Keynote Speaker – Afternoon Ceremony
Everyone’s journey at Southern is unique. For Jacqueline Brown, a current doctoral graduate student, her collegiate journey began in 2012, and is still continuing. After joining the U.S. Navy in 2007, Brown chose to separate herself from the military to pursue another lifelong passion: her education. “I knew before going into the military that I wanted to go to school,” she said.
Upon moving to Connecticut, Brown heard about the benefits and support Southern provides for veterans. “I went to campus to look around,” she said, “and I thought it was a great campus because there was a lot of diversity.”
While her initial focus was on general psychology, she later realized her interest in research while taking a psychology course taught by Dr. Julia Irwin. She was interested in Dr. Irwin’s work in speech perception and language development.
Brown currently holds three degrees from Southern: Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2014), Master of Arts in Psychology (2015), and Master of Science in Communications Disorders (2018). She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education Degree in Education Leadership at Southern.
One of the reasons why Brown decided to receive all her degrees from Southern was due to the campus diversity. “I love Southern,” she said. “I always felt a strong sense of community from the people I got to know there. I was always able to find people who look like me and people who understood me.”
As the daughter of immigrants from El Salvador, Brown only spoke Spanish as a child and did not speak English fluently until she was in the second grade. Brown spent her primary school years moving back and forth between the U.S. and El Salvador. With all the travel, her primary schooling was nontraditional. According to Brown, the professors at Southern were supportive and helped fill in the gaps in her education. “Even the professor who didn’t share my cultural background were still sensitive and understanding,” she said.
Jacqueline started her career in speech at Milford Public Schools and worked with school age children. Recently, she worked for Yale New Haven Health (YNHH) where she covered neurological outpatient clinic, pediatric outpatient clinic, acute care, and acute rehabilitation. While working with a diverse set of patients, Jacqueline is most passionate about motor speech disorders and treatment of swallowing disorders. Within the general aspects of her clinical skills, Jacqueline is dedicated to educating her patients and their families. She has led work to improve the model of stroke education within YNHH with a research team in acute rehab. Her goal is to continue this work and to provide culturally sensitive resources to patients and their families. This effort, she hopes, will close the inequality gap in healthcare.
Along with her doctoral program at Southern, Brown is currently the Director of the Speech-Language Pathology Program at the University of New Haven—a new program at the university. Regarding her future, Brown plans to continue in academia.