Creating a Better Tomorrow

November 10, 2023
Swinita Shah Graduation

Less than three years ago, the entire world shut down. With this came the closure of businesses, governments, and institutions. But this wouldn’t stop Baylor University alumna Swinita Shah from reaching her goals.

Shah had originally applied to Baylor’s Online Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders program right before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many would have skipped on the opportunity given world circumstances, Shah saw this as a chance to further her education online while also working as a Speech Pathology Assistant in her hometown of Baltimore City, Maryland.

“Baylor was one of the few schools in the nation at the time offering part-time online options, and that really caught my eye,” she said. “And then once I met some of the faculty members during the application process, I knew Baylor was the right choice for me.”

During her time as a Baylor student, Shah describes how much support and appreciation she received from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Going into it, I was nervous that I might not have that support because it's an online program. And from my past experiences, professors tend to only care about the time that you spend in class, and they don't really know about what's going on past that. But to my surprise, our professors were very supportive and understanding, which helped a lot, especially during the tough times.”

Shah has managed to keep those connections alive to this day. “I’m still in contact with my former professors, such as Professor Stephanie Lebsack. She's a Baylor alum as well. So, it's nice to have those types of individuals helping you throughout your career.”

Joining the Baylor CSD program, Shah hoped to create a tomorrow where individuals like her sister can have a place to comfortably learn and use language in an environment that supports and protects them.

“I have an older sister with Down Syndrome, and I remember early on in my childhood how she wouldn’t say my name, and we wouldn’t really talk,” she recalled. “My parents had been taking her to speech therapy for as long as I've been alive. I think I was 10 or 11 when she finally said my name, and I knew at that moment that's what I wanted to devote my life’s work to. I want someone to feel the excitement I felt because I've seen the impact a speech therapist can have on a family.”

After graduating from the Baylor CSD program in August 2022, Shah now practices at her own clinic where she sees individuals of all ages. She has even engaged more broadly with her community by taking special calls at a nearby outpatient clinic that serves adults in a medical day program.

“I know the struggles a family faces when someone has delayed communication abilities. That’s why I started my own private practice. I wanted a place where I can help people and families that come from various socioeconomic standpoints.”