Her heart pounds as she waits for the lights to come on and the music to start. She dances across the floor, not missing a beat. The crowd roars.
Southmoreland alumni, Paige McLaughlin, began dancing when she was only 2 years old. Little did she know she would someday incorporate her childhood passion into her future.
Graduating from Southmoreland in 2016, McLaughlin continued her education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Although she changed her mind many times, it wasn’t until halfway through her freshman year at IUP that she realized she wanted to major in speech pathology.
“After deciding this particular path, it took me another year to decide I wanted to pursue Audiology after my undergrad,” McLaughlin said.
Something was still missing though.
“I realized that she still wanted to study dance and decided to work toward a dual degree in speech language pathology and dance with a concentration in deaf studies,” McLaughlin said.
As she finishes up her junior year at IUP, McLaughlin shares memorable opportunities that she was able to experience this far in her journey.
“I got to perform a military appreciation piece with my company,” McLaughlin said, “There were a lot of members in the audience that were veterans, and it was a very humbling opportunity to be able to talk to them about their life experiences and how they felt we portrayed them.”
McLaughlin enjoys taking part in her community as well. She is a part of an organization called National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, and recently, she shares a memorable experience that she took part in with NSSLHA.
“We just finished a benefit dinner called “Spaghetti for Smiles,” and our proceeds went to Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgery free of charge for children around the world who are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate,” said McLaughlin. “It was an incredible experience to see so many members of the Indiana community come together for a good cause.”
After talking to her further in regards to her future, McLaughlin said she had no idea what she wanted to do when she went to college.
“I changed my mind so many times,” McLaughlin said. “It wasn’t until halfway through freshman year that I realized I wanted to major in speech pathology, and then it took me another year to decide I wanted to pursue audiology after my undergrad.”
McLaughlin hopes to attend Temple University after she completes her undergraduate studies to get her PhD in audiology with a focus on cochlear implants.
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