Just outside campus, in the Meridian Health Center, is Ball State’s student-run Audiology Clinic (SRC). The clinic began in spring of 2019, after Drs. Blair Mattern and Laura Stevenson wrote a proposal for and received a 2016 Academic Excellence Grant. Now, graduate Audiology students hold positions on the clinic’s board, and manage the treatment services, scheduling, and other administrative duties required to keep it running.

Having a stand-alone Audiology clinic where graduate students can hold leadership roles makes this Ball State program stand out against others in the state. Typically, student-run clinics are limited to other medical fields. “I think the uniqueness of a student-run clinic in the audiology field is really cool,” Dr. Laura Stevenson, director of the clinic, said. “I don’t know that there’s another one like it.”

Rather than holding typical board leadership roles like president and vice president, the students on the board share responsibilities between their busy schedules. This semester, second-year graduate student Kyra Shelley works on scheduling patients and giving appointment reminder calls, and third-year student Emilee Campisi completes other administrative duties like ordering supplies, billing insurance, and more clerical behind-the-scenes work.

The fourth and final year of the Audiology graduate program is an externship, or a year in a residency program. The off-campus SRC gives these students administrative skills to add to a resume, and professional experience to back up their expertise in interviews with potential employers.

“[A] lot of the places that I talked to really appreciated that I already have that experience,” Emilee said, explaining that being a SRC board member offers more leadership opportunities and experience than the on-campus clinic does. Madeline Schneider, a second-year graduate student and SRC board member, says the position offers more independence and a glimpse into the experience of private practice.

Outside of giving students an opportunity for professional experience, the clinic lends itself to the community it exists in—the clinic is along the bus route on Tillotson, and might be less intimidating to visit than navigating campus and visiting a clinic inside of a campus building. The students are also making efforts to expand the clinic and better serve low-income and Medicare patients, and educate local pharmacists on FAQ about over-the-counter hearing aids and audiology practices.

The board is a volunteer position, and the students will soon begin interviewing potential board members for upcoming semesters—and hopefully continue this dual purpose of servicing the community and audiology students at the same time.