Alumni Spotlight—Eric Seper
- Alumni Spotlight
- Eric Seper
- Department of Speech and Hearing Science
- Pam Hadley
- University of Illinois
- College of Applied Health Sciences
Alumni of the College of Applied Health Sciences have myriad career options thanks to the tremendous diversity of programs. We periodically will put the spotlight on an alum to find out what they're doing now, what experiences they had and what AHS means to them. This week, we talk to Eric Seper, who graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science, and in 2013 with a Doctor of Audiology degree. He is currently a clinical audiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine.
Q: Why did you pick AHS?
A: I chose AHS because I knew I wanted to be in a healthcare field. The college has a family-like aspect, which was very welcoming. As I began my AHS coursework, I learned that the school was tight-knit and filled with bright individuals working towards a common goal.
Q: Which professors had the most impact on you?
A: Could I say all of them?! My first class in the department was an introduction to communication disorders and was taught by Dr. David Gooler. His teaching style resonated with me and many of my classmates. Dr. Gooler co-chaired my doctoral capstone project along with another influential professor—Dr. Ron Chambers. Dr. Chambers was available to speak with me as I decided upon a doctoral program in Audiology. He helped make the transition into graduate school easy and less intimidating than I anticipated. Our clinical supervisors—Lou Chambers and Carol Parker—taught me countless clinical lessons that I still employ today!
Q: What course did you most enjoy?
A: I completed two semesters of American Sign Language in the department and wish I had started sooner so I could complete the third course while an undergraduate. The instructors were thoughtful and great at understanding what each student needed to work on. Learning another language is powerful, especially when you are able to use that language to communicate with others in everyday situations.
Q: Did you enter AHS knowing your career path, or did AHS help you decide?
A: I entered AHS with the intention of learning more about speech-language pathology and audiology—AHS helped me decide from there. My first course introduced various communication disorders from both fields. Once the audiology portion began, I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to pursue long-term.
Q: Did your AHS experience lead to your current job?
A: Yes! AHS helped craft my professional experience in multiple ways. I developed strong clinical skills under the clinical leadership on campus. I still employ many lessons in the professional clinic today. The smaller, family-like atmosphere in AHS helped make me more comfortable with public speaking; the doctoral capstone project was a major learning process. That project allowed me to feel more comfortable in a research-based position where I authored and co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles. I also felt much more confident speaking at conferences following my experiences in AHS.
Q: What is your current job?
A: I am currently a clinical audiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine. I see mostly adult patients and we are fortunate to offer diagnostic audiology, cochlear implant services, vestibular evaluations, and hearing aid services to our patients. Seeing all these different disciplines—sometimes all in the same day—is a thrill. I am extremely fortunate to work alongside a tremendously skilled team of audiologists, physicians, and speech-language pathologists.
Q: What was your favorite on-campus experience?
A: If I need to pick only one, then graduating from the Doctor of Audiology program was a special day. Everybody graduating (from all programs) put in an amazing amount of work to develop skills and understanding in a particular field. For my Audiology classmates and I, we spent eight years honing our skills. Our hard work was rewarded with degrees and the trust that we will be strong practitioners in the field.
Q: What would you say to recommend AHS to a prospective student?
A: AHS is dedicated towards making sure students feel comfortable in the college. They are interested in developing strong students, but also strong societal contributors. I highly recommend AHS!