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Quick Facts

  • 5 - Number of faculty members receiving FLASHA's "Honors of the Association Award" (statewide)
  • 248 - Number of bachelor's degrees awarded in 2015-16
  • 81 - Number of master's degrees awarded in 2015-16
  • ~2,000 - Number of clients served by the Communication Disorders Clinic in 2015-16
  • 11 - Number of faculty members who are fellows of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Mailing Address

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 162215
4364 Scorpius Drive
Orlando, FL 32816-2215

Phone: 407-823-4798
Fax: 407-823-4816

Alumni Spotlight: Christine Carmichael '01 '03

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Getting to Know:
Chris Carmichael


Christine Carmichael

What do you do for fun? I'm a beach girl at heart so anything coastal. I also enjoy cooking, landscaping and other home modification projects.

What makes you laugh out loud? My dogs - they're very entertaining to watch! I have 5 rescue canines.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I want to run an animal rescue when I retire.

What is the last thing you Googled? A recipe for black bean soup. I recently discovered health and wellness and constantly search for healthy meals.

If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be? Life's Unpredictable Path

What has been the best meal of your life so far?  A celebratory meal at Ruth's Chris Steak House after I graduated with my doctorate.

What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life? How much time do you have?

What is the happiest and/or proudest moment of your life? Watching our students graduate and sharing in their joy of achievement.

What is your favorite quote? "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams - live the life you've imagined" - Henry David Thoreau

If you were on an island and you could only bring 3 things, what would you bring? Thinking in terms of survival: a fire starter/igniter, a knife, a fishing net

What superhero would you be and why? Jamie Madrox ("Multiple Man") of the X-Men who possesses the mutant ability to duplicate himself. I often think I could get a lot more done if I could clone myself!

What has been your favorite city or country to visit? I completely relax and have fun in Key West.

What is the last book you read?  "Shaken" by Tim Tebow

What's the most important piece of advice you would give to your fellow Knights? You can do and be anything you want with "sticktuitiveness" (persistence)!

It's not just the stars at night that are big and bright in Texas. Alumna Chris Carmichael, Ph.D., CCC-SLP grew up in Orlando, but is making a name for
herself as a professor at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio.

By Camille Murawski '98

Some UCF students know exactly what they want to study when they become a Knight. Others, like Chris Carmichael '01 '03, take a longer path to their dream job.

"I was not really serious as an undergrad," Carmichael said. "I was a 'career
student.'" She's joking, a little bit. Carmichael, who received her master's degree
in speech language pathology, started on a pre-med track with a goal of becoming
a physical therapist.

At the time, however, UCF discontinued its physical therapy undergraduate program, and so Carmichael cast about for a similar program in which to use her talents. As
a physical therapy technician, she had worked with occupational therapists and speech language pathologists, so she gravitated toward the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. There, she said, she was able to incor-
porate manual therapies she learned as a therapy technician as she worked with clients with speech and voice deficits.

"My supervisors knew the load I could handle," Carmichael said, and they kept her busy. "It was the best experience I could have had."

Carmichael praised the communication sciences and disorders instructors for
allowing her to have supervised clinical hours with a diverse population of clients: children with autism, adults who had suffered strokes or were living with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - "Lou Gehrig's disease").

Some of her fondest memories, Carmichael said, involve the "camaraderie with the other students," and especially meaningful relationships with faculty members like
Bari Hoffman Ruddy, she said.

"Dr. Ruddy recognized my potential," Carmichael said. "She took me under her wing, and suggested that I pursue a doctorate degree."

"Much of what Chris did as a graduate student was beyond the traditional scope of someone in that role," said Bari Hoffman Ruddy, associate professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. "She kept wanting more, and she did very well."

Carmichael's master's thesis was selected the "Outstanding Master's Thesis" in
2004; she earned "Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant" in 2004; she
also was awarded the grand prize from FLASHA (the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists) that same year for her poster presentation, "Respiratory Dysfunction Associated with the Severity of Parkinson's Disease."

Ruddy said that even after Carmichael had received her master's degree and was a doctoral student at the University of Florida, she was still deeply involved with the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders. As a speech-language pathologist, Carmichael taught a group of 15-20 students, Ruddy said, and "developed into an academician." If she was ever struggling, Ruddy said, she would figure out
a way to fix it. "She had a thirst for something more, and an almost magical combination of talent and interest."

After receiving her doctorate from the University of Florida, Carmichael was offered a position at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. There, she would have the chance to develop a voice and swallowing lab in integrative speech therapy and research. One of the more attractive features of the position was that 25 percent of her work load would include a clinical component.

When she first visited the picturesque OLLU campus, Carmichael said, "I felt comfortable and at home - like how I felt when I was at UCF."

Carmichael directs the Voice and Swallowing Lab at the Harry Jersig Center, which houses the clinical program of the Department of Communication Sciences and Learning Disorders. She also serves as graduate admissions coordinator for the department, and as Institutional Review Board Chair for the university. Besides teaching students and serving adults with voice and swallowing disorders, one of her most rewarding experiences at OLLU has been facilitating a summer camp speech therapy program for children with cleft lip and palate.

Carmichael coordinated with Morgan's Wonderland, a special-needs park in the San Antonio area, arranged funding for the camp program, and enlisted her graduate students to assist. Family and friends of the clients were invited to attend the camp, which provided therapy for the children in a fun, carnival-like atmosphere. The multidisciplinary camp focused mainly on speech therapies but also included psychology, nursing and social work departments. "It was a wonderful clinical practicum experience for the students," Carmichael said.

"I have good support here," Carmichael said. "I also had great support at UCF.
I definitely have to credit UCF and Dr. Ruddy for starting it all."

Share and Enjoy:

NSSLHA gives me the opportunity to connect with young professionals who share a similar passion as well as volunteer in our community to promote awareness about disorders and the role of a speech-language pathologist.
— Kristina D'Errico,  president of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association at UCF
Being an SLP-ELL scholar enabled me to gain the knowledge and skills I need to be a better SLP working with English Language Learners. I feel confident in my abilities thanks to the master's program and SLP-ELL grant.
— Amber Suarez ,  M.A. in communication sciences and disorders with a federal grant-funded specialization ('14)
Aphasia House offered me unique therapy not available anywhere in our region.
— Denette Schweikert,  artist, stroke survivor and former Aphasia House client
Aphasia House provided me with a unique and memorable experience where I was able to experience being a clinician, in a real world setting, working with clients and their families.
— Ashley Mignon,  M.A. in communication sciences and disorders ('14)
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