"The times they are a-changin'": As students, we always hear this from professors about our chosen professions of speech-language pathology and audiology. Technology, research and new information are constantly developing and shifting our scope of practice to something a little different than before. The same can be said of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association Day at the ASHA convention.
In 2003, NSSLHA hosted its first NSSLHA Day at the ASHA convention in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago. Ten years later, NSSLHA Day will be back in Chicago, with a new title—"The NSSLHA Experience at the ASHA Convention." The name is not the only thing that has changed over the past 10 years—the content has also grown.
Before the initial "NSSLHA Day," the Executive Council would host a breakfast at convention for 100 chapter advisors and students to network and be recognized for their accomplishments. A few years later, the breakfast turned into a luncheon and awards ceremony.
The next change was the addition of the immediately popular Battle of the Regions, a knowledge bowl that replaced an informal networking evening. In 2009, the group's leaders introduced the NSSLHA Lounge, where students can meet up with other students, pick up convention ribbons and giveaways, or enjoy some refreshments before visiting the Graduate School Fair.
As the 2013 co-chair for The NSSLHA Experience, I know how much time, sweat and work go into planning this event. The planning and development of the day takes more than a year: Finding speakers for each student session, searching for an amazing keynote speaker to motivate students, and finding companies to participate in the product demonstration lounge are just a few of the planning tasks. We also plan every detail and logistic for the entire day: What session will take place when? Who will proctor each session? How long should the sessions be? What happens if there aren't enough tables?
Not only is the actual event getting better, but NSSLHA is also making it a priority to recognize its members at convention. For example, all student poster presentations will display a special ribbon.
At The NSSLHA Experience on Friday, Nov. 15, in the Lakeside Center of the McCormick Place Convention Center, students can take part in interprofessional educations sessions and an interactive product demonstration lounge, view chapter poster presentations, and tour the Graduate School Fair—all in one location. The interprofessional aspects stem from ASHA President Patty Prelock's emphasis on interprofessional communication. Students can expect to gain a better understanding of how to advocate for their profession, counsel families, and work with other professionals in various settings.
Another first for the 10-year anniversary of NSSLHA at convention is a motivational keynote speaker. Bob Love, a former Chicago Bulls basketball player and lifelong person who stutters, will deliver the keynote address at the NSSLHA Honors Ceremony and Luncheon, which will recognize Honors recipients and Small Steps in Speech (the "NSSLHA Loves" recipient).
Finally, the day will wrap up with the ever-popular Knowledge Bowl, where teams representing the 10 regions of NSSLHA engage in an exciting battle for cash prizes.
Check out the NSSLHA website for more information about "The NSSLHA Experience at the ASHA Convention."