wednesday afternoon, the first session, “Lead As You Are,” invites students to explore ways to lead in their communities. This presentation consists of current student leaders with different backgrounds, from humanitarian projects to political advocacy. The format is similar to a TEDx talk, with students creatively telling personal stories and expressing their leadership experiences which have influenced the field of audiology. The presenters include Rachel Fryatt from the University of Pittsburgh, Audrey Taylor from UT Dallas, Samantha Ramirez from Wayne State University, and Kaley Babich from Rush University.
On Thursday, “Translating Student Leadership to Professional Leadership” will include a panel of professionals describing the leadership opportunities they pursued while in graduate school, and the impact that these experiences had on them as professionals. The panel is comprised of professionals who are leaders in the field of audiology, who have also either pursued leadership opportunities as a student or work closely with student leaders. The panel is comprised of Kari Morgenstein, AuD; Sarah Sydlowski, AuD, PhD; Daniel Romero, AuD; Brian Vesely, AuD; and Jodi Baxter, AuD.
Friday, the final session, “Dilemma or Development? What AuD Situations Can Teach Us,” will test your critical thinking skills in difficult, real-life situations that may occur as a student in clinic or in the classroom. While working in teams, students will discuss ways to navigate sticky situations, and may have a laugh or two along the way.
Starting at the Wednesday session, SLAC & Snacks session attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a Professional Development Scavenger Hunt. Think of this as a conference-wide ice breaker! Pick up a scavenger hunt worksheet at the sessions on Wednesday or Thursday to complete and hand in at the start of the session on Friday; there will be an opportunity to win a national SAA membership or an SAA T-Shirt!
All students are welcome regardless of whether they’d consider themselves a “leader.” Join us and explore what being a leader truly means to you. Mark your conference calendars to attend these sessions!
More information can be found here, and snacks will be provided at each presentation. The SLAC & Snacks Student Leadership Series is sponsored in part by Phonak! Any questions regarding the SLAC can be sent to Jeni Whittaker, AuD at email@example.com.
Rachel Fryatt is a fourth-year AuD student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is completing her externship year at the University of Miami Ear Institute. She serves on the SLAC Task Force and the SAA Nominations Committee.
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