• Major Spotlight: Dietetics

    by Kerri-Ann Henry

    Two college students standing in front of a bookcase with cookbooks and cooking equipment. They are both wearing face masks and the student on the left is also wearing a headscarf.

    A confused look followed by “what is that?” is often the response that I get when I tell others that my major is dietetics. Simply put, dietetics is the profession of nutrition. Dietitians have essential roles in many areas; however, many are unaware that the profession even exists. Dietetics is one example of a “found” major, meaning that many discover the major after entering college and many even discover the profession after graduating and come back for another bachelor’s degree! Dietetics is a unique and rewarding major for anyone interested in helping others to thrive and live better and healthier lives starting from their diet!

    Dietetics and Dietitians Defined

    As previously stated, dietetics is the profession of human nutrition. Dietetics translates and applies the science of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of individuals and groups. Professionals who actively practice dietetics are known as Registered Dietitians (RD), also known as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

    Myth Buster: Registered Dietitian = Nutritionist

    Not at all! Registered Dietitians (RD) should not be confused with nutritionists (or health coaches). A nutritionist does not have accreditation, rather it is a self-proclaimed title, hence they have no legal protection or acceptance as an expert in the field. Often nutritionists will take a certificate course and claim to be an expert which may be detrimental to potential clients with diseases and illnesses who need proper medical nutrition therapy (MNT) that a registered dietitian is qualified and trained to provide.

    RD’s are employed in a variety of settings such as hospitals, health care facilities, government agencies, companies, schools, and universities, and the list continues. The main practice areas that dietitians are often categorized into are clinical, food service, and community.

    Types of Dietitians and Their Scope of Practice

    Clinical dietitians work alongside doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in health care settings serving as the nutrition expert on the team. Clinical dietitians screen and treat malnutrition in patients, order tube feedings (enteral nutrition) for patients unable to eat by mouth. They also specialize in nutrition management of a variety of chronic diseases such as kidney disease, heart disease, and intestinal diseases.

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  • Major Spotlight: Speech, Language, and Hearing Science

    by Abby Williams

    Three female college students taking a selfie in front of the Texas Tech school crest.

    Speech, language, and hearing science (SLHS) is the ideal major for students who are interested in healthcare and helping professions but hate blood and needles like I do. I plan to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology after obtaining my bachelor’s in SLHS, but there are a wide variety of options in this field. Some of my peers are going on to pursue a doctorate in audiology, some will pursue a career in deaf education or early childhood intervention, and some will become an assistant to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or audiologist which they can do with just their bachelor’s degrees. SLHS represents a unique combination of careers in education, counseling, and healthcare. The areas of specialty are limitless within the field.

    Understanding the Broad Scope of SLHS

    The first important thing to note about speech, language, and hearing science is the vastness of the field. When most people think of a speech therapist, they think of the speech class at their elementary school where a teacher helped the kid who turned his r’s into w’s and said “wed” instead of “red”. But the actual scope of practice of a speech-language pathologist encompasses so much more. SLPs can target speech issues such as:

    • dysarthria or slurred speech as a result of Parkinson’s disease
    • language problems (e.g., aphasia following a stroke)
    • cognitive deficits (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease)
    • swallowing impairment (e.g., dysphagia after a traumatic brain injury)
    • voice concerns (e.g., transgender voice therapy)
    • feeding problems (e.g., premature babies with feeding difficulties)
    • augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) (e.g., a nonverbal child with autism spectrum disorder)

    SLPs can work with individuals across the lifespan, from premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit to elders in late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to narrow down your specialty so specifically has probably been the most surprising thing to me about SLHS, and one of the things I love the most.

    Demand for this Career

    The second thing to acknowledge is the current demand for SLPs and audiologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of SLPs is expected to grow 29 percent from 2020 to 2030 and job growth for audiology is predicted to increase 13% from 2019 to 2029, both of which are much faster than the average for all occupations. Aging populations, larger numbers of retirees, the ability of SLPs to improve survival rates of individuals like stroke victims, newfound emphasis of early identification of communication disorders, and increased enrollment of children in schools, including special education services are all factors implicated in this increasing demand. It is plain to see that SLP and audiology are growing fields that require more professionals than in past years.

