Xavier grad student and alum granted scholarship, chosen to serve as the student representative for the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association (LSLHA).

August 13, 2020

Xavierites embody excellence in many ways. Recently, Xavier graduate student and alum Maya Leslie has displayed her prodigy. Maya was recently accepted into the 2020-2021 Cohort for the Interprofessional Preparation for Related Services Personnel Grant Scholarship. Only 10 students from around the state are accepted each year in the scholarship program. She was also selected as the student representative for the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association (LSLHA).

Maya Leslie has a dream to become a pediatric acute rehabilitation specialist who works with kids who require speech therapy. She began as an education major with a speech minor, but she found herself drawn to working more directly with kids. As an undergraduate, she even acted as a student-teacher. 

Maya earned her undergraduate degree in speech pathology at Xavier and loved her experiences so much that she decided to pursue her graduate studies at Xavier. Maya says that for her, Xavier’s history as an HBCU translated to a sense of community and encouragement among the students and staff that extends beyond the classroom. 

“Xavier pushes you to be the best… The professors foster a way for you to be great while offering great support. They are like mentors and a family. They make you feel at home.” Maya said about her decision to continue her education at Xavier. 

Maya’s role as the student representative for the LSLHA is to serve as a liaison between speech pathology and idealogy students across Louisiana. It is her duty to submit student reports and other information for the LSLHA newsletter and website. This is not Maya’s first time in an administrative role, having been on several committees and executive boards during her time at Xavier, and she is excited about the new challenge. 

The Interpforessional Preparation for Related Services Personnel Services is a project funded partially by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, with LSU Health Sciences Center School of Allied Health Professionals acting as a liaison for scholarship recipients. 

The scholarship program focuses on training personnel in interprofessional evaluation and management of school-age children with disabilities presenting with high-intensity needs. It supports the need for highly trained personnel in much-need disciplines that are included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 

Maya’s selection to the cohort means being able to fund the rest of her education, which helps lessen the pressure as she completes graduate school. Maya is one of 10 students chosen for the 2020-2021 cohort.

Through the program, recipients receive scholarly support in the form of full tuition and fees for three semesters of graduate work, which covers approximately $15,300.  Scholars who receive funding agree to work in special education or related services for two (2) years for each year of support they receive. They also must complete a shared online course of study, attend seminars, and participate in coordinated field experiences. 

For Maya, the best aspect of the program is access to additional training, great opportunities to expand a potential career network, a chance to develop clinical knowledge, and the ability to treat a wide variety of high-profile cases under the guidance of high-level professionals in her field. 

“By investing in your students’ professionalisms and development, this program prepares them to become better professionals when working with vulnerable populations.  It allows our students to exemplify the grand challenge of our motto of ‘being just and humane,’” said Dr. Camellia Okpodu, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier, “This program supports them financially and provides them with seminars and other professional development opportunities.  It gives them foundational financial support so they can fully focus on their professional goals of becoming a better professional.  This is the type of financial assistance program that is a win-win for everyone involved.”

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