Continued and Simucase have joined forces with two universities to prepare future leaders from historically underrepresented groups for careers in the communication sciences and disorders fields.
Called IMPACT, this program provides formal mentoring to communication sciences students at Case Western Reserve University and Hampton University. The program started with 10 undergraduate fellows between the two universities in 2020 and will expand in the 2021-2022 school year through the partnership with Continued and Simucase.
“We are so thankful for the support provided by Continued and Simucase,” said Lauren Calandruccio, one of IMPACT’s program directors. “Without it, we wouldn't have the funds to keep this important program running.”
The goal of IMPACT is to increase diversity within the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology. IMPACT supports students through the process of applying to graduate programs and prepares them for success in their future endeavors.
The program provides students with access to diverse professionals in these fields, research training, and graduate school preparation. Participants also take part in a cultural empathy book club, writing workshops, and regular dinners with presenters from diverse backgrounds in the communication sciences and disorders field.
In addition to financial support, Continued and Simucase will host IMPACT events and provide mentorship, simulated learning opportunities, writing support, and paid internships for selected students.
“Partnering with IMPACT is a way we can significantly help students from marginalized backgrounds meet their academic and professional aspirations,” said Stacy Williams, PhD, founder and CEO of Simucase and COO of Continued. “We are excited to partner with this incredible program to support promising students who are the future of these fields.”
IMPACT is led by Lauren Calandruccio, PhD, the Louis D. Beaumont University Professor II and an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and Jessica Sullivan, PhD, assistant professor and interim department chair in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Hampton University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Virginia.
Ten new IMPACT fellows—five from each institution—have been selected for the 2021-2022 school year and will join six fellows from last year’s cohort, who are approaching graduation.
“Our first cohort of IMPACT fellows saw great success with getting accepted into graduate school, which confirmed that this program is needed and special,” said Sullivan of Hampton University.
Fellows are paired into “empowerment teams” from both universities to facilitate learning, teamwork, confidence, and friendship. This year’s program kicked off with a Zoom event to allow fellows from each institution to meet virtually.
“At Continued and Simucase, we always strive to prioritize diversity and inclusion, and we want to offer meaningful support to professionals, students, and team members from all backgrounds,” said Tony Perlak, CEO of LaCalle Group, the parent company of Continued and Simucase. “IMPACT is making a significant difference in the lives of its participants, and we are honored to be a part of it.”