Allegheny Alumna Pursues Passion for Speech Therapy Through Graduate Assistantship

blonde female student smiling and wearning graduation robe and cap while holding diploma
Paige Ziggas at Commencement 2022

As an Allegheny College student, Paige Ziggas discovered that she had a passion for speech therapy. And she credits Allegheny with providing the opportunities and support for her to take the next step toward a fulfilling career in the field. 

A 2022 Allegheny graduate, Ziggas is now pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Carlow University, where she secured a graduate assistantship. That wouldn’t have been possible without her Allegheny education, she says. 

Ziggas, who majored in neuroscience with an education studies minor, points to two Allegheny mentors who went above and beyond in helping her explore speech therapy: Director of Education Studies and Assistant Professor of English Susan Slote and TESOL Instructor/Learning Specialist Jennifer Franz. 

With their guidance, Ziggas had the opportunity to shadow a speech therapist, rather than a teacher, during an internship at First District Elementary School in Meadville. That experience allowed her to complete the shadowing hours that are part of the admissions requirements for Carlow’s speech-language pathology program.

“The Education Studies Program played a huge part in furthering my passion,” Ziggas says. “Allegheny as a whole has really prepared me for graduate school in terms of my writing and speaking abilities as well as the Senior Comp. At Carlow University, we have to do capstone research before graduating and I feel equipped in terms of gathering research and the Institutional Review Board process.”

In her position at Carlow, Ziggas is assisting a professor with a research proposal, delving into topics such as pediatric language and literacy, augmentative and alternative communication, speech-sound disorders, and counseling-centered care. Ziggas will help to conduct the research and is even slated to be listed as a co-author upon publication of the study. 

“Paige epitomizes the qualities that set Allegheny students in general and education studies minors in particular apart: an eagerness to explore new ideas and practices that help her serve others, and a fierce sense of responsibility to the community in which she works and learns,” Slote says. 

At Allegheny, Ziggas served as a student representative to the Education Studies Steering Committee for two years. “I often relied on her wisdom and enthusiasm during those challenging times in the pandemic and beyond,” Slote says. “I’m so proud of the work she’s doing in her graduate program; her future clients will feel so fortunate to have someone so committed to them and their success.”