March 8, 2024
Reading time: 2 minutes, 4 seconds

The faculty of the speech-language pathology program at the University of West Georgia know how important it is to connect students with opportunities to network and explore career options within the field. 

UWG students, faculty, and guest speakers

UWG’s undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology provides students with the foundational knowledge needed to apply for graduate study in either speech-language pathology or audiology, so faculty strive to expose students to professionals from both fields. 

That’s why Dr. Aleah Brock, an assistant professor of speech-language pathology, invited guest audiologists to speak to her undergraduate Introduction to Audiology class. 

“We don’t have a clinical audiologist on faculty here, so I wanted to bring in outside experts to give our students that perspective from the field,” said Brock. 

The invited speakers included Dr. Jennifer Tinkey, a clinical audiologist at the Hearing Doctors of Georgia; Dr. Kerri Bell, business development manager for the hearing aid manufacturer, Oticon; Felicia Thomas, clinical account manager at Oticon and current president of the Georgia Academy of Audiology; and Dr. Rob Allen, audiologist at The Concussion Center. Each guest spoke to the students about their unique career pathways and experiences. They also discussed the diversity of opportunities that the field of audiology entails. 

“I’ve had four different jobs in a 20-year span,” said Tinkey. “As you evolve, your career can evolve too.” 

Thomas, who worked for 18 years at Carrollton Ear, Nose and Throat, spoke about her transition to working in hearing aid sales for Oticon. 

“I work with audiologists to bring life-changing technology to patients,” she said. 

Allen provided yet another perspective.

L to R: Felicia Thomas, Dr. Kerri Bell, Dr. Rob Allen and Dr. Jennifer Tinkey
L to R: Felicia Thomas, Dr. Kerri Bell, Dr. Rob Allen and Dr. Jennifer Tinkey

“Audiology is not just doing hearing tests,” he explained. “There are many different avenues in the profession.” 

Allen’s work at The Concussion Center, the only comprehensive concussion care clinic in Georgia, focuses on the vestibular impacts of traumatic brain injury.

The attendees – third- and fourth-year speech-language pathology majors – found the presentations to be invaluable. 

“The guest speaker experience was fantastic and provided information you cannot get from a textbook,” stated Carolyn Gonzalez. 
Students spoke of the benefit of being exposed to professionals from the field. 

“This class was very insightful to me,” said Morgan Cooper. “Without it I would have no idea what the field of audiology really entailed.”
The guest speakers shared their contact information with the students, several of whom have made appointments to shadow Tinkey in the coming weeks. 

“This was one of the best experiences to have today,” reflected student Natasha Williams. “That’s the reason why I love and appreciate this class.”