Student Success

Elizabeth Marsden

Conway, AR
PMC in Advanced School-Based Speech-Language Pathology

Elizabeth Marsden

“It has been a while since I took classes or completed any type of education or higher learning. I have been working and having a family. I feared if I could study and do papers. Though it is a challenge to balance work, home, and school, I have learned a lot, and that was the whole goal. I was nervous how it would go, but I am doing really well. If I put in good effort, I can get good results.”

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Elizabeth Marsden lives in Conway, Arkansas, with her husband and two children. She moved from northeast to central Arkansas for graduate school at the University of Central Arkansas and has been practicing as a speech language pathologist for 13 years. She previously worked at a private therapy clinic and currently works in an elementary school with kindergarten through fourth grade students.

Marsden is happy with her current position, as she has two young children. She enjoys working in their school and having the same schedule but sees herself in a higher position as an adjunct faculty or in a supervisory role once her kids are older. This quest for more knowledge in the SLP field, and desire to be a good example to her kids by showing them that you can do what you set your mind to, inspired her to pursue higher education.

Marsden heard about the Post-Master’s Certificate in Advanced School-Based Speech-Language Pathology through an email. It was a new program that she had never heard about and was interested in learning more. After attending a virtual information meeting and discussing it with her mom – who she always asks for advice – she decided to apply because the classes and areas of focus for the program were of interest to her, and she wanted to gain more insight to apply to her practice.

The program offers two classes in the fall, two in the spring, and one during the first part of summer. After enrolling in two classes this past fall, Marsden has already learned a lot.

 “I try to put in motion what I am learning towards my job and the kids I serve,” Marsden said. “I’m applying the knowledge I have learned to approach the goals of my students.”

For one of her classes, Literature for Learning in Educational Settings, students utilized the university’s paid access to Simucase, which provides videos and evaluations of real people and therapy. They had an in-depth assignment that walked them through the entire process, learn how to model, and see real world applications.

She is appreciative of the online option being available, as only online classes would work at this stage of her life.

“Now with a full-time job and family, there would be no way I could do this if it were not online, as I would not have the time,” she said. “Even if it was offered at night, my kids are too young.”

The online aspect of the program does not impact her ability to utilize campus resources or communicate with her professors and classmates. In her first class, she had to locate the university resources for a scavenger hunt-type assignment. She acknowledges that it is great to have access and she uses the library for research articles and interlibrary loans. Professors are responsive to emails and are available for calls during certain hours. There is a sense of community in her classes, as the same students are in each of her classes, and they have weekly discussion boards and video posts. 

Marsden recommends the program to others, especially to other school-setting SLPs.

“If you are curious about the program, ask more questions and get more information,” she said. “Take a leap of faith and go for it.”

 She describes her experience in the program as challenging, enlightening, and rewarding.

“It has been a while since I took classes or completed any type of education or higher learning,” she said. “I have been working and having a family. I feared if I could study and do papers. Though it is a challenge to balance work, home, and school, I have learned a lot, and that was the whole goal. I was nervous how it would go, but I am doing really well. If I put in good effort, I can get good results.”

Upon completion of the Certificate, she intends to spend one more year to earn her Educational Specialist degree.