Finding success


Bluffton University speech-path student find success through involvement

Abigail Newkirk ’20

speech-path student finds success through involvement

Abigail Newkirk ’20, of New Vienna, Ohio, is a speech-language pathology and audiology (SLPA) major who starts every day around 5:30 a.m. She describes her paper planner as a lifeline, and she writes everything down—even eating and sleeping. Newkirk thrives in a “go-go-go” lifestyle, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t like to be bored, sit still and not do anything. I don’t think you get the most out of your college experience if you sit in your room and nap,” Newkirk said. “I like to stay engaged and involved. I do all these things to better the university for all students, not just myself.”

Newkirk is the president of Bluffton’s chapters of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association and Student Athlete Advisory Committee, in which she has been nominated by the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference to serve as a National SAAC representative. She is also a member of the women’s soccer team and a student ambassador. On top of that she works as a fitness center supervisor, custodian on her residence hall floor, baseball coach office assistant and crew member at Freshens with Bluffton dining services. Newkirk enjoys every minute of her busy Bluffton lifestyle.

“From the second I stepped on campus, I fell in love with it and just knew it was going to be my second home,” said Newkirk.

While she is active outside of class, Newkirk is dedicated to her academic goals. Bluffton’s language development class has been Newkirk’s favorite class so far because it’s where she realized she could impact others by helping them reach their own goals.

“You can help children who are unable to talk, communicate to their parents and their peers,” said Newkirk. “Parents know you helped their children, and it’s an indescribable feeling.”

Newkirk is currently completing clinical observation rotations and is experiencing what it’s like to be a speech-language pathologist. While she started out wanting to work with children on a daily basis, the clinicals have helped her realize she may be better suited to working in a hospital or clinical setting.

“Those real-life experiences are extremely helpful to us as students,” said Newkirk.

Newkirk is in the process of taking the GRE and determining which graduate schools to apply to for speech-language pathology. She is scheduled to finish her coursework early and graduate in December 2020.

-Courtney Weekley, public relations student assistant