Missouri State University
Bailey Hoffman

Bailey Hoffman

Meaningful, personal: CSD grad student shares first-year experience

The moment(s) when Bailey Hoffman knew going to Graduate College was the right move. 

‘I had never felt the way I did when…’

That client with perpetual stuttering? His friends and family have noticed he’s stuttering less often.

The client with aphasia? For the first time, he greeted her by name at their last session – something that had never before occurred.

In only one semester, these are some of the one-on-one, personal events that Bailey Hoffman, graduate student in the communication sciences and disorders department, has experienced.

And it’s how she knows she’s made the correct decision to pursue a master’s degree.

“I had never felt the way I did when my fluency client shared that his friends and family have noticed he is stuttering less, or when my client with aphasia greeted me at our last session by saying my name,” Hoffman said. “I am so grateful to have been given these opportunities to overcome challenges, improve my skills, and to share these experiences with my clients, supervisors, professors and cohort.”

Opportunities, guidance and support

“I had been searching for a career where I could have a positive impact on people's lives in a setting that would be different each day and would continue to challenge me.” 

As a speech-language pathology graduate student, Hoffman must complete 400 clinical hours and two externships – one in an acute setting (acute care, acute rehab facility, skilled nursing facility or out-patient rehab) and another in a school setting (early childhood center, elementary school, middle school or high school).

While Hoffman won’t begin her two externships until her final semester of graduate school (spring 2018), she already has gained invaluable knowledge and insight through the early stages of her required clinical hours.

“Within (the spring 2017) semester alone, I have learned so much academically, clinically and personally,” Hoffman said. “I was able to take things that I’ve learned from so many classes and use them firsthand in the clinic.”

In addition to helping clients with stuttering and aphasia, Hoffman has been able to work on a variety of projects and tasks, such as:

  • Diagnosing a young child with a language disorder
  • Co-leading a communication group for people with aphasia
  • Performing a transnasal endoscopy on a client

“The communication sciences and disorders program at MSU has provided me with opportunities to explore countless aspects of speech-language pathology,” Hoffman said. “The program has given me the support and guidance to grow more confident in myself as a person and as a speech-language pathologist, which in turn has allowed me to share those qualities with my clients.”

Small-town girl finds a second home

Hoffman didn’t figure she’d be in this spot in her latter stages of high school. But after taking an online aptitude test – which indicated she would likely enjoy working with people in a health-related field – “speech-language pathologist” came up as one of the suggested careers.

Hoffman’s interest was sparked.

She completed her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders in December of 2015 and entered Graduate College in the summer of 2016. She’s planning to finish her master’s degree in speech-language pathology by May of 2018.

For her master’s thesis, Hoffman will be involved in a group project that will research the impact of improvisational story-telling, using pictures as a prompt, on adults with dementia.

After completing her master’s, Hoffman is eyeing a career in acute care, acute rehab or skilled nursing.

Coming to MSU from Holden, Missouri (population: 2,252), Hoffman has enjoyed big-city perks and the comforts of having a home away from home.

“When I visited campus, everyone was so welcoming and friendly that I felt I wouldn't have any trouble meeting new people or fitting in,” she said. “I remember thinking to myself that, ‘If I were lost, I would feel comfortable approaching anyone on Missouri State's campus to ask for directions.’

“Throughout the years I've spent at Missouri State, I can honestly say my assumptions were accurate and it has become my second home.”