Q&A with Communication Sciences and Disorders Student Bethany Neubert
Bethany Neubert, a Communication Science and Disorders (CSD) graduate student, shares about her experiences at Baylor University’s Camp Success, an intense language and literacy intervention program held each summer and made possible by a partnership between Baylor University and Waco Scottish Rite. Bethany has a unique relationship with Camp Success—she is now one of only a handful of people who have attended both as a camper and as a clinician.
How did you first become interested in Speech Pathology at Baylor?
Originally, I was a journalism major because I love writing, but I wanted to be in a place where I could help others more directly. I felt the need to pour into others one-on-one. Speech Pathology had caught my eye because as a kid I had gone to Camp Success, an intensive language and literacy program for school-aged children at Baylor. After talking to different faculty, I decided to make the switch. I made that decision sophomore year, and I haven’t regretted it since!
Tell us about how your experience at Camp Success as a child impacted your more recent experience as a clinician.
I was able to have more perspective on Camp Success in the midst of long days. I knew that I was making a difference in children’s lives because it made a difference in mine. In 2008, I went to Camp Success, and I was far below a second-grade reading level. In that one summer, I jumped three grades above where I was supposed to be— Camp Success drastically changed my academic experience. Looking back now, I’ve realized if I had never learned and developed the skills from those four weeks like I did, I would have never been where I am today.
As a clinician, what did the preparation for working at Camp Success look like for you?
Preparing for Camp Success took a lot of time, work, and energy, but our incredible program provided us with plenty of resources. At the beginning, clinicians were given a thick binder full of different methods and ideas to implement, so the program equipped me with the tools I needed to prepare best for my clients. I would basically work on materials, themes, and costumes from the time I got home until the time I went to sleep for the next day. Every week was a different theme for the clients. Camp Success put an emphasis on every lesson plan surrounding the theme, down to vocabulary cards and the books we read. When you’re in the third grade, you don’t necessarily want to go to three hours a day of literacy. Adding a theme can really make it fun, and that was one of our main jobs.
How will you take what you’ve learned from your time at Camp Success and apply it to your professional life?
There is so much to apply, whether I work in a school setting or not. I’ve grown in confidence and competence in working with a school-aged population. The level of preparation, time management, and work ethic that went into being a clinician during Camp Success has prepared me not only for my career, but also for other semesters of clinic at Baylor. Even right now, there are skills from Camp Success I am applying to my current clinic. The intensity of the program truly set the stage for the standard of excellence I want to bring into my time in graduate school and beyond. Camp Success has prepared me for my future career by solidifying who I am as a clinician and building my confidence in leading children through therapy.
Do you have any final thoughts about Camp Success, CSD, or Baylor?
It’s easy to view school as just school, but this program is so much more than that. Yes, this is just a clinical placement for me and yes, there is a grade I’ll get, but I’ve learned there is so much more, especially being on both sides of Camp Success. We are in the active process of changing people’s lives and making a difference. When I was in Camp Success, if my clinician had only cared about their grade, then I don’t know where I would be now.
It has been a sweet reminder throughout my time in the program to remember that communication is so fundamental to a successful life. In this department, we have the opportunity to facilitate and grow communication in children across the board. Being in this position is such an honor and blessing, but I’ve learned it doesn’t come without hard work. The program is tough, but rightfully so because we are learning important skills. If it wasn’t challenging, we wouldn’t be learning the skills to impact clients.