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
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
Alumni Spotlight: Christine Carmichael '01 '03
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Getting to Know: Chris 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
What profession other than your own would you like to
attempt?I want to run an animal rescue when I
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
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
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
Carmichael praised the communication sciences and disorders
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
"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
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
When she first visited the picturesque OLLU campus, Carmichael
said, "I felt comfortable and at home - like how I felt when I was
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
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)