Hannah Fuchs (Class of 2020)

photo of Hannah Fuchs

  • senior major in Speech Pathology and Audiology
  • minor in Linguistics
  • from Louisville, KY
  • Undergraduate Summer Scholar for research on children with chronic illnesses (e.g., asthma)
  • student athlete and team captain, Miami's Swimming and Diving Team
  • MAC Swimmer of the Week (November 2019)
"If you have the courage to start making relationships with your professors as a freshman, you'll have a great head start on the academic challenges that will be coming your way. Get started early!"

Why Miami?

Hannah Fuchs competing for Miami's Swimming and Diving Team

"My decision to come to Miami might have been different from many other students largely because I'm a student athlete. Swimming definitely played a role in my decision. I came on a recruiting trip here and immediately fell in love with the beautiful campus and the team.

"My host took me to a few classes where I was able to sit in and the professors were very personable with students and I really liked that. Miami also has one of the top-ranked graduate speech pathology programs, and coming into college I wanted to be a speech pathologist. Since high school I wanted to work with children and do something in the healthcare field where I could help others, and speech pathology just seemed like a perfect fit.

"Luckily, I've ended up loving all of my classes and was able to stick with my goals. It definitely took some getting used to, learning how to balance college academics and athletics, but I've learned to make a schedule, prioritize, and stay organized. I only have so much time in a day to do my schoolwork with all the swimming that I do!"

Best Miami Experiences

Hannah Fuchs (right) shares a moment with her teammates and 'Swoop'.

"I've really enjoyed gaining my skills in things like organization and prioritizing. I spend 20 hours training each week, whether that be in the pool or weightlifting. Three days a week are my busiest days: I'm in the pool at 6 am, then the weight room at 3 pm, and then another swim practice at 3:50 pm. We have a lot of weekend competitions, especially from September to February.

"This year I'm one of the team captains, and I feel that I have good relationships with just about everyone on the team. We are very much like a family; we 'fight' sometimes, but at the end of the day we have a lot of respect for each other and work to resolve any issues that may come up. We have a lot of fun at swim practice because my closest friends are my teammates. It makes those difficult practice days a lot better when you train with your best friends!

"In one of my speech pathology classes, we are required to do a certain number of clinical hours. I've had the opportunity to observe clients at the Miami University Speech and Hearing Clinic. I've observed many different clients, including those with autism, down syndrome, dysarthria, and apraxia. It's really interesting to get that one-on-one time and actually watch professionals do the kind of work I'll be doing in the future."

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"My speech pathology and audiology major requires a lot of classes, such as Anatomy and Physiology of Speech, Foundations of Neurology, and Aural Rehabilitation. However, one of the great things about the liberal arts is being able to get outside your major and learn other things you never would have otherwise.

"For example, I took an art history class [ART 188] during my sophomore year with one of my friends and loved it. We loved it so much, in fact, that we are planning to take a trip to Italy after graduation to experience Italian art and history in person. Our professor really inspired us, and I never would have had this experience without the liberal arts education that Miami provides."

Assessing Literary Skills of Children with Asthma

Hannah Fuchs prepares some of the materials for her research on children's literary skills.

"I have done two summers of research with assistant professor of speech pathology AJ Olszewski. He is the director of the Children's Acquisition of Language and Literacy (CALL) Lab on campus, and for my first summer, I helped him out with his SMART (Social Media Accompanying Reading Together) study. This study looked at whether or not social media is an effective means of parent-child based intervention for promoting literacy skills.

"During that time Dr. Olszewski (who we call Dr. O) encouraged me to apply to be an Undergraduate Summer Scholar (USS), which enabled me to receive a grant under his mentorship for my own research project on children with chronic illnesses. The children tended to have physical deficits, and there's not a lot of research on how this affects their literacy and linguistic skills. My goal was to look at kids with asthma and compare them to healthy children.

"I worked one-on-one with the kids when they came in to the Miami Speech and Hearing Clinic for their assessments, which I administered while Dr. O supervised. Although the study allowed me to be independent, he was always there if I had questions or needed any help at all. We gave the parents a questionnaire and ran through a series of tests with the children to assess different literacy skills such as receptive vocabulary, language ability, and phonological awareness.

"My goal was to observe the difference in early language and literacy development in children with asthma compared to their same-age healthy peers. I contacted many preschools in the Oxford and Hamilton area, as well as pediatricians. I also gathered a lot of data from the questionnaire to parents on other factors such as home-literacy environment, gender, parent education, and socioeconomic status. My findings supported previous research that home literacy environment may predict children's literacy skills."

Advice to Students

"I would advise students to utilize their professors. From my experience with the faculty in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, I've found that they care a lot about their students — it's incredible. I remember being really scared my freshmen year, even too scared to go to office hours!

"However, if you have the courage to start making relationships with your professors as a freshman, you'll have a great head start on the academic challenges that will be coming your way. Get started early!"

[November 2019]