“It is an honor to receive a scholarship named after such an iconic figure in our nation’s rich Black history, and I am immensely grateful for the CLBCPI’s support and willingness to invest in my educational/professional goals.” – Andre Gatewood
My name is Andre Gatewood and I’m a graduate speech-language pathology (SLP) student at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). I am studying to become a licensed speech-language pathologist and plan to work with adults with acquired communication disorders. I became interested in the field of speech-language pathology after spending a year (post-undergrad) working as a registered behavior technician (RBT) where I provided behavior therapy services to children with autism. During this RBT experience, I observed my clients’ anxiety, frustrations and negative behaviors decrease significantly when their access to functional communication increased. I experienced a lot of pride and happiness when I got to see my clients’ quality of life improve in multiple areas (e.g. school, home, play) after weeks of hard work in our therapy sessions. I quickly realized that a career as a communication therapist spoke directly to my heart and interests which prompted my decision in pursuing a graduate degree in speech-language pathology.
Currently, I am half way through my two-year master’s program and can confidently say that I made the right decision about what I want to do “when I grow up”. I really admire how the speech-language pathology approach incorporates a careful balance of evidenced-based therapy techniques, repetition, hard work, compassion, and consistency to help clients make progress towards their respective goals. Progress made during speech therapy is typically achieved through a tremendous amount of effort and teamwork between the client and the clinician. I love the challenge of meeting new clients in my clinical placement(s) and going through the process of building a positive rapport with them, using clinical science to identify their areas of needs/strengths, spending weeks working with them in the treatment phase, and finally helping them acquire new communication skills and strategies. It’s easy for me to stay motivated in this program because I know that every assignment and clinical experience is intended to help me develop the expertise necessary to become a competent clinician and prepare me to provide high quality services to individuals with communication difficulties. The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my studies is that as I teach my clients how to improve their speech and language skills in the therapy room, they teach me far more about how to become a better therapist. This is a lesson I intend to always keep with me throughout the entirety of my career as a reminder to approach every client interaction with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a desire to reflect upon the experience and better myself as a clinician.
Andre Tells Us About the Frederick M. Roberts College Scholarship
The Frederick M. Roberts College Scholarship is named after California’s very first African American State legislator, who earned his place in history by famously winning a state assembly seat and becoming a representative for California’s 62nd district in 1918. Roberts went on to serve 16 consecutive years as a state assembly member and he used this position to fiercely advocate for Civil Rights, equality, and improving the public education system in California. The California Legislative Black Caucus Policy Institute (CLBCPI) awards this $2,500 scholarship to California collegiate scholars who demonstrate exemplary academic achievement and community involvement. Over a century ago, Frederick M. Roberts’ actions as a state legislator helped lay the foundation for the creation of diverse educational institutions, such as our very own Cal State San Marcos.
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College of Education, Health & Human Services