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Speechie Spotlight 2…

March 28, 2017

This week’s SLP student in the spotlight is Sara Laughton. Read on and check back often to find out about the wonderful ladies and gentlemen that make up the class of 2018!

Sara Laughton
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta  
Undergrad Degree:

BSc General with Distinction

Psychology Major and Biological Sciences Minor

University of Alberta, 2016

Interests & Hobbies:

Cats, Eating (especially cheese), Sleeping, Hiking, Music, Singing…

Favourite thing about Edmonton:

Edmonton Folk Music Festival ❤

Why did you decide to go into SLP?


Actually, my mom suggested it when I was about 15. She works with Speech-Language Pathologists in her career and thought it was a good fit for my interests and personality. I was a choir kid and I loved singing and singing in different languages, so it fit well with my interests in the vocal mechanism and speech sounds. I, being 15 and stupid, did not listen to my mom and decided I wanted to go into veterinary medicine because I love animals more than humans most days. I began my degree with vet med in mind, but discovered I liked cuddling cats, not poking them with needles. So… about 7 years after my mom’s original suggestion, I changed my degree focus and set off to pursue speech.


Previous research or volunteer experience?


I volunteered as a conversation partner at the Glenrose Hospital for two years. I partnered one-on-one with a client with global aphasia and I helped out in a functional language group for clients with aphasia. I also volunteered as a conversation partner and audience member at the Institute of Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) with several of my S-LP classmates!


I got involved in research in the psychology department as part of my degree. At the UofA, psychology students have amazing opportunities to get hands on RA experience by taking PSYCO 496/498. I worked with Drs Christina Gagné and Thomas Spalding in the Complex Cognition lab. We mainly nerded out on psycholinguistics and compound nouns. Through ISTAR, I got a summer RA position with Dr Deryk Beal in his Neurodevelopmental Speech Disorders lab where I learned a LOT about neuroimaging, genetics, and stuttering.


How did you find out you were accepted into the program?


I was stupid and signed up for GradCafe to get application tips… but that turned into obsessively checking to see when acceptances were going out. Two days before my 25th birthday I signed on to GradCafe and saw that some people had received their acceptances… so I went and checked my email and THERE IT WAS! It was one of my happiest moments ever.


Hardest part of the program so far?


I’m a perfectionist when it comes to submitted course work… and I have had to learn to let perfection go. It has been quite the learning process.


Favourite part of the program so far?


Everyone I get to be around all day. All of my classmates and instructors are amazing, beautiful people, and I am excited to be at school every day.


What do you wish you had known before entering the program?


I had a lot of self-doubts about my ability to maintain my mental health with the intensive nature of this program. I wish I had known how supportive and collaborative this experience would be. Everyone goes out of their way to help each other and share materials and it has kept me healthy.


Fun Fact:


I love to name inanimate objects in my life. My car is named Carl.



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