Alumna: Speech-Language Pathology ’16
Taylor Westhoff has always had a keen ear and a passion for language. She fondly recalls family gatherings in a childhood home filled with the voices of her mother’s relatives speaking Portuguese. The language was not offered in elementary and secondary schools, so Westhoff chose to study Spanish instead, then major in modern languages and Spanish as an undergraduate.
“I thought of teaching English as a second language, but traveling in Chile and working with children there made me think about the value of a bilingual speech pathologist,” she says.
Westhoff, a Belair, Md. native, applied to graduate schools up and down the East Coast. “Towson was one of the best programs with a brand new clinic in the Institute for Well-Being (IWB),” explains Westhoff, who was also impressed that faculty members are friendly, approachable and have years of experience in the field.
Her Spanish language capabilities are already proving valuable. For two semesters, Westhoff worked with children and adult clients at Towson’s IWB. She has also worked in the rehabilitation department of St. Joseph’s Hospital, which adjoins the Towson campus, handling speech, language, and swallowing evaluations for patients.
This fall, Westhoff conducted evaluations and treated adult patients with stroke, trauma, head and neck cancer, and swallowing problems. “I have navigated my way to the medical side of speech pathology,” explains Westhoff. “Towson faculty are really willing to connect you with speech pathologists in the community if that is what you are looking for.”
“There are so many learning opportunities in close proximity of Towson,” says Westhoff, who has volunteered in labs at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and visited clinical practices at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. In the future, she hopes to blend her artistic talent with her profession. “Art can be good rehabilitation as well. Drawing therapy is a good complement to speech-language therapy. “