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“The great thing about being in the communication disorders field is there are so many areas you can go into. My decision on what direction I want to go changes every day. Right now, I’m focusing on early intervention. Erin Holt (MSU assistant professor in communication disorders) has so much passion. Coming into school, I thought I would go into medical, but having a two-year-old client is life changing. We really get to work hand in hand with professors and they help you explore your passion.”
Hailey Richards, senior, communication disorders

University Communications

Senior Spotlight: Hailey Richards

Richards finds the perfect fit in MSU

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University senior Hailey Richards knew early on she would eventually study something in the medical field.

After all, her parents, Laurie Brad-Richards and Todd Richards, are a nurse and an EMT.

But her eventual pursuit of communication disorders as a major became something more personal.

“I’ve always been surrounded by speech therapy because my brother (Braden) had a severe speech issue,” she said. “I’ve been able to see it work first hand and it just became what I felt I wanted to do.”

With the career choice in mind, next came finding the right school. The Humboldt, Saskatchewan native doesn’t think it was one specific aspect, but it was multiple reasons for choosing Minot State.

“I remember there being a fair and the counselors in my high school knew about Minot State,” Richards said. “I just loved the size of the school and size of the community and it was fairly close to home for me. But the communication disorder department really set MSU apart.  The clinical side is mind blowing and it seemed like a perfect fit.”

Fast forward to graduation and it continues to be for Richards.

“The great thing about being in the communication disorders field is there are so many areas you can go into. My decision on what direction I want to go changes every day,” she said. “Right now, I’m focusing on early intervention. Erin Holt (MSU assistant professor in communication disorders) has so much passion. Coming into school, I thought I would go into medical, but having a two-year-old client is life changing. We really get to work hand in hand with professors and they help you explore your passion.”

That passion spills into Richards everyday life as well.

She is active in multiple organizations including the National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) – both Minot and the national chapter – currently serving as treasurer at MSU. She has been active as a Student Ambassador since 2015 and is currently on their executive board as vice president. She is a mentor for Advancing Students Toward Education and Employment Program (ASTEP) where she helps students with disabilities transition to college and work, and is involved with the MSU Special Olympics Club where she served as treasurer in 2016-17.

“I think Minot State in general sets you up to have those opportunities,” Richards said. “In the major, we are pushed to be in clubs and because of that I’ve been able to volunteer at events like the Special Olympics. We stress multidiscipline – work with OT (occupational therapy) and PT (physical therapy) – so reading at schools, working in hospitals, and going to nursing homes is just a small aspect of what our future jobs will be like.”

While Richards has been happy giving her time, she also understands that she has been able to take a little from those experiences being active in the MSU community.

“My first year, I was extremely homesick, I didn’t want to do anything,” she said. “But my FYE (First Year Experience) classes put me in those classes with others in the hall and I found I had that support system. That helped create a friend group. Minot State is the perfect size for that to happen on campus.

“The courses have been demanding and rigorous, but we have also learned to balance work and to be a part of the community. I’m going into a helping profession, so you want to be able to promote that.”

ABOUT MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/07/18



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