    Rewarding Nature

    Finally, I want to touch a little bit on how rewarding this career path is. Just about everyone has been affected by communication disorders in some shape or form, either in personal experience or in knowing someone affected. But even so, most people don’t know the true depths of how these disorders change a person’s life and the lives of everyone around them. Students studying SLHS not only learn these concepts and grow their capacity for empathy, but they also learn how to help those individuals and improve their quality of life.

    I hope that in reading this blog, you learned something you didn’t know about communication disorders and speech, language, and hearing science, and that you might be tempted to pursue a career in this incredible field.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • 3 Factors to Consider when Choosing a College Major

    by Abby Williams

    An aerial view of the Texas Tech University campus.

    Sometimes planning your future can be more complicated than finding and choosing something you love to do. The story of how I initially settled on my major probably echoes that of many other college students today who took a while to decide what they wanted to do. Here are 3 factors that made me fall in love with my major and decide to seriously pursue a career in the field of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.

    Like everyone else, by the time I reached my junior year of high school, I was already very tired of receiving countless questions, from what felt like everyone in my life, regarding my future. After another conversation with my mom about what I could potentially do with my life, I finally decided that speech-language pathology (SLP) sounded like a decent answer to parrot for the next few years until I figured out what I actually wanted to do. And that’s exactly what I did, all the way through officially choosing my major at Texas Tech University. Once I started my coursework, I discovered 3 factors that helped me realize how perfect the seemingly random field I had chosen was for me.

    Variety of roles

    One of the first things that I noticed about my major and fell in love with is how many types of job opportunities my degree can present. Speech pathologists and audiologists can work in a wide variety of settings and work with people of any age and background, from newborns with difficulty swallowing, to prisoners with traumatic brain injuries, to elderly individuals with aphasia. I like that you can choose so many different avenues and can change your mind, all with the common theme of helping people. I think it’s important to find a profession that allows you to grow in and with your occupation as you grow up and change yourself, in all aspects of your life. For example, right now my dream job as a SLP would be to work with premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a hospital, but I realize that if I become a mom in the future, that job might no longer be the best fit for me. With SLP, I can always change my mind and work with a different age group (i.e., pediatrics or adults), with a different condition (e.g., aphasia, phonological disorder, TBI, etc.), or in a different setting (i.e., hospital, clinic, school, etc.).

    Incorporates personal interests

    It’s important to choose a field that can potentially provide opportunities that appeal to your personal interests as well as professional interests. For example, I love to travel and wanted to choose an occupation that would allow me to do so without forcing me to constantly be on the road. With a degree in SLP, I will be able to pursue occupations which involve travel (e.g., pediatric home health) at points of my life I deem appropriate. Other opportunities to consider could be networking and advancement if moving up the ladder is an important factor for you.

    Cost-happiness ratio

    Finally, I recommend evaluating something I call the ‘cost-happiness ratio’ of a profession. While making enough money to support your lifestyle is the overall goal of working and arguably the most important aspect, as they always say, “money can’t buy happiness”. Evaluate the benefit of a profession by comparing the amount of positivity and happiness the job brings into your life with the actual financial gain of the job. Then determine whether the values are proportional. For example, if you make a lot of money doing a job that makes you miserable, the money may not be worth it overall. Through my major-related classes and learning more about my field, I have learned that helping people is the work I find most gratifying.

    By considering the variety of roles in a career field, the possible opportunities a field could offer you, and the cost-happiness ratio, you can find the college major that will be best for you.

     

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us - click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • A Major Decision Made Easy!

    by Rachel Hutchinson

    A woman holding a book with smile

    Exploring and applying to colleges was a long and difficult process, and when I finally chose to attend CU Boulder, I thought all of my decisions had been made. However, there was a new weight on my shoulders: what would I study?

    Choosing a major is an extremely important decision, and at first, I felt very stressed about making it. However, I soon realized that the decision came naturally.

