Interview with MS SLP second year student Dana Nieves

I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to chat with second year MS SLP graduate student, Dana Nieves.

When you were 10 years old, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A pediatrician or a teacher. I only learned about Speech-Language Pathology after my undergraduate studies. In my work after College, I felt it was important that the children I worked with saw someone that looked like them. Representation is so important and there is a lack of awareness and accessibility to get into the field of Speech-Language Pathology.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I grew up in Long Island, New York. I am one of a triplet and always had a passion for working with children. For my undergraduate program, I studied Education at Howard University, a historically black college university. 

After graduation, I worked as a teacher in Special Education and as a Registered Behavior Technician in an ABA practice. It was in these settings that I learned about Speech-Language Pathology. I was able to complete the pre-requisite courses for the MS SLP Program at the University of Maryland while I was working.

Why did you chose Northeastern for your graduate studies?

I actually was accepted here for my Undergraduate Studies, but the schedule did not work. It feels like a full circle moment being here for my Graduate Program since I loved touring this college so much! 

After I interviewed with Dr. Zimmerman, I knew the program was a match for me given my interest in Pediatric Dysphagia.

What have been some of the challenges moving to a new city?

Moving to Boston, any new city, is a challenge. I think finding a group of students in the program that have similar interests and backgrounds has been a great support.

What have you learned about yourself during your Graduate Program of Studies?

I have learned a lot about how to better my time management skills, how to be adaptable and take care of my mental health. To believe in myself and be confident in my clinical skills.

What is your area of interest in the field of Speech-Language Pathology?

Definitely pediatrics. I really enjoyed my experiences in the outpatient medical setting, working at Boston Children’s Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance. I’ve been truly grateful for the opportunities to work with a such a vast range of clients and disorders.  

You are the co-President of the Northeastern Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NUSSLHA). Tell us about this role.

It has been great to connect and support both the second year and first cohort of students enrolled in the program. We have hosted a few social and fundraising events thus far, including a fun outing at the Lawn on D, a Clinical Fellowship (CF) lecture with several alum sharing their experiences and our walk to end Alzheimer’s fundraiser!

Dana and second year MS SLP student Joanna Lubin at the Lawn on D street.
Dana with a group of NUSSLHA students at the Walk for Alzheimer’s event.

What is your favorite thing about Boston?

Whenever I move to a new city, I really enjoy exploring the food scene. So far, my favorite restaurant has been Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen. They have some great soul food! 

Tell us what you like to do when you are not in class or at your clinical placement.

I like hiking. There are great trails here in the Blue Hills near Boston and great hiking in New Hampshire. I also enjoy going to the movies and working out in my free time! Best movie this year was “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Dana with friends on the first day of the fall semester 2022

Thanks Dana! Best of luck for the spring semester!