How Did an Ivy League Scientist End Up Here?



A long, long time ago, a teenager with a very impressive resume traveled 3000 miles from home, to go to one of the most competitive universities in the nation. She started the path towards an Aquatic Biology major immediately taking Chemistry, Biology, Calculus. One day after her last final of her freshman year, her father had a massive stroke.

After an extremely long and painful summer, she returned to the university and continued her studies. By the end of her second year, however, she was considering getting her secondary school teaching credential during her undergraduate education. This program would requie many hours of student teaching that would make the lab classes for Aquatic Biology all but impossible. So, she switched her major to Biology.

At the end of four years of university, she had a Biology degree and a teaching credential.

At the end of one horrendous year of high-school science teaching, she fled the profession screaming and crying (literally). She did not know what to do with her life. She considered going to grad school and possibly pursing a PhD in a biology or environmental science field. Her mother, however, remember how much she had enjoyed sign language as a child. Her mother remembered that the speech therapist that had worked with her father had a big book of sign language in her therapy room. Her mother said to check out a field that this now young woman had never really heard of before.

And so, with zero knowledge about the field, she applied to grad school in speech-language pathology. The program looked at her impressive ivy league transcript and accepted her, even though she obviously had no idea of what she was getting into. And she started the program that fall. Completely and utterly clueless.

There is obviously much more to this story in the aftermath of that fateful decision, but that is a story for another day. This naïve young woman was obviously and completely God-led into a field she had never heard of and accepted into a competitive program that she didn’t even realize was selective.

I look back on my own story and I am humbled and amazed by how a terrible situation (teaching high school biology) became the path towards an amazing adventure and career.

How about you? Do you have an amazing story of accidentally landing into your profession?

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  1. It’s so important to look back our our lives and take stock of how we got to where we are today! Clearly, your path was inspired and more importantly you recognize it! I look forward to your next installment.

  2. Yes! I was like you landed in Speech Language Pathology program without a clue. I am not sure when fate stepped in, but I am grateful. After many years studying German and French as well as neurobiology and psychology I had a conversation with a classmate about Speech Language Pathologist- something I knew nothing about. I observed with another classmate’s mom and fell in love. I quickly applied for Grad school (as I was in my last semester of my undergrad career) and I was accepted in! I, too, did not realize what a competitive program I had entered without problems. I have been extremely blessed to be in a profession I love!!

  3. Elizabeth Harding says:

    I wanted to be a pediatrician, but my father planned to pay for my college education, and I didn’t want to take advantage of him. I wasn’t interested in another career path. I signed on as an education major because, as an education major, I could justify taking just about any class the college offered. My sophomore year, I signed up for what I though was a theatre class. It was actually the one and only speech pathology class that my college offered (I had never even heard of speech pathology.) and I was also the one and only person in a class of 64 students who passed the class…..with an A. I am NOT that bright and I loved every minute of it, so I knew I had found my calling. My professor encouraged me to major in speech pathology and helped me transfer to a college that offered the major. Because of all the unexpected twists and turns my life has taken, speech pathology has been the perfect career for me. And I still love it. I am very thankful the Lord led me in this direction.

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