New Faces: Erica Smith

This article was a collaboration written by a few students. This article was written as part of the “New Faces” series that recognizes new staff members to the U32 Community.

 

During the summer of 2020, Erica was sitting at home, working on some online courses when she heard a rustling outside. Confused, she went to check it out. She found a bear shuffling through her trash. Not wanting the bear to spread trash, she grabbed her keys, and turned the car alarm on to scare the bear away. It worked. Erica was relieved that she didn’t have to clean up a big mess.

 

Erica’s current title is U-32’s new Speech Pathologist. She mostly works with people who have special communication needs; teaching kids how to learn to build sentence structure strategies and vocabulary. She finds her job to be super interesting, and never the same.

 

 

“I’m mostly interested in social communication, and how one student interacts with others as well,” she said, “so it may not look like me doing very much, but there’s actually a lot going on.”

 

 

Erica Grew up in Moncton VT, right in Addison County; and she graduated from UVM. “My closest neighbor was probably the bear that was outside my house or some chipmunks and squirrels,” she said.

 

Communication has been a theme in Erica’s life. Before becoming an official teacher, Erica worked in a bookstore. One time she had an issue with a customer, it could have been resolved with better communication skills.

 

During an interaction with that customer, they had a bit of a misunderstanding.  “So at that point, we were just yelling at each other, where I was thinking one thing and she was thinking another thing,” Erica said. “I was like, ‘we need to stop.’”

 

 

After her job as a bookstore clerk, she graduated and became a full time teacher working with students in school; following her original career choice to be a teacher. Once, while she was subbing in an elementary school classroom, she connected with the school’s Speech Pathologist. She loved what they were doing. She decided to go back to school with a new goal to become a Speech Pathologist. 

 

 

 

In her first job as an SLP, at a large school in southern Maryland, she worked with two students who challenged her. “That was pretty meaningful because I got to work with two amazing, amazing students,” said Erica.  “Which kind of helped to inform the style that I like to use.”

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