    Take Your Time

    Some people know what career path they want to follow before they even enter college, but don’t worry if you are not one of these people. College is an opportunity to explore different passions and areas of study, and you do not need to decide your major before you have the chance to explore. Most colleges want you to decide your major by the end of your sophomore year, which gives you two years to discover your passions.

    When I came to CU, I knew that I wanted to eventually pursue a career in business, but I had no idea the specific area of emphasis. Business includes a plethora of career paths, from information management and data analytics to finance and accounting. My school allowed me to try all of these areas during my freshman and sophomore years and by the end, I was able to choose the field I was most excited about. I realized that I loved accounting, so I declared my major and began taking more accounting related classes my junior year.

    Don’t Stress!

    My advice for you if you are struggling to decide a major is to take time to explore your options. Spend the first year or two of college taking tons of different courses and finding what you love. Don’t stress too much about it! If you choose something you don’t end up liking, you can always change your major. Many people change their majors in college. It is completely normal.

    Overall, choosing your major can be scary but also very exciting when you finally decide what you want to pursue. I wish you luck on your journey through discovering your passions and choosing a major!

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  • Spotlight on college majors: Art therapy

    by Sugandhaa Pandey

    blog image alt text

    Did you ever wonder why that holiday retreat to the mountains, or camping in the woods made you feel so alive? Color psychology says that green and blue are restful colors. According to biology, the eye focuses these colors directly on the retina which results in less strained eye muscles. There is a reason why we use expressions such as – ‘red with anger’ and ‘green with envy’. The effects of colors are myriad. Hence, making colorful artworks plays an important role in expressing what human vocalization cannot. 

    Studying Art Therapy

    Art therapy uses the process of drawing, painting, and sculpting to enhance mental well-being. It is based on the premise of improving self-awareness, and one does not have to be Picasso to benefit from this! Art therapists work with clients of any age in mainstream and special education classes to guide them with this technique of exploring personal problems through the integration of sensory and physical activity. Students pursuing a degree in Art Therapy will take a combination of art and psychology courses.

    Art therapy for children with ADHD

    ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic condition that can be caused due to reasons ranging from genetics to prenatal exposures. While it can’t be cured, ADHD can be mitigated with proper medication. One of the notable alternate therapies for it is art therapy. A child suffering from ADHD experiences problems in communicating her/his feelings and art therapy acts as a facilitator to do so. 

    Children are often scolded for not being attentive in the classroom. Art therapy has shown to notably increase the attention span of a child by providing a source of focus. Since art is a natural part of play in children’s development, art projects under this therapy interest them. This therapy utilizes different forms of nonverbal creative expressions, which helps the child in engaging with the world without verbal outbursts. It helps a child get in sync with their inner positivity and creative energy.

    The therapeutic nature of art can be found in the structure of the materials as well. The more geometric the shape, the more likely that a child with ADHD would use it as a tool. This is because such materials are easy to control (like pencil colors) as opposed to fluid materials (like paint). This makes a child feel more in control of their surroundings and reduces their anxiety. The opportunity to draw something is essentially giving them a structure to work with. It makes them think about the consequences, thereby addressing the issues of distractibility and erred sequential thinking.

    Children with ADHD often suffer from low self-esteem. Improvement in concentration and performance via art therapy sessions results in reception of praise. This helps in nurturing confidence and a sense of achievement. Art therapy sessions can be a platform that helps in dispelling the feeling of loneliness and social exclusion from within a child.

    Art therapy enhances abilities

    While making art, different parts of the brain are engaged. This results in increasing the brain serotonin level, the lack of which causes depression. Making art from a memory whets a child’s analytic and sequential operations, logic, and abstraction. It also helps a child in exploring their identity, which is a powerful process as it improves a child’s self-efficacy. The current pandemic has restricted our movement. Schools have not re-opened thereby, limiting a child’s experiences that would have aided their social and emotional growth. Art therapy can provide children with an engaging way to explore and enhance their abilities even in the times of a pandemic.

     

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