A total of 778 health care professionals will graduate this month from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in six separate ceremonies in Memphis and one in Knoxville. The graduates include 122 from the College of Dentistry, 31 from the College of Graduate Health Sciences, 242 from the College of Health Professions, 160 from the College of Medicine, 64 from the College of Nursing, and 159 from the College of Pharmacy.
Cailin Shanahan is among those graduates. She will graduate from the UTHSC College of Health Professions Doctor of Audiology program, which is located on the UT Knoxville campus.
“I knew specifically going into graduate school that I wanted to work with the pediatric population, and I knew I wanted a program that had a strong clinical foundation in both adult and pediatrics, as well as specialty clinics,” Shanahan said. “So I really wanted a program that was going to give me that clinical basis from the beginning, and UTHSC was one of the only places that had that opportunity.”
Shanahan, who was diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of 4, knew early on that she wanted to work in the profession that helped her as a child and until her adulthood.
“I received treatment from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia by a fantastic audiologist named Nancy Whitham,” Shanahan said. “She supported me and my family with so much care that I knew very early on that I wanted to give back to children like me, to be just like her.”
Since UTHSC’s program allows students to participate in a summer externship, Shanahan was able to do a 10-week rotation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the same hospital where she had received treatment.
“I have a hearing aid in each ear and can empathize with those patients in a way that other audiologists who haven’t gone through those experiences, can’t,” Shanahan said. “I know what it’s like to have to take care of your hearing aids and have to learn to be responsible for them and advocate for yourself. I know what equipment they need and how difficult it can be at school. It really has made a world of a difference to be able to connect and empathize with patients and their families.”
She credits the clinical opportunity provided by UTHSC’s Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in their campus pediatric clinics, her externship placements in pediatric hospitals, and her personal experiences, in propelling her to secure employment before graduation at the Boston Children’s Hospital, where she’s been doing a clinical residency fellowship.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get here without the clinical opportunity provided by UT,” said Shanahan. “To be able to have a children’s hospital on my resume before actually coming into a fourth-year opportunity was definitely incredible and moved me forward in the line of applicants.”
The 2017 commencement ceremonies will take place at the following locations:
The College of Pharmacy
May 5: 2 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre
The College of Graduate Health Sciences
May 15: 11 a.m. at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts and Education
The College of Dentistry
May 18: 10:30 a.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
The College of Nursing
May 18: 2 p.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
The College of Health Professions
May 26: 1:30 p.m. at the Cook Convention Center Grand Ballroom
May 11: 11 a.m. Alumni Memorial Building, Cox Auditorium Knoxville, TN
The College of Medicine
May 26: 9:30 a.m. at the Cook Convention Center Grand Ballroom