My Journey to Becoming a Speech Pathologist
Story and Photo from: Lauren Sanford​

My name is Lauren Sanford and I was born and raised in Washington State. My mom was born and raised in Fairbanks, and has taught me to love and appreciate my Alaska Native heritage through educating me about my great grandmother, a strong Iñupiaq woman who served Alaska during World War II and ran her own dog team. Hearing stories like her’s inspired me to pursue a career where I will be able to serve and make a difference in others’ lives as a speech pathologist.

The CIRI Foundation has been a large contributor to my journey to becoming a speech pathologist. I attended Baylor University in Texas for four years of undergraduate studies in the speech pathology department, and it would not have been possible without the generous funding from TCF, all four years.

Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in speech language pathology at Washington State University and earned an Annual Achievement Scholarship from The CIRI Foundation. This generous scholarship covered a large portion of my graduate tuition, allowing for minimal debt post grad, and the ability to pursue a career I love with much less stress. In the future, I plan to use my degree to serve rural areas of the Alaska Native community, where speech pathologists are greatly needed. I am so thankful to be a part of an Alaska Native community that supports continuing education and provides scholarships that make a huge difference in many students’ lives like myself!

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