By: Rebecca Cockerham, BA, TSHA Graduate Student Representative, April 2012 Communicologist
Volunteering. Just hearing the word brings visions of charity work or community service to most people; however, I have discovered that volunteering means a lot more than that. When I sat at my first Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) Executive Board (EB) meeting as the new Graduate Student Representative for TSHA, I sat wide-eyed and overwhelmed. I never realized the far-reaching scope of TSHA and that the seemingly superhuman people who sat before me were actually just normal and down-to-earth. I knew my position was unpaid, of course, but being a graduate student, a free meal was enticing payment.
Early on, I had no idea the other men and women on the Executive Board were volunteers as well. As I got to know each vice president and other EB members, I realized that they had found a way to balance spouses, children, full-time careers, and also their duties as an officer of TSHA. Those meetings helped me better understand my future profession as a whole and made me excited to be a part of the Association.
This summer, my position on the EB will end, yet I know I will continue to stay involved with my state Association. I have met some of the greatest mentors, peers, and colleagues during my time on the board, and the friendships I have gained will last forever. I wish to share that connection and sense of belonging that I now feel for the Association and the professions with other people. I hope that every member of TSHA has the opportunity to become involved through volunteer efforts.
One of the best lessons I learned while serving as the student representative is that EVERY voice can be heard and every opinion valued. I discovered that it does not matter the number of years of experience you have or how much knowledge you possess in a particular area. Volunteering just takes a desire to learn and a passion to serve. If you would like to become an active part of our state Association by volunteering, complete the volunteer form or contact TSHA by calling 888-SAY-TSHA. If you are a student and would like to apply for the position of Student EB Member, find two faculty members who would be willing to write letters of recommendation for you, update your resume, write a letter of interest, and complete the online application on the TSHA website at www.txsha.org. Return your completed packet before the May 31 deadline.
I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to provide a student prospective for the Association, and I am excited to see where my journey in TSHA will take me next.