Each year, the University of Georgia’s graduating class leaves their mark on campus through Senior Signature, a program that empowers students to create a positive impact on a school, college, campus organization or scholarship that shaped their experience at UGA. Through a $30 gift, students are able to designate $20 to an area of their choice with the remaining $10 benefiting the Class Gift, which is awarded to an on-campus organization each year. All Senior Signature donors are eligible to participate in selecting the organization that receives funding from their Class Gift.
The Class of 2022 selected the UGA Chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) as the recipient of their Class Gift. The NSSLHA is a group of students with a shared interest in communications sciences and disorders. The organization is based in the Mary Frances Early College of Education and focuses on fundraising for the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic to support clients in need of financial assistance and to purchase clinic materials or equipment. In addition, the NSSLHA participates in community-service projects each year through local elementary schools.
During the 2022-2023 academic year, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association used the funds they received through the 2022 Class Gift to provide training in Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing for graduate students pursuing careers in speech-language pathology (SLP). “Having this training will allow me to participate in swallowing evaluations during my clinical internships, that I would not have been allowed to participate in without the training,” says graduate student Ansley Messina. By providing access to additional certifications, the NSSLHA is able to prepare students for their professional career, give a competitive advantage in the job market, and lessen their students’ financial burden after graduation.
“Receiving training in Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) was incredibly invaluable, especially as someone who is interested in pursuing a career in medical speech-language pathology. Not many students, or even professionals within the field receive this training for an evaluation tool that is crucial in determining an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan,” says graduate student Sam Schonhardt. “The course challenged me to integrate my academic knowledge with professional skills in a hands-on format, and it greatly improved my preparedness for my internship in an acute care hospital where FEES is utilized daily. I’m incredibly grateful to the faculty, staff, and students who made this training possible through the 2022 Class Gift.”
UGA student organizations are eligible to apply for the Class Gift each Spring to receive up to $6,000 in funds for the following academic year. One organization is chosen per year. The deadline to submit an application for the 2023-2024 academic year is Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.