Class of 2019: Melanie Turner

Originally from Darien, CT, Melanie is graduating with a bachelor's degree in Speech Communication Disorders and a double-major in Spanish.


How did your journey bring you to Curry?

I started considering a career in speech pathology in high school. I was interested in the health professions, and as a singer, I was fascinated by the science of sound. I applied to UVA with the Curry School in mind, and have fallen in love with the field of speech pathology even more since I was admitted to the program my third year.


What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time while you've been here?

Working in Curry's NeuroVoice lab has been an exciting way to engage my learning in a deeper way. I have been fortunate to have the chance to assist on studies involving brain imaging, contribute to a project on glottal fry, and conduct my own study on voice quality terms used by singers. These experiences have fostered my passion for research and connected me to other students who are interested in advancing the field of communication sciences and disorders.


If you can, name one person at Curry who has made a special impact during your studies and how?

Dr. Nicholas Barone. In addition to teaching two of my classes, he served as my mentor for my independent study on voice quality terms. The opportunity to create a full-fledged study based on my own research question was a unique opportunity for which I am extremely grateful. Without Dr. Barone's support, I could not have successfully designed and implemented this project, and I certainly would not have presented at the national ASHA conference this past fall. He is generous with his time and knowledge, and I deeply appreciate his commitment to investing in undergraduate students who are interested in research.


What is one thing you learned here that surprised you?

I am continually surprised by the breadth and depth of the field of Speech Pathology. As a speech language pathologist, I could end up treating infants with swallowing disorders, young children with articulation disorders, adolescents who stutter, adult stroke victims with aphasia, older adults with neurodegenerative diseases...the list goes on and on! It's exciting to get a taste of each of these areas as an undergraduate, and I look forward to diving in more deeply when I go to graduate school.


What will you be doing next?

Next year I will be attending the University of Arizona to complete a Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology. I am grateful to UVA for preparing me so well for graduate school, and I look forward to all that is to come!