Emily Shultz started her journey at UNH as a performance major. She has been playing the French horn for a large part of her life and wanted to continue music into college. Suddenly she became fascinated with the world of communication surrounding music; an interest in audiology began to consume her and after taking a class called Survey of Communication Disorders she knew she had struck something amazing. Pondering ideas of becoming a speech pathologist, Shultz thought it was an incredible idea that she could teach an individual to communicate in a way that no other medical professional could. She changed her major from Performance to Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). Shultz realized she was open to many opportunities, and the CSD major offered versatility; she could pursue many paths of study regarding her future. Whether it was in a school setting or a hospital, studying here at UNH would prepare her for that.
Shultz volunteered for a program called Seacoast Reads, a local implementation of the America Reads Challenge, where their mission is to help children increase their proficiency in reading and writing, build confidence, and create a love for reading. UNH places undergraduates in local schools for one-on-one reading and writing support. She went to Barrington Elementary School weekly to help a student who had trouble reading or was falling behind their classmates. “I planned ahead before heading there, and created lesson plans and brought games for the students. It was the best time of my week.” Shultz meet with her buddy twice a week, and continues to help children gain literacy through her volunteer work.
Shultz also became interested in feeding and swallowing disorders, an area that Professor Amy Plante has helped direct her toward. “Prof. Plante helped me reach out to the feeding and swallowing specialists in New Hampshire, which was extremely helpful.” Although Shultz could not study feeding and swallowing as an undergraduate, it is something she has considered studying in grad school. Prof. Plante’s class, Professional Issues, had also been eye opening for Shultz. “I’ve learned a lot about the logistics of this field of work in that class, and what it’s like to work in a hospital.
There are other influencers that Shultz acknowledges. Being the first one in her family to go to college, she said she was somewhat on her own in deciding what to study, but her mother has been a great inspiration. “My mother works as a hairdresser in a nursing home and her relationship and dedication to the residents is inspiring. She always makes their day.” As she reflects on her journey with Communication Sciences and Disorders Shultz says how working in this field will not only benefit others, but will also be beneficial to her help others.
Shultz encourages students coming into the major and others considering it to take full advantage of the opportunities UNH offers, such as volunteer opportunities like Seacoast Reads, and connecting with guest speakers like Mandy Harvey, a young singer-songwriter and motivational speaker who shares her love of music and performs despite a profound hearing loss, who inspired Shultz greatly. She continues to expand on her passions in both music and communication. When not volunteering or studying, Schultz spent her undergraduate days playing the French horn for the UNH symphony, and creating a music program called “Live Arts” that brings student musicians into the Paul Creative Arts Center to share their love of music.
Shultz has decided to stay on at UNH for graduate school, where she will be considering many different options in the communication and science disorders field. She hopes to work at first in a school setting, and then later in a hospital setting to continue her interest in feeding and swallowing disorders and their treatment.