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Senior Profile - Megan Orcutt

Megan OrcuttAfter forging her own path, senior Megan Orcutt is striving to help future bearcats.

The psychology major and linguistics minor came to Binghamton University looking to become a physician's assistant, but after some exploration and networking, she found her true calling in speech pathology. Though Binghamton doesn't have an official program, Orcutt turned to the resources around her to help achieve success.

"I realized that since I didn't have a direct route, I had to be competitive in different ways," Orcutt said.

Through a college introductory course, Orcutt was exposed to the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. She was able to create a resource for herself through LinkedIn, which she used as a platform to make connections and gain informational interviews with alumni.

Orcutt paid a visit to Harpur Academic Advising, where she found out about classes that would be beneficial to take for a student interested in career pathology, especially ones that students wouldn't necessarily recognize on their own, such as sign language.

After three semesters of sign language, Orcutt has become more aware of the culture that encompasses hard of hearing or deaf individuals. For Ocurtt, becoming familiar with "deaf culture" has been an invaluable experience.

"Deaf people have their own close knit community," Orcutt said. "There's an etiquette and you have to recognize that deaf people are extremely proud of being deaf and celebrate it. It's a different perspective and for a speech pathologist I'm glad that I learned how to be respectful of their culture."

Orcutt also familiarized herself with the Career Development Centralized Internship Program (CDCI) in order to learn about local opportunities available that would broaden her scope of experience. Through CDCI, she spent a semester her senior year as a speech therapy intern at the Family Enrichment Network of Johnson City.

"I really love the moment when I see progress. I'll be working on something over and over again, and that moment when the child finally gets it, that 'a-ha' moment is what makes me know that I'm doing something right," Orcutt said.

Orcutt has also gained hands-on experience at the Institute for Child Development (ICD) on campus.

"A lot of people think the ICD is only for psychology majors, but anyone can work there and you get to actually work with children," Orcutt said. "The children are strictly regimented in terms of what they're doing. It's intervention and treatment in a learning atmosphere. You have sessions where you teach something like academics, or communication, which would be the more speech centered side of things."

Now a senior peer advisor working for the Fleishman Center, Orcutt is putting the final touches on a project she has been working on with the center since her freshman year.

"I wanted to make something that would help students from now on, so I made a speech pathology pamphlet," Orcutt said. "It includes statistics on speech pathologists' pay and how to utilize the resources at Binghamton. There are some inside tips on how to get into graduate school, such as what classes to take that students might now know would be beneficial to this career, like sign language."

In the fall, Orcutt will be starting her master's in speech language pathology through the communication disorders department at Syracuse University, where she will be catching up on prerequisites, shadowing speech pathologists and doing hands-on clinical work. She hopes to one day work with either children with autism and other developmental delays or deaf children.

Orcutt says that although her road to success was not clearly defined, she is grateful for the challenge.

"I think that now, I have an edge. I'm going to stand out because I showed initiative and I learned how dedicated and determined I am."

-By Amanda Glodowski