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Envisions Pioneering New Research to Help Bilingual Students Communicate More Efficiently

One of the biggest moments in life is when the first word is spoken. The achievement of this milestone was particularly significant for my brother, David, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome and did not say “Mom” until he was seven years old. With the help of frequent and intense speech and language interventions, my brother developed the ability to verbally communicate, which transformed from mere grunts to full words and eventually entire phrases. My experience growing up with a brother who has special needs motivates me to pursue graduate-level training and an eventual career in the field as a speech-language pathologist and researcher.

English is not my parents’ first language; consequently, I was usually the translator during IEP meetings and doctor’s appointments. Bearing the responsibility of translating for my family at a young age, I became frustrated that professionals were not equipped with the necessary training to meet the needs of my multicultural family. Although translating used to be an overwhelming responsibility for me, now it fuels my motivation to become a bilingual practitioner so I can help relieve some of the communication roadblocks that often burden multicultural families in the United States.

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Teachers College, Columbia University, will better position me to become an adaptive practitioner. As a first-generation Hispanic male, I can reflect on my family’s experiences, such as immigration, the language learning curve, and the difficulties accessing services because of language barriers. These experiences will not only provide a unique insight into realities that many clients face but also raise cultural awareness. This is not material that textbooks can teach, and equipping the future clinicians in my program with the understanding of this reality is crucial to progress cultural competency.

The clinical program, research, and community service opportunities at Teachers College will serve as my pillars to become a researcher, a leader of educational practice, and a professional who is ready to meet the needs of multicultural families. My experiences have taught me firsthand how our encounters with perceived disabilities help make us more compassionate, understanding members of society. Reflecting on the impact these encounters have had on me, I hope to make a change by pioneering new research strategies to help children, like David and bilingual students, communicate more efficiently so they may flourish in their lives. Through my boundless enthusiasm, I envision myself graduating and channeling my passion for making a difference not only in individual lives but also the community at large through Teachers College, Columbia University.

We are proud to announce Daniel Campollo is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • As a former teammate of Daniel’s, I believe he has the capabilities necessary for him to exceed at the Teacher’s College – but more importantly, I believe he is equipped with the compassion to helping others that are often marginalized and underrepresented in many, if not all facets of society. Compassion is learned, experienced, and reciprocated – Daniel has these qualities.

  • What a noble aim, and so wonderfully written too. Wish you nothing but the best as you strive towards your goal, Daniel! 🙂

  • I’ve known Daniel for many years now and it has been such an honor to not only know him but to be his friend. His character is truly admirable and never goes unnoticed. He is a very driven person with such big dreams and a fire behind his passion. I can’t fhink of anyone more deserving than him to receive this scholarship.

  • I can’t think of anyone that would do better things with this scholarship! I know that Daniel will make the most of this scholarship if it is rewarded to him. His dedication and passion for this field is obvious to see from just this article. Fortunately, I also have the pleasure of knowing Daniel in person. I can attest to the fact that Daniel is just as caring and passionate as he sounds in this article, if not even more so in person.
    I would hate for the financial burden of graduate school to stop Daniel from pursuing his dream of becoming a speech language pathologist. The field of SLP would truely be at a disadvantage if Daniel does not have the opportunity to become part of it. He is almost there. All he needs is a little help with funding graduate school. This scholarship will be of great help to Daniel.

  • Seeing Daniel openly write about his experiences and the necessary change needed in education speaks a lot about the obstacles he has overcome. Although I do not know Daniel reading his essay has moved me. Education is the driving force of the United States and seeing how this individual wants to tackle problems head-on authenticates his character, intelligence, and level of drive.

    I can truly see this individual going as far as he wants, especially because of the grit that resulted from his upbringing. I see no limit for this individual and sponsoring this student will truly help contribute to making education and the U.S better than it has been.

  • A great read! Being Hispanic myself, I understand the need for bilingual speech therapists in the field. Although I have no experience with speech therapy specifically, I can recall many, many times throughout my life where there was a language barrier between my family (who learned English as a second language) and the person they were trying to communicate with. I have been the translator in these situations, just as Daniel has. This makes me thrilled to know that there is a student as hard working as Daniel that is trying to alleviate the overlooked issues in society, such as this one. Please help Daniel ignite his journey to becoming an SLP!

  • Daniel’s experiences and commitment speaks volumes about his character. In today’s age, we are often left ignoring those in need, especially communities who have been historically marginalized. Students like Daniel remind me that there is plenty of work to be done, and with students like him there will be solutions.

    Someone of his talent and dedication will truly serve the community in ways many of us have been waiting for. Daniel will be attending one of the best universities in the U.S in a high-need field. An equation like this spells out successful on levels unfathomable. it is clear that Daniel is BY FAR THE MOST deserving one of this scholarship.

    Granting this individual this scholarship will truly leave a fulfilled goal in the scholarship’s committee job. If picked, I have no doubt in my mind that Daniel would be the greatest representation of this scholarship and would make your company proud.

  • What an inspirational article!
    The kind of person you are can make or break your career as a speech pathologist. One thing that stands out to me about Daniel is his extreme level of patience which is essential in his field. When most people would become frustrated with a situation, Daniel is always the one to stick around and help. I have seen people walk away from situations when they seem helpless, but Daniel always sticks around. He truely has a passion and drive to help people, no matter what or how long it takes.
    With Columbia’s extreme tuition cost plus the cost of living in NYC, this graduate program is almost impossible to fund without scholarships. Daniel is very deserving of this scholarship and I hope you will see this from reading his article!

  • Growing up I have seen Daniel progress from a young, respectful, and ambitious man into a gentleman who is fulfilling all of his dreams and desires. It is an extreme honor to be related to Dan and to see how profound his level of aspirations are is truly admirable. This individual deserves this scholarship more than anyone else because of his relentless spirit to aid those in need. I fully support Daniel in his professional and academic endeavors and this scholarship will truly help him in his first steps in changing lives.

  • Personally knowing Daniel for the past couple of years has let me see what kind of person he truly is. He is someone that the field of speech path would be lucky to have. I believe that he should be awarded this scholarship so that he can help pay for his tuition at teachers college. This scholarship will help him be embark on his journey to becoming a great speech pathologist that everyone feels comfortable around.

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