Meet Kayla Neher ‘21. She is a soon-to-be two-time UCF alumna. First, a Bachelor of Science in communication sciences and disorders and this time with a Master of Science in communication sciences and disorders. Her journey here, however, was not easy. As a teenager, she spent a significant amount of time at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore watching her mother receive treatment for an aggressive glioblastoma tumor on her brain. After the loss of her mom, she came to the realization that she wanted to make a career in healthcare and help other people through hard situations. Though she chose not to pursue oncology, she looks forward to making an impact in people’s lives through diagnosing and treating issues related to loss of hearing. During her time at UCF, she was a founding member of the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing, which, she says is one of her proudest moments in her college career.
Hometown: Walkersville, MD
Degree: Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders
What will you be doing after graduation?
My plan is to remain in Orlando and begin my career in the medical setting or working with the Deaf and hard-of-hearing population.
What are your long-term career plans?
In my field, there are a variety of opportunities that I could pursue, which makes it difficult to decide my long-term career plans! I plan on eventually going into travel therapy for a few years and then transitioning into the role of working with the pediatric population or in the medical setting.
What accomplishment from your time at UCF are you most proud of?
During my time at UCF, I am most proud of my involvement as one of the founders of the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH) chapter on campus. Establishing the chapter was a collective effort driven by a shared passion for promoting diversity and inclusion within the field of speech-language pathology. In addition, I am proud of my clinical experience in the Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Program (ICAP) at UCF’s Aphasia House. My experience there was rewarding and helped shape my empathy and dedication as a clinician.
What did you love the most about your time at UCF?
During my time at UCF, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with unique and diverse populations as a graduate student clinician. UCF provided a rich and dynamic environment for learning and gaining hands-on experience in the field. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet and build lifelong friendships with many women in my cohort.
What was your favorite class, professor, or experience at CHPS, and why?
All of my professors have been incredible during my time at UCF, with one of them being Vicki Lewis [a former instructor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders]. My academic journey entailed taking numerous courses under her guidance, beginning from the undergraduate level and extending into my graduate studies. I had the pleasure of serving as her graduate assistant for multiple semesters as well. She is an incredible individual and speech-language pathologist. I thank her for creating a lasting impact on my academic and personal growth. I will be forever grateful for her dedication to the field and her students.