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### Crafting a Future Speech-Language Pathologist through Hands-On Learning

(Jason Halley / University Photographer)

2024 Lt. Rawlins Merit Scholarship Recipients will be honored in the upcoming weeks, highlighting their achievements and narratives. This prestigious award at Chico State recognizes excellence in scholarship, extracurricular involvement, and exceptional academic and professional accomplishments.

Sierra Bowling, a student in Communication Sciences and Disorders graduating in ‘23, discovered her passion for speech-language pathology (SLP) during high school. Her decision to pursue this field was solidified through hands-on experiences in the CMSD program, particularly at the Clinic for Communication Disorders.

Reflecting on her transformative journey, Bowling expressed gratitude for the impactful practice sessions with clients, shaping her into the SLP she aspires to become. Not only excelling academically, but Bowling also dedicates her time to volunteering as a tutor and mentor, showcasing her leadership qualities both on campus and in the community.

Professor Kenyan Martin, impressed by Bowling’s motivation and dedication, foresees a bright future for her in the field of SLP, emphasizing her contributions to class discussions and her exemplary standards as a student.

Why Chico State?

Bowling’s decision to continue her education at Chico State and pursue the graduate program was influenced by the welcoming environment of the CMSD program and the strong sense of community she found there. The lasting friendships and support network she has built have made Chico State feel like home.

Significance of the Scholarship and Future Goals

Being awarded the Rawlins Merit Scholarship is a source of honor and support for Bowling on her journey to becoming an SLP. The financial assistance provided by the scholarship has relieved some of the burdens of graduate school, allowing her to focus on her academic and professional growth without the added stress of excessive loans.

Impactful Programs and Individuals

Bowling credits programs like CAVE and College Corps, along with the supportive CMSD faculty, for shaping her educational path and personal development. These experiences have not only enhanced her confidence but have also connected her with the Chico community, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose.

Hands-On Experience at Chico State

Through initiatives like the College Corps fellowship and participation in community outreach events, Bowling has gained valuable hands-on experience in areas such as education, climate action, and youth support. Her involvement in organizations like the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association has further enriched her understanding of the field and strengthened her ties within the community.

Almendra (Journalism, ‘11) is a bilingual content producer dedicated to storytelling and audience empowerment. With a background in editing and communications project management, she brings a wealth of experience to her work. As a proud alumna and former editor-in-chief of The Orion, she continues to inspire others through her contributions.